With the climate crisis worsening, clean energy is the way of the future. That’s why many people spend a lot of time and money researching and investing in renewable power sources.
This has led countless homeowners to install solar panels on their houses as it an easy way to save on utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, if you generate more energy than you use, you can sell it back to the grid. Because of these benefits, more people are considering retrofitting their homes with solar panels.
Yet, based on the historical significance of the property, this may not be possible. At this point, you may be wondering, can solar panels be installed on listed buildings in the UK? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about listed buildings and solar panels.
Can You Install Solar Panels on Listed Buildings in the UK?
Most people have total freedom to install solar panels on their homes. Yet, it’s a different story when we talk about listed buildings.
The UK has a long and colourful history that spans many centuries. Because of that, there are countless listed properties all over the country.
These are buildings that feature historically significant architecture. To ensure these structures don’t fade away, the UK has put a few rules and regulations in place. The laws detail how to maintain the properties to preserve the architecture. Sadly, that means people who live in listed homes don’t have control over the exterior.
This can make putting solar panels in place tricky but not impossible. To install the devices, you’ll need to apply for Listed Building Consent (LBC) from your local council.
While this may seem intimidating, the process is much simpler than it sounds. Moving on, once you get the LBC, you should ask for special planning permission for any construction work.
What Are the LBC Requirements for Solar Panels?
When applying for LBC, you have to meet a few conditions. For starters, the local council will ask you about the current state of your property.
They’ll ensure that you’ve adhered to all the proper maintenance procedures.
Other than that, the council will take the placement of the solar panels into account. You have to be able to demonstrate that the devices won’t cause any structural damage. Plus, the panels shouldn’t significantly alter the exterior appearance of the property.
Moving on, you should think about the reversibility of the process. You need to be able to undo any construction on the listed building. To qualify for the LBC, you have to show the council that none of the changes you’re making are permanent.
Besides that, solar panels don’t come on their own. They need an extensive electrical system and a meter to function properly.
So, you’ll need to consider where these elements will go. Ideally, they should be out of sight, somewhere in the corner of the building.
Yet, depending on the specifications of the property, this may not be easy to do. Because of that, you may need to hire a professional electrical engineer. They’ll be able to decide where the electrical boxes go while keeping aesthetics in mind.
How to Apply for LBC to Install Solar Panels?
Now that you know what Listed Building Consent is, we can move on to how to apply for it.
First up, you’ll need to find a suitable location for the solar panels. Start by canvassing your property and looking for any space that’s out of the way.
That may include:
Typically, the roof is the best choice because it won’t affect the appearance of your home. Plus, the solar panels will be in direct sunlight for most of the day.
Yet, this isn’t always an option. That’s because some listed buildings have tops made of traditional roof materials.
For example, there are a few properties with thatched roofing made of dried straw or stems. Sadly, these materials aren’t sturdy enough to carry the solar panels.
So, if you’re not sure where to place the devices, you can always contact us at ESE Group. We’ll connect you to a professional that can help you with placement.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to make contact with your local council and ask for all the relevant paperwork and forms.
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