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, and one of the biggest rooftop PV systems in the UK studios sector.

The rooftop’s 2,380 panels produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 250 homes annually, saving nearly 200 tonnes of CO2 per year. Not only is the solar array powering the entire TBY2 facility and its three new stages, it is also helping the city of Bristol reach its climate goal to be net zero by 2030. During peak conditions, it generates more energy than the facility needs, and over time this surplus clean energy will be ‘sleeved’ to other buildings in the city via Bristol’s City Leap Sleeving Pool.

TBY2’s groundbreaking 1MWp rooftop solar array


In March 2023, TBY2 was one the first facilities to receive the new global Studio Sustainability Standard from BAFTA albert and Arup – it was the second highest-scoring studio, receiving a ‘Very Good’ rating, the highest level awarded in the first cohort.

In May 2023, The Bottle Yard Studios won the Sustainability Initiative Award for TBY2’s solar rooftop at Screen International’s inaugural Global Production Awards.  Judges’ praise included: “This is the sort of expansive thinking, large scale change we need in our industry to make real sustainable change”; and “…the grassroots effort, quantifiable success and clear benefit to both environment and filmmakers puts The Bottle Yard Studios in a class of its own.”

In November 2023, the Studios took home the Innovation in Low Carbon Technology Award at the Future Leap Sustainable Business Awards, recognising the TBY2 solar array as “an innovative change in working that puts low-carbon solutions at the forefront of productivity”.

The Studios were also nominated in the Sustainability category of the 2023 Makers & Shakers Awards, the closing event of FOCUS London 2023, the leading UK trade event for film and TV content makers and facilitators.


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.” Will Houghton, Bristol Energy Cooperative Project Developer

The scale of this rooftop solar array is difficult to comprehend. The 2,380 solar panels in the array required 5,000 precisely placed rails. Its installation was no mean feat. Working at such heights, at times with high winds, wasn’t without its challenges for the Solar South West team. At times the long walk across TBY2’s rooftop required several hands to steady each panel. Some days, it was simply too dangerous to carry anything.

Benefiting Bristol

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

Sustainable build

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.