Solar panels to be removed from heritage-listed Canterbury house, VCAT orders

“I consider this to be detrimental to the heritage significance of the dwelling as it presents to the street,” she said. “While panels are obviously a modern feature that could be phased out later, I consider this unlikely given the move towards renewable energy use.”

Barnes already has solar panels for hot water on the small north-facing roof of his house and has therefore installed the photovoltaic panels on the east- and west-facing roofs.

He said removing the panels would reduce the total electricity generated by his home by 40%.

The city of Boroondara officially declared a climate emergency in 2021 and its action plan called for a tripling of solar power on the roofs of the municipality.

Simon Ambrose, chief executive of the Victorian branch of the National Trust of Australia, said the heritage group supported the use of solar panels on heritage buildings as it made them more sustainable and encouraged their continued use.

“The transition to solar energy must be balanced with the heritage values ​​of individual places on a case-by-case basis, and in most places it is possible to integrate solar technology without compromising heritage significance,” said he declared.

Somehow, these anachronistic heritage guidelines have defeated the fight against the climate crisis. I think that’s ridiculous.

Owner Richard Barnes

“Ideally, solar panels should be installed on the back of heritage buildings so that they are not visible from the street, especially in high streets or neighborhoods.

A National Trust spokeswoman said different councils have taken different approaches to solar panels on heritage buildings.

A Victorian government spokeswoman said it was a council issue.

Credit:Matt Golding

“Statewide planning provisions make it easier to adopt rooftop solar, and a planning permit is not required in the vast majority of cases,” she said. . “Questions concerning local town plans are a matter for the council.”

Town residents of Hobsons Bay, Bayside and Nillumbik said they were also asked to remove the solar panels due to heritage restrictions.

A spokeswoman for the town of Yarra said the council had made requests to remove or reinstall solar panels which were not permitted due to heritage restrictions.

“If an application to install solar panels is in an inappropriate location for heritage reasons, the council will work with the applicant to find a more suitable location,” the spokeswoman said.

Kai O’Yang, a resident of Camberwell, said the town of Boroondara told him he could not install solar panels on his garage because it was part of the heritage district.


A spokesperson for the town of Boroondara said the council recognizes the growing need for more sustainable energy options and supports the installation of solar panels on buildings in the municipality.

“There are places where the installation of solar panels has to be weighed against other relevant provisions of the town plan,” he said. “The heritage policy allows solar panels on parts of the roof that are generally less visible from the street, rather than on the main roof facing the street in a heritage neighborhood.

More than 200,000 Victorians have installed solar panels, batteries or solar hot water since 2018, under the government’s $1.3billion solar home scheme.

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