Solar Panels in Conservation Areas

If you want to install solar panels on your home or land you’re not alone.

Installing domestic solar panels is a popular way for homeowners to generate electricity and earn money. They’re also an effective renewable energy generator if you’re worried about your carbon footprint.

But you can’t install solar panels everywhere. If you own a building in a conservation area, there are certain things you can and can’t do.

Read on to learn more about conservation areas and how to install solar panels in them.

What’s a conservation area?

A conservation area is an area of historic or architectural interest that’s protected by law. There is a range of different types of conservation area. These include:

  • Suburbs built in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Historic town and city centres
  • Country houses in historic parkland
  • Mining and fishing villages

Local authorities limit property alterations, tree felling and demolition work in these areas to protect them.

Can I install solar panels in a conservation area?

You can install solar panels in a conservation area. You can even do it without planning permission, but you do need to follow a number of rules. These include:

  • Not attaching solar panels to walls facing a road
  • Not installing stand alone solar panels in the area between your home and a road

You’ll also need to follow the planning rules that apply to solar panel installations everywhere unless you want to make a planning permission application. These include:

  • Ensuring that the panels don’t constrict the use or significantly alter the appearance of any buildings
  • Removing any equipment that is not in use as soon as possible

For a full list of planning rules, see our information on planning permission and solar panels.

Unfortunately, you can’t usually install solar panels on or within the boundary of a listed building.

How do I check if I’m allowed to install solar panels?

If you’re still not sure about whether you can install solar panels, you can contact your local planning authority. If you won’t be able to obey the rules listed above, your local planning authority will tell you whether it’s worth making a planning permission application.

You can find your local planning authority’s contact details by looking on your council’s website.

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