But the claim has been questioned by industry figures, who say the 84kW system may be much bigger than most implemented so far but that it is not the first.

The renewables system will provide electricity for the new offices of the London Climate Change Agency (LCCA), due to move into the Palestra building on Blackfriars Road in September.

“This is the first combined photovoltaic and building-integrated wind turbine system in the UK,” LCCA chief executive Alan Jones told edie.

“Other similar projects may be in the course of design or planning application submitted but Palestra already has the photovoltaics installed, and the building integrated wind turbines will be installed in September 2006,” he said.

Fourteen wind turbines generating 21kW will go up on the roof of the Palestra building, adding to the existing 63kW photovoltaic panel array.

But renewables experts Solarcentury beg to differ. A spokesman for the ‘solar solutions’ company told edie that they already have several PV and integrated wind turbine systems up and working:

“We have helped install building integrated wind and solar PV solutions on the Merrill’s house, as seen on the ITN series 3° from Disaster – The green Life, and at Croydon Centrale shopping centre, both of which maximise the use of these two complimentary renewable technologies,” said the spokesman.

One issue everyone seems to agree on is that combining PV and wind brings with it a series of advantages by maximising efficiency.

Solar output is highest in the summer, complementing wind turbine output which is highest in winter, while wind fills in the night-time gap in solar generation, Alan Jones explained.

The LCCA hopes that the Palestra building will become an example to businesses of how renewables can be successfully integrated into urban settings. The renewables system will cut carbon emissions from the offices by 10%, or 3,300 tonnes over its lifetime, according to the agency.

Allan Jones said: “The LCCA, in ‘showing by doing’, is hoping to stimulate the renewable energy market not just for new development where renewable energy is required to gain planning consent, but also for existing development, in particular office, retail, commercial and public buildings, where owners/occupiers are subject to the EU Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings.”

“There are many buildings in London that could replicate the renewable energy system at Palestra, which collectively could have a huge impact in reducing London’s carbon footprint.”

Palestra’s PV-wind system will provide 4% of the offices’ total energy needs, Mr Jones said, but a feasibility study is on the way into using fuel cells alongside the renewables to give all of the energy used for electricity, heat and cooling in the offices.

The cost of the 84kW renewable energy system is expected to come to £436,000. This should be offset by future savings:

“The premium for green tariff to serve a building like Palestra would be in the region of 15%, so this is being saved, in addition to the avoidance of paying the Climate Change Levy plus the income that would be generated from the Renewable Obligation and Levy Exemption Certificates,” said Allan Jones.

Contractor Solar Technologies will install the fourteen Swift rooftop turbines, manufactured by Edinburgh-based Renewable Devices.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, said: “The London Climate Change Agency has provided the expertise for this project which will act as a living example of how the Agency can help other organisations to become more sustainable in their use of energy.”

Goska Romanowicz

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie