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The prestigious University of Cambridge Department of Engineering is housed in historic buildings in the heart of Cambridge.  A renovation of the Inglis Building in 2013 created the opportunity to significantly improve its energy performance.  


The saw-tooth roof was re-covered with high performance structural insulated roofing panels to improve the thermal insulation.  The roof pitch facing onto the street was retained as a slate roof to preserve the character of the buildings.   Intrinsic Power designed a solar system to reduce the department’s electricity requirements as much as possible, without compromising the looks of this historic building.


133 500W Viridian PV 30 panels, and 40 smaller Viridian PV 15 panels were specified, giving a total power of 74kWp.  The complex roof layout and shading patterns  posed a design challenge.  An aerial view illustrates the issue.  A shadow from the tall chimney sweeps across the roof like a giant sundial. The design team at Intrinsic Power collaborated with researchers in the Engineering Department  to arrive at an optimum solution for the electrical design that uses a combination of string and micro-inverters to minimise the impact of shading while controlling costs.


As the building is listed, and in a conservation area aesthetics were paramount. Viridian Clearline panels are suitable for installation either above or integrated into the roof.  Integrated panels were used on the sensitive roof pitches.


The installation was such a success that Intrinsic Power was chosen as the solar contractor for Phase 2 of the development – a further 12kWp. The client also replaced an existing solar thermal system with matching Viridian solar thermal collectors to provide hot water to the laboratories below.




Case Study

University  of Cambridge

Department of Engineering


A division of Viridian Solar

We were delighted with the technical support we received from Intrinsic Power, from the design phase where the complex shading of the roof was addressed  to the comprehensive assistance provided to the contractors.  We even added a matching Clearline solar heating panel to the array to provide hot water to the laboratories below.


The expertise and technical support  has provided the Department of Engineering with the confidence to use Intrinsic Power again on a second large scale project later in the year.


David Green

University of Cambridge Department of Engineering

Cambridge_University_solar 1037_CUED_Energy_roof_and_chimney_400 1037_Thermal_and_PV_together_CUED_450


Project Date

System Size

Number of Panels

Energy Production

CO2 Savings

October 2013

86 kWp


72,000 kWh/year

38,000 kg/year