UK Landmark Big Ben To Be Covered In Solar Panels?

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When you think of the UK, or more specifically, of England, it’s very likely that an image of the iconic great clock tower known as Big Ben comes to mind. But what would you say if the image of that old clock tower in your mind — the real-life version was completed all the way back in 1858 — was clad in modern-looking solar panels?

That’s a question that some may soon have to answer, as the British Parliament is currently considering adding solar panels to the face of the iconic clock.

Image Credit: Big Ben via Wiki CCImage Credit: Big Ben via Wiki CC

The potential move comes as part of a broader initiative within the UK government — one which will also see the roofs of the Houses of Parliament covered in solar panels as well.

The Guardian provides more:

Parliamentary passholders were last month asked to submit ideas on how the estate could hit a target to improve energy efficiency by 34% by the end of the decade. One passholder suggested putting solar panels on the clock face of Big Ben, which in 2012 was renamed Elizabeth Tower.

The House Service is also planning to insulate parts of the Palace of Westminster roof with sheep’s wool next year, following a trial with Leeds University which found the material significantly reduced heat loss. Sheep’s wool is water tolerant so could also help to guard against leaks and prevent condensation from building up.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

7 thoughts on “UK Landmark Big Ben To Be Covered In Solar Panels?

  • And in addition to Big Ben’s green make over I hear that France is going to put an eight megawatt wind turbine on top of the Eiffel Tower and the animatronic eyes being installed on Mt Rushmore will be solar powered.

  • Given the number of tourists who photograph the tower every day, I’d be against changing the outside of the tower.

  • Again a total false headline. “One pass holder suggested” on the “face of the clock” please. It will never happen. And would be a waste of money if it did. Insulate old buildings, yes no brainer there. PV on roofs of government buildings, again good idea. Why not reference the useful part of your story instead of the sh*t.

  • The wool insulation is lovely. “King Edward III (1327-1377) commanded that his Lord Chancellor whilst in council should sit on a wool bale, now known as “The Woolsack”, in order to symbolise the central nature and huge importance of the wool trade to the economy of England in the Middle Ages” (Wikipedia). The Speaker of the House of Lords still sits on it, now “re-stuffed with wool from all over the Commonwealth as a symbol of unity.”

  • Cover the Opera House in Sydney in (thin film) panels

    • No can do. The sails are white, PV panels are dark, and we like to use them as projection screens during festivals. Besides our Prime Minister Tony Abbot is so vehemenently against renewables that he’d probably pass an act of parliament declaring such an initiative to be “un-Australian”, a threat to our precious coal industry and illegal.

      • Unfortunately you ae right, but I would pay good money to see his reaction if it was to go through.

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