King’s College Chapel PV panels up and running

Cathedral roof with multiple spires reaching towards the sky

This month marks a historic milestone for British architectural heritage as the 438 new photovoltaic panels on the roof of the King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, are up and running.

We worked with the College to develop a strategy to decarbonise its operations by 2038, reducing its carbon emissions by more than 23 tonnes each year. The new panels, combined with existing panels installed on the Wilkins Building and Old Garden Hostel student accommodation, will meet the Chapel’s energy requirements and reduce the annual electricity demand of the College’s main site by approximately 6%.

The panels are part of the renovation of the 1950s lead roof of the Chapel, which was no longer watertight. The College recognised a once-in-a-generation opportunity to install the PVs, as the Chapel roof is the single largest potential opportunity for renewable electricity generation on the main College site.

Arrays of photovoltaic panels, which can be seen in these photos from a site visit in January, have been fixed to both of the north and south slopes of the Chapel roof and will generate an anticipated 123,000 kWh/y which will feed into the College’s on-site electricity supply. The total potential peak output of the panels is 100 kWp.

"The need to replace the lead roof presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement the largest PV array possible in the main College site. Rigorous analysis provided an evidence base to support the very sensitive design proposal which ultimately resulted in a successful planning application for this beautiful and remarkable Grade I listed building.  The system is now fully functional and has started its job of reducing carbon emissions and the consumption of grid-supplied electricity."

Portrait photo of man in white shirt against a black background.

Director, MEP Engineering