Installation of photovoltaic panels in the vicinity of historic monuments and in notable heritage sites
The installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof or on the ground is work likely to modify the appearance or the external condition of buildings built or not built. This page outlines the various procedures for this type of installation on buildings located in a remarkable heritage site or in the vicinity of a historic monument.
Reconciling the ecological transition with the promotion of architectural and landscape quality
On December 9, 2022, the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Energy Transition and the Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion signed a instruction to regional prefects (DRAC and DREAL) The purpose of which is to examine applications for authorization and to monitor the installation of solar panels in the context of the acceleration of renewable energy production.
Work likely to alter a built building or a courtyard or garden, for example, in a remarkable heritage site or in approaches to historic monuments are subject to prior authorization requiring the approval (“assent”) of the architect of the Buildings of France. In the vast majority of cases, the required authorization comes under the planning code (permit or prior declaration).
The installation of photovoltaic panels is therefore work subject to a request for prior authorization including the agreement ("assent") of the architect of the Buildings of France, responsible for ensuring respect for the public interest attached to the heritage, the architecture, the natural or urban landscape, the quality of the works and their harmonious insertion in the surrounding environment.
For example, in the perimeter of remarkable heritage sites, in the surroundings of historic monuments, but also in a site classified under the Environmental Code, installation on the ground of power-generating structures using solar energy, peak power is less than 3 kW must be preceded by a preliminary declaration submitted to the expertise of the architect of the Buildings of France (Article R. 421-11 of the Urban Planning Code).
When the peak power is greater than 3 kW, a building permit is required. In the site listed under the environmental code, an authorization will be required, to be submitted to the expertise of the architect of the Buildings of France.
In the vicinity of historic monuments or in a remarkable heritage site, the architect of the Buildings of France, by his «compliant» (agreement), accompanies and advises the holders of photovoltaic projects, to improve projects for a better insertion in each site.
The solutions proposed by the architect of the Buildings of France will focus on:
- locations that are not readily visible from the public space (placement on buildings, such as shed buildings, or poorly visible roofs, such as flat roofs);
- the integration with sloped roofs (compliance with the geometry of roofs, their appearance, etc.) or installation on roof terraces;
- sequencing with respect to the architecture of the building (“focused” location with respect to the openings of the facades, grouping of panels, etc.).
In the case of panels placed on the ground, the prescriptions of the architect of the Buildings of France aim to preserve the architectural, urban and landscape heritage, by adapting, in particular, the projects to the topography of the land.
Finally, the installation of photovoltaic panels on a building listed or classified as historic monuments is to be avoided as a matter of principle in view of the visual impact, the invasive aspect on the structure and the materials and the security risks. However, exceptions may be permitted, on a case-by-case basis, depending on the location and size of the proposed project. The authorization procedures are the same as for all works on historical monuments.
Urban planning code
New buildings exempt from formality
Articles R. 421-2 to R. 421-8-2
National Federation of Licensor and Regulated Communities (FNCCR)
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