Are you considering installing solar panels on your property but live in a conservation area with natural or historical value, such as many found across the UK? You might be wondering if it’s even possible to harness the benefits of solar energy without compromising the unique character and heritage of your locality. This article will answer all your questions about installing solar panels on a home within a conservation area.
A conservation area is a designated local area that holds special significance due to its historical, architectural, cultural, or environmental value. These areas are protected by local planning authorities, usually city or district councils, under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, as set out by the UK Government.
The primary purpose of a conservation area is to preserve and protect the area’s heritage, character, and unique features while permitting suitable development that is in harmony with its existing surroundings.
The good news is that you can install solar panels in a conservation area, but certain rules and regulations must be followed.
Planning Permission: Generally, you’ll need planning permission from your local planning authority before installing solar panels in a conservation area. The authority will assess how the installation might affect the area’s character and aesthetics. To gain approval, the solar panels should seamlessly integrate with the existing architecture and not compromise the visual quality of the area. Efforts should also be made to shield the panels from public view.
Design Considerations: The type and materials of the solar panels matter. Opt for panels that harmonize with the existing architectural style and use materials that align with the building’s character. The size and scale of the solar panels should also be appropriate for the building and the conservation area.
Public Feedback: In some cases, local authorities may request public feedback before granting planning permission for solar panel installations in conservation areas.
Professional Guidance: It is advisable to seek professional assistance from architects or planning consultants with expertise in conservation area regulations. They can guide you through the planning process and help design solar panel installations that meet the necessary requirements.
Regardless of whether your property is located in a conservation area, building regulations must be adhered to for any solar panel installation. These regulations ensure the installation’s safety and durability, covering aspects such as the weight of the solar panels, electrical safety, and fire protection, such as installing fire alarms if your inverter and/or battery storage are placed in a loft.
You can avoid seeking approval from the local authority if your installer is part of a recognized Competent Person Scheme (CPS), as they can confirm that the installation complies with current building regulations. Additionally, utilizing an installer with MCS (Microgeneration Certificate Scheme) certification, such as The Renewable Energy Company, ensures that the solar PV system installation meets stringent quality and safety standards.
Apart from the general regulations, there are additional rules to consider when installing solar panels in a conservation area:
If you’re uncertain about whether you can install solar panels on your property in a conservation area, here’s who you should contact:
Local Planning Authority: Get in touch with your local planning authority, as they determine which areas are conservation areas and what rules apply to them. They can provide guidance on the specific steps required to install solar panels in your conservation area.
MCS-Certified Solar Panel Installation Companies: Reach out to solar panel installation companies that hold MCS certification. These professionals are well-versed in the regulations and can assist with solar PV system design, compliance, and feasibility, like The Renewable Energy Company.
Ensure you provide as much information as possible about your property’s location and consider sharing photos of your property to receive accurate advice based on your unique situation.
To find out if your property is located in a conservation area, you can:
Solar panels offer an opportunity to save on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions. If your property is situated within a conservation area, it is still possible to harness the benefits of solar energy. By collaborating with your local planning authority and professionals experienced in solar panel installations within conservation areas, you can ensure that your solar panels align with the regulations, preserving the heritage and character of your unique locality.
Feeling motivated and ready to explore the possibilities of a solar PV system for your property in a conservation area? To get a free, no-obligation quote and learn more about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our friendly solar energy experts at +44 (0) 1268 944 142 or click on the ‘Enquire Now’ button below, and we’ll assist you in finding the right solar PV system for your home and budget. Solar energy awaits, even in your conservation area!