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Trinity College solar scheme passes planning examination

Conservation groups ‘concerned’ as Cambridge city officials approve proposal for panels on Grade I listed building

By BusinessGreen staff

11 Jan 2013

A solar system proposed for the roof of the historic Trinity College has been given the go-ahead by Cambridge city planners.

The world-renowned college had included details of the proposed installation as part of plans for an ambitious renovation of accommodation and offices at the 200-year-old, Grade I listed New Court site.

Insulation work will also be carried out and a ground source heat pump installed alongside the solar array if the plans are subsequently approved by the government, which makes final planning decisions on changes to listed buildings.

When completed, the project could cut the historic building’s carbon emissions by 88 per cent, slashing the Trinity’s energy bills in the process and providing a new revenue stream through the feed-in tariff incentive scheme.

Trinity College said the work needs to be undertaken to meet modern fire safety and environmental standards.

However, elements of the plan have been opposed by conservation groups, including English Heritage and Cambridge Past, Present and Future, who argue the building’s character would be altered by fitting the two rows of panels.

The plans have been altered to make the panels less visible, but English Heritage said it “remained concerned” about the proposals.

“We believe that the building’s performance can be greatly improved without the harmful installation of double glazing and the unnecessary lining of the external walls of the building,” it said.