Livermore is a bit inland from the Bay Area of San Francisco. What that means in practical terms is that it gets real hot real fast and can be pretty windy. But Livermore Cinemas is not worried. The cinema is now the United State’s largest solar-powered movie theater. Largest of a mere handful, but still has the bragging rights.
The announcement of the achievement was timed when Disney nature movie “Earth” began to play nationwide on— Earth Day.
The 20K square foot roof is covered with a 132-kilowatt system covers the bulk of the theater’s roof. It is not only the largest known solar-power system for a movie theater but also one of the largest solar “modules” anywhere in the country.
The modules are not like traditional solar panels. They are cylindrical tubes about the length and width of shower curtain rods. They are lined up side-by-side and put on a flat roof where they cannot be blown away.
The modules are good for areas like Livermore which is also quite windy as well as hot. When the solar panels don’t work, it’s cloudy and windy enough for the wind turbines on nearby hills to fill in.
There are some 800 modules, about 21 miles of solar cells and accounts for about 35% of the electric needs of the movie house. We wonder if when God turns out the light (the sun goes down) do the lights in the movie house go off, too?
According to the EPA, the Livermore system will save more than 3,400 metric tons of greenhouse gases over the next 25 years.