Solcium Solar

Preservation and Panels: Solar on Historic Structures

Solar panels installed by Solcium Solar on the roof a historic home in Downtown Sanford, Florida.

There are a lot of misconceptions about solar out there and a big one is the inability to install a solar system on a historic structure. Solcium Solar is here to say – that simply isn’t true; however, it is important that you find a solar company that is well-versed in the preservation and protection of historic structures when choosing a solar partner. Preservation of the earth’s resources and our historic treasures can go hand in hand. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

In fact, there are several nationally registered historic sites and buildings that have gone solar in recent years. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is an organization that advocates for the preservation of historic sites across the nation. On their webpage, they discuss how the preservation of buildings and natural resources are blending together in some of our most famous structures. For instance, the infamous prison on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay had over 900 panels installed on its roof in 2011, offsetting 100% of the energy consumption in the summer. 

Other nationally recognized historic sites that went green include Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport with a 230 kW solar plant which was installed on the roof of an 1800s-era mill and a 1930’s landmark building in California that now supports not only solar panels but a leading solar panel manufacturer’s operational facility. An article about the installation published by the Trust discusses the importance of collaborating with knowledgeable installers to ensure that the integrity of the structure is upheld. 

How to Preserve When Installing Solar

So, how do you marry two preservation initiatives when one is rooted in avoiding change and the other is centered around changing our consumption habits? The National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Services lends a few guidelines, established by the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, on how to accomplish preservation on multiple levels when installing solar:

  1. Choose panel placement that is hidden on the structure when possible
  2. Choose an installation method that lessens impact to the structure
  3. Choose an installer that is knowledgeable of historic structures 
  4. Know local S-codes, building standards and other ordinances
  5. Work with your local historic preservation committees and/or municipalities to get a certificate of appropriateness

Solcium Solar’s Founders Lead by Example in Sanford

Solar panels on the roof of CEO, Michelle Solano's home in historic Downtown Sanford, Florida.

Luckily for homeowners and business owners in the Central Florida region, Solcium Solar is experienced with installing on historic homes. Both of the company’s owners and founders, Michelle Solano and Gustavo Panosso, as well as several other leaders in the organization, live in historic homes with solar systems installed. Headquartered in a nationally recognized historic district, Solcium Solar considers preservation part of their core values. Throughout the historic residential district, there are several historic homes that beautifully display solar panels – marrying the two efforts of preservation.

Solcium’s Director of Public Affairs, Shelly Allen, lives in a 1925 mediterranean bungalow that was built by world renowned architect, Elton J. Moughton. She decided to go solar in 2022 and entrusted her team of experts to install with care. “Before starting with Solcium Solar, I was curious about going green but was under the impression that I wasn’t able to with a historic home. I found that not only was Solcium’s operations team equipped to respectfully install panels on a historic home, but they were incredibly knowledgeable about how to do it without impacting the structure.”

Owner and CSO, Gustavo Panosso had Solcium Solar install panels and Tesla Powerwall battery solutions on his 1925 craftsman home in 2021. He states, “From a homeowner perspective, the team at Solcium Solar was outstanding – they took care of everything including gaining the certificate of appropriation from the preservation board and ensuring that the historical structure was properly surveyed. From a business owner perspective, I’m proud that our knowledgeable team is able to deliver quality service worthy of praise from a population who takes immense pride in preservation and conservation.” 

Commercial Preservation in Historic Downtown Sanford

Solcium Solar’s experience on historic buildings doesn’t end at residential services. Since opening their doors, Solcium Solar has extensive experience in installing solar on historic commercial buildings all across the State – from Sanford to Jacksonville. In 2021, Solcium Solar launched the Small Business Partnership Program to bring green initiatives to the Historic Downtown sector of their hometown, Sanford. Installing more than 300 panels across three historic establishments, Solcium Solar worked closely with key stakeholders to ensure that the integrity of the structure and historic facade were preserved and upheld – earning a gold star from historic buffs. Read more about our Small Business Partnership’s success story of bringing solar to Sanford’s infamous historic establishments in our blog.  

Solcium Solar in-house installer places solar panels on the roof of Celery City Craft in Historic Downtown Sanford.

If you have been curious about reducing your carbon footprint while respecting the importance of your historic structure, give us a call. Our experienced team can offer you an in-depth look at how we collaborate with municipalities and work diligently to preserve and protect your properties long-standing place on this earth.

As always, our approach is about education first. Our consultations are free and come without any obligations; plus, we really love historic buildings and would be giddy over the chance to appreciate yours!


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Solcium Solar provides a full suite of end-to-end renewable energy solutions including education, design, and installation services.

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