We went hunting for London’s solar treasure

Whilst solar power has flourished in many parts of the UK over the last few years, London has tended to drag its heals.

London’s had some amazing solar trailblazers - the awesome work of Repowering London, cool buildings like the Heron Tower’s 48k panel "solar shield", or the massive floating solar farm near Heathrow - but they are exceptions. Whether it’s lack of political leadership, or just because so many people rent here, London is way behind the rest of the UK when it comes to tapping its solar potential.

But there are plenty of buildings perfect for panels, so we set out to find them. We began walking down Whitehall - home to the government’s offices. Surely all that hard work running the country would be better off powered by sunshine?

What about 3 Whitehall Place? Once home to the Met Police, from 2008 - July 2016 it was the HQ of the now defunct Department of Energy and Climate Change. A solar makeover is just what they need.

Next up, Downing street. Theresa May would doubtless be delighted to hear she could definitely whack up a few panels on her new home.

Then we walked over the bridge to County Hall. It’s the big old building right opposite the Palace of Westminster. It used to be home to the London County Council, but today it hosts a range of tourist attractions - the London Dungeon, the Sea Life Aquarium - and according to their website, they are considering going solar (and vegetable growing, awesomely).

So how do they fare with Look Up? Well with those steep tiled roofs it would be a bit tricky to get the panels up, there’s certainly a lot of space to generate some nice clean power.

And what’s this? It’s Shell HQ. For all their pro-climate-change mischief, their roof looks pretty good for solar. Surely it’s a no brainer guys


Along the river a bit, and we hit the incredible Blackfriars bridge. Not only is it a train station platform that spans the river, but it is covered in solar panels. Yep, ladies and gentlemen this is the world’s biggest solar bridge. 6000 square meters of solar panels provide 50% of the station’s electricity, saving roughly 450,000kg of CO2.

Photo: Hugh Llewelyn Creative Commons 2.0

Photo: Hugh Llewelyn Creative Commons 2.0

And right next door is Tate Modern. This former dirty power station started producing power again last September, with new solar panels on the roof of the Boiler House. And they could probably hold even more!

Photo:  Christine Matthews  Creative Commons 2.0

Photo: Christine Matthews Creative Commons 2.0

After spotting roofs that could hold over 5000 panels in only two hours, I would say this has been a very successful hunt for treasure! So get some pals together to explore the solar potential of your area. Make sure to tweet us if you do and we will send you some 10:10 goodies!

Happy hunting!