Small scale solar electric (photovoltaics) energy and traditional buildings

This guide is one of a series on small-scale renewable energy options. Separate guides look at generation, solar energy, bio-fuels, heat pumps and combined heat and power, explaining how each system works and what you need to consider if you wish to install it in or on a historic building.

The installation of renewable technology implies in most cases the fixing of equipment to the historic fabric of a building. Historic England seeks to ensure that any works to a historic building do not unnecessarily disturb or destroy historic fabric. There are a number of factors to consider before installing a photovoltaic system on a property. Have other energy saving measures been taken? Is planning permission or listed building consent needed and would it be forthcoming? Is a photovoltaic system the most suitable renewable technology for the occupants? Can this technology be installed easily on this property?

Update to original publication dated March 2008.


  • Introduction
  • Planning a solar electric system
  • Installation options
  • Maintenance and working life
  • Grants
  • Useful contacts
  • Acknowledgements

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Product Code: 51370
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