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Sol Cinema on the Road with PVs (UK)

Credits: ©2011 Sol Cinema

The Sol Cinema might be the world’s smallest movie theater. It is a micro movie house inside a small travel trailer, powered entirely by the sun in the UK. The cinema is a converted 1972 Euro-camper caravan from the 1960's, commissioned by the media arts charity Undercurrents. The three-berth, nine-foot, 8.5cwt caravan was originally designed for the Mini back in 1965.It runs on four large lithium ion batteries charged by two 120W solar panels as it travels to festivals and other events. It can accommodate eight adults or twelve children comfortably for a unique cinematic experience that features an LED projector showing short movies in full – if tiny - cinematic surroundings. The diminutive movie house stocks a full library of comedy, quirky music videos and short films with inspiring environmental themes. The circa 1960's RV trailer is fitted out with Roman pillars and capitals, as well as a brick facade. Inside, its full movie theater regalia including red carpet. An usherette passes attendees a free admission ticket, and for a small fee, a bag of popcorn. This rolling brainchild was commissioned by an arts charity called Undercurrents, and put together a year ago by Jo Furlong and friends. A pair of 120-watt solar panels charge the rig's lithium batteries, providing juice for movies even when the sun is recalcitrantly hanging out above typically cloudy British skies.


Sol Cinema Screen

The Sol Cinema is a micro movie house powered entirely by the sun in the UK. It can accommodate eight adults comfortably for a unique cinematic experience. They have a full library of comedy, quirky, music videos and short films with inspiring environment themes. ©2011 Sol Cinema

The Sol Cinema was commissioned by media arts charity Undercurrents and designed and constructed by Jo Furlong in 2009 with support from artists Ami Marsden & Beth Marsden.

The lithium ion batteries make it possible to operate the theater entirely on solar. These batteries are typically used in electric cars, but they are also ideal for the little cinema. The 120W solar panels receive sunlight to charge the batteries ensuring that they always have power, whatever the weather. In designing the solar power supply system, much attention was given to minimizing the energy requirements, including using a low-energy LED projector, laptop and lighting, even though they are more expensive than conventional.

The solar energy supply system was also designed as a low-voltage DC system that eliminates the need for an inverter to produce conventional 220v ac. The consequence of this was the need for wiring cables around 20 times the size (in mm2 area, not diameter). To overcome the cumbersome, bulkier cables, two control panels were made. One is inside the cinema, with the shortest possible cables from battery to 'relay' switch to LED projector, lights etc. The second control panel with manual switches is a remote unit outside the caravan. There is also a computer printer cable with 36 tiny wires to connect the two control panels. This allows the cinema operative to make up to 36 'relay' on/off switches

inside the caravan and eliminates the need for the electricity to go outside to the manual control panel and back inside again.


The Sol Cinema

Sol Cinema (UK)