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In a UK first, London is set to become home to the largest office-based solar installation thanks to a£180,000 gra...
In a UK first, London is set to become home to the largest office-based solar installation thanks to a£180,000 grant awarded by the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Spitalfields Bishops Square - a flagship project in the ongoing regeneration of the historic area between Bishopsgate and Spitalfields Market - is part of the£250m Bishops Square Development, run by the Spitalfields Development Group, a subsidiary of Hammerson Plc.

Hammerson Plc and its joint venture partner, the Corporation of London, the developers of Bishops Square, chose to install solar photovoltaic roof panels as part of a new corporate policy to produce environmentally-friendly buildings at one of London's premier office developments.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust said he was heartened to see prominent industry figures taking a lead role in demonstrating the benefits of solar technology.

'Installing solar power is a key ingredient to producing environmentally-friendly developments, particularly in dense urban centres and I would urge more companies in the commercial and property development sectors to recognise the responsibility of reducing their negative impact on the environment,' Philip Sellwood said.

He continued: 'We are delighted to see Hammerson and the Corporation of London taking a leadership role and we hope to see many others following their example and making the most of the significant grants available.'

The£180,000 grant for the Spitalfields Bishops Square Development will cover 40% of the PV installation costs.

Peter Cole, director of Hammerson, said: 'This will be one of the largest installations on an office building in Europe. We are delighted that our work with the Energy Saving Trust and the Corporation of London has pioneered cutting edge technology on such a vast scale. The solar PV will help produce power for our external lighting and public areas, and reduce our CO2 emissions.'

P hotovoltaic panels utilise sunlight to provide clean, free, inflation-proof electricity. The new PV roof at Bishops Square will cover approximately 600m-- (6,459 sq ft) and will produce enough energy to power the public lighting areas, or an equivalent of 200 computers.

The installation will also be used to promote the environmental benefits of installing clean, sustainable solar technology to the public, users and industry. A display screen explaining the technology and providing real time information on the levels of energy generated by the sun will be included in the public area.

As part of the Department of Trade and Industry PV grant programme, managed by the Energy Saving Trust, businesses can obtain grants of up to 40 per cent off the cost of an installation. Individuals wishing to invest in a domestic installation can also receive grants of up to 50 per cent off the cost of installing the panels.

To find out more about PV and obtaining a DTI-funded grant, contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 298 3978 or log onto for more information.


The Energy Saving Trust was set up by the UK government after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and is one of the UK's leading organisations addressing the damaging affects of climate change. It aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by promoting the sustainable and efficient use of energy. EST is a non-profit organisation funded by government and the private sector.

Photovoltaic fact sheet

- UK households are capable of generating an astounding£2.5bn worth of solar energy every year.

- A typical domestic PV system can cost between£8,000-£18,000. Thi s will provide approximately 50% of a household's electricity needs or save households up to£100 on their annual electricity bills.

- Grants are available from the Department of Transport and Industry through the Energy Saving Trust to help UK households install both standard 'bolt-on' PV systems and 'integrated' PV systems. Bolt-on systems are eligible for a capped grant of the lesser of£3,000/kWp or 50%. Integrated systems are eligible for a capped grant of the lesser of£4,250/kWp or 50 per cent.

- PV grants help to cover the costs of the equipment and work directly related to the PV system, including the modules, inverter(s), installation, grid connection and warranty, but not associated building works.

- PV systems can be placed on almost any building surface that receives daylight for most of the day. Roofs are the usual location for PV systems on houses but PV modules can also be placed on facades, conservatory or atrium roofs or sun-shades.

- PV is a non-polluting energy source. Installing PV will allow households to generate their own electricity from the free and inexhaustible energy from the sun, as well as reducing their energy bills. PV systems never needs refuelling, have no moving parts, emit no pollution, are silent, and require minimal maintenance.

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