Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Solar Electric (Photovoltaics)

This guidance covers the issues associated with installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on a historic building or on the land of a historic site. It describes the different options available and how they work. Advice is also provided on how to minimise the potential damage to the fabric and the visual impact of a renewable installation on the character and appearance of the building or site.

This guidance note is aimed at providing advice for building owners and occupiers who are considering installing solar PV panels to generate their own energy. It will also be useful for architects, surveyors, building contractors or similar building professionals who need to make the appropriate selection of equipment and method of installation to work within a historic building.

Before installation of renewables are considered, steps should be taken to cut energy consumption. Historic England has a wide variety of guidance on improving energy efficiency in historic buildings. This document forms one of a series of notes covering the installation of renewables and low carbon technologies such as heat pumps, solar thermal and hydroelectric.


  • Introduction
  • What is a photovoltaic system
  • System options
  • Planning the installation
  • Electricity distribution and storage systems
  • Maintenance and working life
  • Glossary
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Pages: 29
  • Product Code: HEAG173


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