☀️ You will need to get planning permission to install solar panels in a conservation area
☀️ If your property is a listed building, additional considerations may apply
☀️ Speak to your local council and a qualified MCS installer for up-to-date guidance
Solar panels can offer many advantages, even though they have a high initial cost. But what if you live in a place that has natural or historical value, such as a conservation area in the UK? Can you still install solar panels on your property? This article will answer all your questions about installing solar panels on a home within a conservation area.
What is a conservation area?
A conservation area is a local area that has special protection because of its historical, architectural, cultural, or environmental value. Local planning authorities (usually city or district councils) decide which areas are conservation areas under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as laid out by the UK Government.
The main purpose of a conservation area is to protect the area’s heritage and character while allowing for suitable development that matches its existing features.
This means conservation areas have more strict planning rules and guidelines to make sure that changes and developments in the area do not harm or change its character, style or heritage. This can include limits on building changes, demolition, and new buildings within a conservation area.
Are you allowed to install solar panels in a conservation area?
Yes, you can install solar panels in a conservation area, but you need to know the specific rules and regulations that apply.
You will usually need planning permission from the local planning authority before you can install solar panels. They will check how the installation will affect the area’s character and look.
The solar panels should fit well with the existing architecture and not spoil the area’s visual quality. Panels should also be hidden from public view, if at all possible.
The solar panel type and materials matter. Choose panels that match the existing architecture and use materials that suit the building’s character. The solar panels should be the right size and scale for the building and the area.
Some local authorities might ask for public feedback before they give planning permission for solar panel installations in conservation areas.
It’s a good idea to get professional help from architects or planning consultants who know about conservation area rules. They can help you with the planning process and design solar panel installations that meet the requirements.
Regulations for installing solar panels in the UK
Building regulations are important for any solar panel installation, whether your property is in a conservation area or not. These regulations make sure the installation is safe and strong. They deal with things like the weight of the solar panels, electrical safety, and fire protection, like installing a fire alarm if you install your inverter and/or battery storage in a loft.
You can avoid getting approval from the local authority if your installer is part of a recognised Competent Person Scheme (CPS). They can confirm that the installation follows current building regulations.
You can also get paid by the Government for any extra energy you make and send to the National Grid. This is called the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. But you need to use an installer who has MCS (Microgeneration Certificate Scheme) certification, like NXTGEN Energy. This means that the solar PV system installation meets certain quality and safety standards.
Additional regulations for installing solar panels in conservation areas
There are some other rules that you need to follow if you want to install solar panels in a conservation area. These rules are not only for conservation areas, but for any solar panel installation. For example, solar panels should not be very visible from public places (if at all possible), and they should not be on a wall that faces a road. You also cannot install solar panels on a place that is a scheduled monument, or on a listed building without getting planning permission.
You might also need to do a heritage impact assessment. This is to see how the solar panel installation will affect the heritage value of the conservation area as a whole. This depends on how important the conservation area is in the local area.
Who to contact if you’re still not sure
You might be wondering if you can have solar panels on your home in a conservation area. If you are not sure, you should talk to the right people who can give you the latest accurate information and help.
- Talk to your local planning authority: They are the ones who decide which local areas are conservation areas and what rules apply to them. They can tell you what you need to do to install solar panels on your property if it’s in a conservation area.
- Talk to solar panel installation companies that have MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certification: These professionals know the rules and can help you with solar PV system design, compliance, and feasibility, like NXTGEN Energy.
Make sure you give as much information as you can about your property, where it is and send photos of the property if possible to the people you talk to. They can help you based on your specific situation.
How to check whether you live in a conservation area
You can find out if you live in one of the 10,000 conservation areas in the UK by doing these things:
- Go to the website of your local planning authority: Most local councils have information about conservation areas, such as maps and details about the local areas that are conservation areas.
- Ask your local planning authority directly: You can call them or email them and ask if your property is located within a conservation area.
- Look at any paperwork you have for your property: Your property deeds or legal documents might say if your property is in a conservation area.
Solar panels can help you save money on your bills, and reduce your carbon emissions. You can still have them on your property even if it is located in a conservation area. You just need to talk to your local planning authority and work with professionals who have experience with installing solar panels in a conservation area, to make sure they follow the rules.
Feeling motivated and ready to get a free no-obligation quote for a solar PV system? Want to learn more? Your best option is to talk to one of our friendly solar energy experts on 01268 928 690 or click on the ‘Enquire Now’ button below and we will help you find the right solar PV system for your home and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panels in Conservation Areas
Yes, you can have solar panels in a conservation area, but you need to get planning permission and follow some extra rules from your local council.
You usually don’t need planning permission to have solar panels on your house roof, unless your house is in a conservation area or is a listed building. The solar panels should not stick out more than 200mm from the roof surface.
Your neighbours can share their worries, but they can’t stop you from having solar panels, as long as your panels meet building regulations. If your house is in a conservation area, your local planning authority might ask for public feedback before they give you permission.
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