Prince gets green light to install solar panels

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The Prince of Wales was granted permission yesterday to install dozens of solar panels on his home at Clarence House in the latest move to cut his carbon footprint.

The 32 solar photovoltaic panels, which produce electricity, can now be installed on the south-east roof of the central London residence, which has been a home to royalty for 170 years.

The panels are expected to produce about 4,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity a year – equivalent to the electricity used by the average household in the capital.

According to the planning application, approved by Westminster Council, the solar panels will be hidden from view by the high parapet balustrade on the Grade One listed building.

An environmental assessment of the scheme said it would be the latest in a line of renewable energy projects by the prince's household which aim to cut carbon emissions and raise the profile of green technology.

The news that the scheme had been approved came as energy regulator Ofgem revealed that a record number of homeowners had solar panels installed this month.

The boost to the technology, which has seen solar panels fitted to 2,257 homes so far this month, up from 1,700 in July and 1,400 in June, stems from the government's "feed-in tariff" scheme, which now pays people for the green energy they generate.

Clarence House has already had energy efficient boilers and lights installed, while other royal properties have wood-chip boilers. In addition, Charles's cars run on cooking oil or even, in the case of his Aston Martin, on bioethanol from surplus wine.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said of the granting of the application: "This is good news, particularly as next month Clarence House Gardens will be hosting the 'Start garden party to make a difference', which will showcase various measures people could take to live a more sustainable lifestyle."

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