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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 February, 2003, 12:07 GMT
Sun power for rainy city
Solar panels
The plans could encourage other solar schemes
Architects are hoping solar panels will catch some rays in one of Britain's rainiest cities.

Plans have been drawn up for the UK's largest set of the panels on an office block in Manchester - more famed for its wet weather than sunshine.

The CIS building, the biggest tower block outside London, could be coated in the sun-power screens if planners approve the idea.

Millions of mosaic tiles which have covered its service tower for 40 years have fallen off - prompting the plan to replace them with solar panels.

It is hoped that the tiny black tiles will generate enough electricity to power 75 houses.

The 28-storey listed building was the tallest in Europe when it was built by the Cooperative Insurance Company in 1962.

Green schemes

If the plans are given planning permission, it could encourage other firms to take on the environmentally-friendly idea.

Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, the firm which has submitted the plans, said cladding such a large listed building would be "almost without precedent".

A spokesman for CIS said an application had been made to cover part of the tower with solar panels but refused to comment on the project until after the end of the planning process.

The largest use of solar panels in Britain is currently at the Alexander Stadium indoor training centre in Birmingham.



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