Microsoft Solar Panels
Microsoft Solar Panels
Project:  Installation of Solar PV Panels on the Microsoft Research Building, Cambridge
Location:  Microsoft Research Lab, Cambridge
Status:  Complete

Client Overview – Microsoft Cambridge:

The aim of our client, Microsoft Cambridge, was to achieve a microgeneration renewable energy source at their new research building located within the heart of Cambridge, with the primary objective was to reduce their carbon footprint whilst also achieving a reliable source of energy to power their new premises.

Microsoft is committed to achieving carbon negative emissions by 2030. The development would provide a valuable contribution to the reduction of Microsoft’s Research Buildings carbon emissions in Cambridge whilst also promoting sustainability in all areas of the transnational corporation.

Site Location:

The Microsoft Research Building in Cambridge is the ideal place to present the benefits to having a renewable energy resource in a large office building, to show the reliability and sustainability of Solar panels as an energy source. Microsoft really paved the way for other smaller companies to follow their path in the usage of renewable energy and the vibrant city of Cambridge is an ideal location to demonstrate the positives of implementing solar panels.

Design and Placement:

With the Microsoft Cambridge office having undergone extensive redevelopment alongside several buildings in the area. The now modern redesigned building benefits from Solar Panels set in from the edge of the building in order to avoid being visible from a public vantage point at street level.

This therefore helped maintain a standard look to the building, avoiding any potentially negative impacts upon the conservation area. A scheme of 153 flat roof solar panels (60 Cell 335W Polycrystalline Panels) was proposed as it would produce approximately 40,499KWh of energy per annum.

The number of panels that have been able to be placed on the roof will significantly contribute to the energy requirements of the building, making the design and placement a key factor in the practicality and efficiency of the solar panels.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability:

From an environmental perspective this innovative renewable energy source removes the reliance on fossil fuels whilst also, from a sustainable stand point, creating infrastructure to assist in the battle against climate change. As this is Microsoft’s key aim in the project, this has been a great success in moving Microsoft into a much eco-friendlier future with the help of the Planning & Design Practice Team.

Regulatory Compliance:

This project needed to comply with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF as of 2021, details that renewable energies are a priority in section 14 ‘Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change’. Regarding this project the NPPF assisted our team in acquiring planning permission on behalf of Microsoft. There are also rules regarding the placement of solar panels on a roof which have successfully been abided by through the successful obtainment of planning permission by the experienced architecture and planning team at Planning & Design Practice.


This sustainable project implementing eco-friendly solar panels made Microsoft’s aspirations a reality through our involvement in achieving planning permission for a renewable future. This sets a president for similar green projects in the future boasting a blend of environmental sustainability in addition to maintaining the look and feel of the conservation area.

The project achieved all of its aims in creating a greener future for Microsoft Cambridge whilst also benefiting the global environmental battle against climate change.

Key Contact:     Andrew Stock, Associate Director
Project Team:  Andrew Stock & Megan Askham – Planning
Joshua Bunce – Architecture

Planning & Design Practice Ltd is a multi-disciplinary team of Chartered Town Planners, Architects, Architectural Assistants and Heritage Specialists. Gaining planning permission is a key step in almost any development. We can take a project through from inception to completion, but we also offer the flexibility to engage a client’s own architects and provide a planning service, whilst our design team can also work with clients who have engaged other town planning professionals.

Planning & Design Practice Ltd are well versed in researching and understanding local Council’s policies to ensure the best possible case if put forward for our clients.

For a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01332 347371 or email