TBY2: solar-powered studio space

In 2022, we opened TBY2, The Bottle Yard’s state-of-the-art second facility, powered by a gigantic 1MWp rooftop solar array consisting of more than 2,300 photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Funded by the Bristol Energy Cooperative, it’s believed to be the biggest community-owned solar rooftop array in the UK. We also believe it to be the biggest rooftop PV system in the UK studios sector.

TBY2 rooftop solar array

TBY2’s 1MWp rooftop solar array

Bristol City Council, which owns and runs The Bottle Yard Studios, initially planned to install a 283kWp solar array on the rooftop of TBY2, but thanks to funding from Bristol Energy Cooperative (BEC), the final array was more than three times larger than originally planned.

“Solar arrays are often designed to cover just a small part of a roof, to reduce costs. But we’re in a climate crisis, and in order to meet Bristol’s climate goals we‘re aiming much higher than that. The Bottle Yard’s TBY2 facility is a massive site, with loads of opportunity for energy generation and CO2 reduction. So for this project, we were determined to make full use of the available roof space. To put it into context, the amount of energy this array is capable of generating could power more than 250 average households per year.” Will Houghton, Bristol Energy Cooperative Project Developer

The scale of this rooftop solar array is difficult to comprehend. Comprising exactly 2,380 solar panels, requiring 5,000 precisely installed rails, its installation was no mean feat. Working at such heights wasn’t without its challenges for the Solar South West team. At times with high winds, the long walk across the rooftop often required several hands to steady each panel. Some days, it was simply too dangerous to carry anything.

Over time, surplus energy produced at TBY2 will be utilised through Bristol’s City Leap Sleeved Pool electricity supply model. The model connects buildings and ‘sleeves’ surplus energy generated from one building over to another, to reduce energy consumption from non-renewables.

BEC’s community ownership model provides a return to their investor members, whilst surplus revenues go back to the local community through grants and investment into more local energy projects. BEC’s latest share offer, which closed at the end of June, attracted £1.3 million from more than 478 investors.

“The Bottle Yard’s new TBY2 facility and what it can offer to Bristol is immense. It’s not just the growth in film and TV production for the city, but it’s the commitment to help deliver Bristol’s 2030 carbon neutral ambition and the community and partnership working that underpins it.” Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy

In addition to its ambitious use of solar technology, TBY2’s wider design and build process was carried out with sustainability in mind at every stage.

Premium insulation has been included throughout and a sophisticated building management system installed to ensure optimal energy conservation.

Electric vehicle points and cycling facilities support carbon neutral travel between TBY2 and the main Bottle Yard site.

Interested in our other Sustainability measures? Click here to find out more.