The National Park Service (NPS) has released guidance on installing solar panels at historic properties in a way that meets the standards of the Department of Interior. The guidance involves installation of solar panels under the following circumstances:
- New Additions to Historic Property
- Flat Roof of Historic Property
- Pole”“Mounted Arrays
- Mounted on Low-Slope Gable
- Mounted on a Cross Gable
- Mounted on a Rear Porch Roof
- Off-Site Solar Panel Usage — “Avoided Impact”
One of the main concerns for NPS and those approving the usage and installation of solar panels is installing in a way that maintains the historic character of the property.
In addition, the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the North Carolina Solar Center recently collaborated to release a white paper entitled “Installing Solar Panels on Historic Buildings: A Survey of the Regulatory Environment.” This paper examines the challenges and opportunities associated with installing energy efficiency measures such as solar panels in historic buildings while maintaining and balancing the historic integrity and character-defining features of the property. The paper address several relevant topics such as an explanation of solar energy technology, descriptions of the current regulatory context governing the use of solar panels on historic properties at the state and local level, and proposes regulatory solutions that take into consideration the value of both historic and energy resources. The guide also recommends design review principles that are intended to encourage solar siting solutions that protect historic features and materials.