The has asked people to at least copy their neighbour's panels , Source: Watt a Lot Solar / Unsplash

Belgian tourist town complains solar panels are ruining its aesthetic

Belgian tourist town complains solar panels are ruining its aesthetic

The city has asked residents to ‘please pick similar photovoltaic roof installations’

Last week, the Belgian resort town of Knokke-Heist put out an official statement calling on residents to please install uniform solar panels on their roofs – preferably matt-black. This, officials say, is to prevent a ‘cacophony’ of colours in the resort town atmosphere.

Mayor Kris Demeyere was quoted by the VRT, explaining that Knokke-Heist is a place known for its orange roofs and white houses. Curating the aesthetic experience of visitors is a very big deal for a town that lives or dies by its tourists.

At the same time, the city cannot force people to choose a type of solar panels as they are not subject to a building permit. Nevertheless, officials have made a very official request that residents at least try and copy what their neighbours already have, so that there can be some visual semblance from street to street.

Maybe you can hide your roof panels

Knokke-Heist authorities care about image and experience very much. So much so that construction work is banned during the weekend in the tourist zone to protect the experience of visitors. The city has very kindly asked residents and second-home owners to choose uniform panels to avoid a patchwork ‘higgledy-piggledy’ situation.

They also ask residents to place solar panels in a way so they cannot be viewed from the street. According to local authorities, many contractors install the panels on scaffolding or in a way that they protrude from the roof line. So, owners should consider only installing them on the backyard sides of their roofs.

Alternatively, the Knokke-Heist municipality has provided residents with a contact for group purchases of solar panels that can provide uniform installations. However, it is very important to note that currently, the town cannot mandate any of these asks.



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