If you want to install a photovoltaic system on the roof of your listed building, you should get permission beforehand. Otherwise he runs the risk of having to dismantle the system again by order of the authorities, as a case decided by the Lower Saxony Higher Administrative Court in Lüneburg shows. This applies above all if the monument is located within an ensemble that is specially protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
City ordered large-scale facility to be dismantled
The photovoltaic system installed by the owner of the monument on his house in the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town of Goslar without the necessary monument approval covers a large part of the side of the roof facing away from the street, is not adapted to its color and does not have a uniform color scheme. The owner considers the dismantling ordered by the city of Goslar to be disproportionate and refers to the decision of the state legislature in favor of systems for the use of renewable energies also on monuments.
VG considered the system to be obviously approvable
The Braunschweig Administrative Court had granted the owner’s application for temporary legal protection in the first instance. The facility was built without the required permit. However, in exceptional cases, removal cannot be demanded because the facility is obviously eligible for approval, taking into account the amended Lower Saxony Monument Protection Act. Because how from § 7 Abs. 2 Sentence 1 No. 3, Sentence 2 NDSchG provided that the intervention in the external appearance can be reversed and that only minor interventions are made in the substance of the monument. The specially designed street-side front of the monument will not be affected by the system. The affiliation of the monument to the World Heritage Site “Rammelsberg Ore Mine, Old Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System” does not conflict with the obvious approval of the facility.
OVG: Comprehensive case-by-case assessment required
The OVG, on the other hand, does not consider the photovoltaic system to be obviously licensable. Admittedly, after the revision of the § 7 NDSchG to grant the approval for the use of renewable energies in monuments as a rule and thus to answer the question of “whether” the approval in the affirmative. In the present case, however, the assumption of a normal case is opposed to the fact that the monument concerned is located in the old town of Goslar, which is specially protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, a comprehensive examination of the individual case is likely to be required here. In the approval process, the public and private interest in the construction of plants for the use of renewable energies and the public interest in the unchanged preservation of the cultural monument must be weighed up. The legislative goal of climate protection should be given special consideration.
Monument protection must be observed when designing the system
In addition, the owner of the monument remains responsible for the question of “how”, i.e. the design of the facility, in any case in the obligation to build the facility in such a way that it takes into account the monument protection both with regard to its location and its appearance. Photovoltaic systems would then have to be matched to the color of the roof as far as possible and designed in one color. However, the decision of the state legislature to promote renewable energies must be taken into account. In particular, the additional effort associated with the monument-appropriate design of the facility must remain reasonable. The decision cannot be appealed against.
to OVG Lüneburg, decision of 08.06.2023 – 1 ME 15/23
Editorial office beck-aktuell, June 12, 2023.
From the beck-online database
VG Braunschweigphotovoltaic system and monument protection, KlimR 2023, 126 (lower court)
Administrative Court Munichmonument protection, photovoltaic system, ensemble protection, monument, authorization requirement, BeckRS 2013, 45704
VG EverythingPermission, photovoltaic system, monument, grant, monument value, monument protection, economic usability, legal action, BeckRS 2015, 45252