The historic Cambridgeshire based Trinity College will receive the latest in renewable energy technology.

Councillors gave unanimous backing for plans to install solar panels on the roof of the Grade I-listed New Court student accommodation. The building was once home to Prince Charles during his undergraduate studies in 1960.

With this announcement given such a huge amount of support from the council, it is hoped that more historical Cambridge landmarks will benefit from solar panels in the near future.

It wasn’t all blue skies for the planning approval, as conservationists objected to the idea. English Heritage did not understand the justification of potentially ruining the aesthetics and history of the building in favour of what it deemed unnecessary changes.

The Tudor-Gothic style building, dating back to 1825, will receive two rows of solar panels. However, only six panels will be visible from the Garret Hostel Bridge.

Councillor Gail Marchant-Daisley said: “It is clear to me that Trinity College cannot be preserved as a museum.”

Cllr Marchant-Daisley added: “It is a living, used building and as such it has to adapt and be adapted to changing circumstances.”

Dr Rod Pullen, junior bursar at Trinity, said the New Court facilities are below the standard expected by students and the building does not provide particularly good energy efficiency. 

Speaking to Cambridge News, Dr Pullen said that students on the top floor often have to keep their windows open as the heating is left on between October and May to heat the ground floor.

Even though new modern features are being installed, Dr Pullen said that the college has not lost sight of its responsibility to retain the historical aspect of the building.

The inside of the building will also benefit from energy saving features, as insulated linings are to be put in the walls of bedrooms. Some of the period features are in line to be covered up however, including picture rails and skirting boards.