The Co-operative Insurance Tower, built in 1962, is a 28-storey building located on the northern boundary to the city of Manchester. It represents the largest commercial solar facade in Europe and one of the biggest solar installations in the UK. The project demonstrates how new PV technology can be easily incorporated into building practiceto provide an extremely cost effective alternative to conventional cladding materials.
The 7,244 80W PV cells, which cover the Tower’s entire surface, were manufactured by Sharp to Solarcentury’s. The building comprises three distinct elements: a podium at the base, office accommodation with glazed aluminum curtain walling and a windowless concrete service tower on the southwest side.
The CIS solar tower will generate enough electricity to light 61 average three-bed houses every year. The renewable energy they generate saves the equivalent of 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions
The architects for the original design were GS Hay and Tait in 1960 as a commitment to build a sustainable future.