New Guidelines Allow More Solar in D.C. Historic Districts

New Guidelines Allow More Solar in D.C. Historic Districts

We are applauding the news that D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office has drafted new sustainability guidelines loosening the restrictions for Historic District homeowners who want to go solar. In the past, the Historic Preservation Review Board took issue when homeowners put solar panels on their roof that were visible from the street.

The Historic Preservation Review Board will be accepting comments until December 18 and they will be considering the new guidelines at a meeting on December 19. We encourage everyone to submit comments to historic.preservation@dc.gov in favor of the changes as soon as possible.

When the board told Takoma resident Steven Priester he could not add solar panels to the front of his house, he fought back. He argued that the guidelines must be changed in order to comply with D.C.’s Clean Energy Law, which mandates 100% of the city’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2032. According to Greater Greater Washington, Preister told the board that saving the planet required doing everything possible to increase renewable energy generation. “My main concern right now is, if we do not change and loosen these standards, will the District be habitable in 100 years?” he said.

Here at Ipsun Solar we agree wholeheartedly. We love historic homes, but we also know that there will be no use for historic houses if D.C. ends up submerged by rising sea levels and battered by super storms due to climate change.

“Scientists are in agreement that climate change is accelerating faster than their projections, even since last year’s IPCC report. We have no time to waste,” said Herve Billiet, Ipsun co-founder and CEO. “Installing as much solar as possible to fight climate change is our mission, and we applaud the Historic Preservation Office for proposing these changes.”

The new guidelines would allow for solar on front-facing sloped roofs if they are compatibly designed with low-profile panels set flush with and in a complementary color with the roof. This should give a lot more leeway for projects to be approved, especially when looked at through the lens of the D.C. Clean Energy law. Your solar installer can help by explaining how important it is to maximize your solar energy production with strategic placement of PV modules.

DC Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells said he’s glad to see that DC homeowners can now take advantage of renewable energy no matter where they live. “The Historic Preservation Review Board and the DC Office of Planning made the changes needed to allow solar to be installed regardless the neighborhood you live in,” he told us. 

For now, the most important thing we can do is submit our comments. Read up on the new guidelines, and then email the Historic Preservation Board to tell them you support the changes at historic.preservation@dc.gov. Please spread the word! Share this post to your friends and neighbors and ask them to comment. This is an easy change that will make a difference in D.C.’s effort to reach 100% by 2032. Thanks friends!

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