Empire invests in onsite solar for UK cinemas

Empire Birmingham Great Park cinema (pictured) will play host to the first of the arrays. Image: Elliott Brown/ CCNBY-SA 2.0

The firm this week signed an agreement with US-based firm Solar Alliance Energy, which will see it install a 200kW rooftop solar array on its Empire Birmingham Great Park cinema.

Under the agreement, Solar Alliance and Empire Cinemas will also work together to develop onsite solar projects for up to a further 13 cinemas. The collaborative process will be used to assess feasibility, complete site design and carry out financial modelling.

Solar Alliance believes that each of the cinemas earmarked for development could host around 200kW of solar generation capacity, meaning that Empire Cinemas could have 2.8MW of onsite generation capacity for its UK portfolio in the coming years if projects for all 13 cinemas are completed.

Power generated by the new solar arrays will be used solely by Empire Cinemas, which, across the 14 cinemas identified as potential solar sites, owns and operates 129 screens, including IMAX screens. 

“Empire Cinemas is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our operating costs by installing solar on our theatres,” Empire Cinemas’ chief executive Justin Ribbons said. “Installing solar at our cinemas will establish Empire as an industry leader in sustainability and that is something we are extremely proud of.”

At present, no other UK-based cinema chain is believed to have invested in a multi-site onsite solar portfolio. The first cinema in Europe to host a large-scale onsite solar generation array was Hackney’s Rio Cinema, where 55 solar panels were recently installed on the south-facing roof. The 15kWp array is complemented by an onsite battery storage system.

edie Explains: Onsite generation

Is onsite energy generation right for your business? What are the technology options and how do you choose the right one?

Readers keen to explore these questions are encouraged to download the edie Explains: Onsite Generation guide. Produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions, This nine-page guide provides an end-to-end overview of the various energy technologies and their uses, helping sustainability and energy managers understand exactly how to make the most out of onsite generation. Download it for free here. 

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie