business energy media

Community solar on the Bottle Yard Studios

I haven’t done many ‘building of the week’ posts recently – apologies to those who love a bit of green architecture. Here’s one that might qualify, although it’s also about community solar and sustainable business.

The Bottle Yard is so called because its main site used to be the bottling plant for Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry, a staple of my Grandad’s drinks cabinet. It’s now a studio facility that’s used in a variety of TV and film productions.

Because it’s owned by Bristol Council, the studios are part of their ambitious plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. Sustainability is a priority, with policies to reduce waste, reduce transport needs, and support production companies in reducing their emissions. One interesting idea is the reuse of sets and props, with on-site storage and free re-use. Rather than clear the sound stages each time, they get incoming productions to talk to outgoing ones to see what can be left in place and re-used.

The biggest feature is on the roof, however. Their second site hosts a 1 megawatt solar array, which runs the lights and tech inside, and other nearby council buildings. It was installed by the Bristol Energy Cooperative, which makes it the largest community-owned solar rooftop in the country.

Although it was a long walk across the roof for the installers of those 2,380 panels, this is the best possible use of a massive roof. And if it’s community owned, even better.

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