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Am I Permitted To Install Solar Panels On A Listed Building?

Find out more about installing solar panels on listed buildings, what is possible, and the planning approval process. 

Can I Install Solar Panels On A Listed Building?

Considering installing solar panels on your listed building? Owning a listed property is a privilege, often synonymous with charm, history, and unique architectural appeal. These buildings, nestled in coveted locations, hold immense value not just in their aesthetics but also in their contribution to preserving local heritage. 

While basking in the pride of owning a piece of history, the challenges of efficiently heating and powering these mature structures can be daunting. Preservation concerns, coupled with stringent planning regulations, historically made modern upgrades a tough nut to crack. However, advancements like vacuum insulated glazing have made energy-efficient enhancements more feasible, albeit with some complexities. 

Good news! When it comes to solar energy, you can harness it for your listed building. Though the process may be intricate, it’s possible. With careful consideration and expert guidance, you can navigate the meet regulations and embrace sustainable energy solutions while safeguarding the integrity of your cherished historical property. 

Are Solar Panels for Listed Buildings Subject To Planning Permission?

While most residences in the UK can install solar panels without planning permission because they are considered “permitted development,” listed properties stand as exceptions to this norm. 

If you are considering adding solar panels to the roof of your listed home or building, securing Listed Building Consent (LBC) from your local council is imperative before commencing any work. Failure to obtain LBC could result in significant fines or penalties. 

Additionally, it’s essential to recognise that even after obtaining LBC, you may still need to apply for planning permission. 

Before proceeding, visit the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) website website to confirm the official listing status of your property. 

To secure LBC, you will need to demonstrate that the proposed solar panels won’t compromise the building’s structural integrity or significantly alter its character or aesthetics. Planning authorities typically require assurance that the building will retain its original appearance if the panels are removed, ensuring no lasting damage or alteration to its essence. 

Here is a list of examples demonstrating what a listed building owner might need to prove when seeking LBC for installing solar panels: 

  • Structural integrity assessment: Provide a structural engineer’s report assessing the roof’s capacity to support the additional weight of the solar panels without compromising its integrity. 
  • Visual impact assessment: Conduct a visual impact assessment to demonstrate that the solar panels will be discreetly integrated into the roofscape, minimising visual intrusion, and preserving the building’s character and appearance. 
  • Historical sensitivity evaluation: Present evidence showing sensitivity to the historical significance of the building, including its architectural style, materials, and any unique features, and how the proposed solar panels will respect and preserve these elements. 
  • Comprehensive heritage statement: This should detail the importance of the listed building, its significance within the local context, and how the proposed solar panel installation will harmonise with and enhance its historic character. 
  • Alternative placement options: Explore and present alternative placement options for the solar panels, such as ground-mounted or integrated systems, and justify why roof-mounted panels are the most suitable option without compromising the building’s integrity or appearance. 
  • Mock-up or visual renderings: Provide mock-up or visual renderings illustrating the proposed solar panel installation within the context of the building’s roof, demonstrating how it will blend in seamlessly with the existing architecture. 
  • Materials and design specifications: Specify the materials, colour, size, and design of the solar panels and mounting systems to ensure they complement the existing roof materials and architectural details, preserving the building’s aesthetic coherence. 
  • Landscaping and screening plans: Propose landscaping or screening measures to mitigate any visual impact of the solar panels from public viewpoints, ensuring they remain sympathetic to the surrounding environment. 
  • Community consultation: Engage with local community stakeholders, heritage organisations, and planning authorities to seek feedback and address any concerns regarding the proposed solar panel installation’s impact on the listed building and its surroundings. 
  • Compliance with planning policies: Demonstrate compliance with relevant planning policies, guidelines, and regulations, including those related to heritage conservation, sustainable development, and energy efficiency, to strengthen the case for Listed Building Consent approval. 

There are lots of ways that solar panels can be unnoticeable when they are installed by a qualified professional who cares. For example, there may be an option to install in the garden on a ground mounted system, on the roof or wall of an outbuilding if they are not suitable for the roof of the listed building itself.  


In alignment with the government’s ambitious Net Zero by 2050 goals, Historic England has taken strides to facilitate the approval of solar panels on listed buildings. Their initiative comes in the form of The Historic England Advice Note (HEAN), a comprehensive guide aimed at promoting energy efficiency in historic buildings through the installation of solar panels and heat pumps. By simplifying the planning process, this advice seeks to empower homeowners to make eco-friendly improvements to listed properties, thereby reducing carbon emissions. 

Key features of this simplified process include: 

  • Clearer guidance: The Advice Note offers clear and concise guidance on the installation of solar panels on listed buildings, including best practices for preserving the building’s character and heritage while incorporating renewable energy technologies. 
  • A streamlined application process outlining specific criteria and considerations that homeowners need to address when submitting applications for Listed Building Consent (LBC), streamlining the process by ensuring that all necessary information is provided upfront. 
  • A standardised approach: By establishing standardised procedures and requirements, the Advice Note helps both homeowners and planning authorities understand what is expected in terms of preserving the historic fabric of the building while incorporating modern energy solutions. 
  • Case studies and examples: The Note includes case studies and examples of successful solar panel installations on listed buildings, offering practical insights and demonstrating how such projects can be executed sensitively and effectively. 
  • Expert advice: Historic England’s expertise in heritage conservation ensures that the advice provided is informed by best practices in preserving listed buildings’ historic significance while promoting sustainable development. 

Overall, the Historic England Advice Note is proving to be a valuable resource for homeowners, architects, and planning authorities, facilitating a smoother and more informed process for installing solar panels on listed buildings while safeguarding their heritage value.

How Do I Get Permission To Install Solar Panels On My Listed Building?

In the first instance, talking with a professional solar installer to discuss your project will enable you to gain some expert advice on installing solar panels on a historic building.  

You will then need to apply for LBC from your local council. Once obtained, you then need to apply for planning permission (if applicable) through your local council. Step-by-step instructions on applying for planning permission and other useful information can be found here 

Your solar panel installer can help you with your application (some installers, like Tarven Solar Energy will even do it for you to save you the hassle). 

What Are The Benefits Of Solar Energy

Installing solar panels on your listed property may take a bit of effort in the short term, but the benefits you will reap after your project is complete will be worth the wait! You’ll not only benefit from cheaper energy bills, minimal maintenance, energy independence, and a reduced carbon footprint, but overtime, you’ll receive a return on your investment. For a comprehensive guide to the advantages of solar energy, click here 

Contact Solar Panel Experts Today 

Contact the solar experts at Tarven Solar Energy if you would like to find out more about solar PV panels or have any questions about installing solar panels. All our work is fully insured, certified, and comes with a free call back guarantee for your peace of mind. 

So, if you’re looking to: 

  • enhance your home with smart improvements,  
  • partner with a company rooted in family values and best-in-class service,  
  • enjoy the benefits of solar solutions from a British manufacturer,  
  • experience a seamless installation process,  
  • take advantage of 0% VAT on solar, and  
  • pay ZERO deposit, Tarven Solar Energy is your ideal choice.  

We look forward to working with you to power your future sustainably.