Older, more period style houses are beautiful to live in and come with lots of charm and features that you just can’t replicate in a new build.
But one thing they don’t have, is efficient heating or energy systems.
Period or listed buildings often have the lowest EPC ratings because they don’t have efficient insulation, usually don’t have double glazing and have no other features that a modern home would have to increase their energy efficiency and bring down utility bills.
There are rules when it comes to making changes on listed buildings.
When it comes to solar panels and solar pv systems, living in a period or listed property doesn’t necessarily rule out the prospect of installing panels altogether, but you’ll have a lot more to think about, and stricter planning rules and regulations to abide by.
Here are the main things you’ll need to think about before installing solar panels on a listed building.
What’s the planning rules when it comes to solar panels and listed buildings?
While solar PV systems often fit within the scope of ‘permitted development’ on newer properties, and don’t require planning permission, for the most part it’s a different state of affairs for listed buildings.
One thing you’ll need to get before installing solar panels on a listed building is listed building consent.
This is something you can get through your local council or planning authority.
Listed building consent is needed for any work including demolition, alteration or extensions to a listed building that could ‘affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest’.
It’s very important you gain listed building consent before you start any work installing solar panels (or making any alterations) to your listed building as it’s a criminal office to not get consent when it’s needed.
You also can’t argue you didn’t know the building was a listen property.
You also can’t apply for listed building consent after you’ve had the work done, even if you can claim the work would have been approved.
What rules or standards do your solar panels need to meet?
To get listen building consent for your new solar panels, it will have to be agreed that they don’t ‘damage the appearance or character of the listed building’ and that installing them won’t involve any major structural changes to the property.
You’ll also need to consider if the installation will harm any nearby protected habitats or ‘landscape’ areas, if it will, you likely won’t get planning permission.
Finally, you must ensure your solar panels meet minimum intervention and reversibility criteria.
Essentially this means that if the solar panels are removed from the property, you wouldn’t be able to tell they’d ever been installed.
This is important on listed buildings because solar panel system tend to last between 25-30 years before they require maintenance or repairs, so a property will likely go through multiple sets of panels.
It’s also not guaranteed that if the property was sold ever sold, that the solar panels would remain a part of the building and they might be removed.
At which point the lasting physical disruption to property needs to be minimum.
Checking your local planning laws on solar panels and listed buildings
Ultimately it’s always worth checking with your council and local planning laws when it comes to installing solar panels on a listed building.
It’s not impossible that you can get permission and if the system is discreet and doesn’t damage the character of the property, you should be in a good position to succeed.
Get your solar panel system installed with Downtown Electrical
At Downtown Electrical we’re a leading supplier of all the major solar panel and PV systems.
We can help you find the right PV system based on your property and energy needs, and can also help you install a battery storage system alongside your PV unit to make your home even more energy efficient.
If you want to know more about getting your solar PV system from Downtown Electrical, get in touch.