Solar Panels and Historic Preservation

Sustainable environmental practices are something nearly all Americans can support, increasingly through modifications to enhance the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. Much like the oil crisis of the 1970s, people are turning to solar power as a means to save on energy consumption. Solar technology is improving and solar panels are becoming more affordable. Preservationists and advocates of solar power across the country are now asking questions about when and how solar panels should be installed on historic buildings, all while also preserving historic integrity and causing no harm. There are no easy answers, and often it is a case-by-case issue. However, we are finding more and more examples showing how historic sites and structures can be preserved while accommodating the need for solar access. Below are some resources on Solar Panels and Historic Preservation.


  • Design Guidelines for Solar Installations
  • NAPC Solar Guidelines (PDF)
  • DSIRE Database - DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
  • Interstate Renewable Energy Council - The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a premier resource for current information, education, credentialing and best practices regarding renewable energy. IREC is a non-profit organization creating renewable energy programs and policies targeted at the adoption of uniform guidelines, standards and quality assessment.
  • Municipalities
  • US Dept. of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy- The Department of Energy is committed to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and developing energy efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry.  The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
  • EPA  - The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA’s purpose is to that all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work; national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information; federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively; environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy; all parts of society -- communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments -- have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks; environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
  • American Solar Energy Society - Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Their mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. They work to advance education, research and policy.