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Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Solar in a historic district

If you own a home in a historic district in D.C., you can’t install solar panels, unless nobody can see them from a street. That’s the recommendation from historic preservation staff on a case the board will debate today.

A homeowner on Newark Street in Cleveland Park wants to add solar panels to the roof. The house faces south, meaning that the only side invisible from the street would be the north side which gets far less sun.

The Cleveland Park Historical Society supports the panels. From their Web site:

CPHS’s Architectural Review Committee supports the installation of solar panels on this property, not on the street-facing slope of the roof (which the applicants do not propose), but on more of the west face of the roof than was originally proposed, in order to regularize the array of panels. The ARC is interested in encouraging the use of alternative energy sources in the historic district. It received very strong statements of support from neighbors adjoining the property.

However, the staff report says that according to current preservation guidelines, solar panels are okay but only if nobody can see them from a street. If they can, no solar panels.

In fairness to historic preservation staff, they seem to be trying to follow their written guidelines. Preservation decisions are already so subjective, and the more preservationists can make them predictable, the better.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  10:25 AM ET, 05/31/2012

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