After three years Prince Charles has finally won the battle to install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of his London residence, Clarence House. The Grade II listed house, which already covers almost a quarter of its electricity needs with renewable energy, had been awaiting approval from Westminster City Council.

The Pall Mall-based building, which is 180-years old, will feature 32 solar panels on its south-east facing roof. The installation is expected to cost somewhere in the region of £150,000 (a drop in the ocean for the royal), which will be paid back by the feed-in tariff of 41.3 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy produced, as well as energy bill savings. While the application faced initial barriers due to its Grade II listing, the Westminster City Council has now given its approval since project works towards CO2 emission goals and the roof is surrounded by high parapets which will make the panels invisible from the ground. Experts have also been called in to ensure that the roof is not damaged during installation.

“The solar panels would contribute towards the UK's 2020 renewable energy and carbon reduction targets [and] … towards the Mayor's target for 25% of the heat and power used in London to be generated through the use of decentralised energy systems by 2025,” noted the report.

The 32 solar photovoltaic panels are expected to produce 4,000kWh of electricity a year, which will be added to the renewable efforts the Prince has already put in place. Clarence House also features energy-efficient boilers while the Prince’s Jaguar and Land Rover have been converted to run on biodiesel derived from used cooking oil while his classic Aston Martin runs on bioethanol fuel made from surplus British wine.

By installing solar power on the London residence alongside the other measures, the Prince aims to reach a “carbon negative” status – meaning that the house will generate more energy than it uses.  If these panels prove to be a success, it is understood that more panels will be added.

An environmental assessment of the scheme included in Westminster City Council planning documents stated, “The installation of solar panels on the roof of Clarence House will be the latest in a line of renewable technology projects undertaken by the household of HRH the Prince of Wales that not only have a direct benefit of reducing fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions but also have an indirect impact by raising the profile of such technologies.”

The Prince, who is currently holidaying in Scotland with the Duchess of Cornwall, is said to be delighted that the panels have been given the go-ahead.