The next time the computer-animated, blue-skinned Na’vi of Pandora jump out of the silver screen across the world in Avatar 2, they’ll thank the sun in a brand new way. That’s thanks to the new 960 kilowatt photovoltaic array that covers three of Lightstorm Entertainment Inc.’s (LEI’s) buildings at Manhattan Beach studio. It’s a fitting choice for Director James Cameron and crew’s studios as the movie has been interpreted as Cameron’s environmental missive.
The system will produce enough electricity to power LEI’s sound stages and offices at Manhattan Beach Studios Media Campus, according to Stellar Energy, which installed the system. While it’s a significant, and visible step for any Hollywood studio to go solar, other studios, including Fox Films have also added solar to their roofs in the land of cinema.
However, LEI, Cameron and Producer Jon Landau also plan to donate a portion of the profits from the next two Avatar movies to environmental and social initiatives. “It’s such a great opportunity now starting out on the Avatar sequels to say look this is how a company, a production company can work making clean, green energy as we go,” Cameron said in a video about the project. “I didn’t want people to come up to me afterwards and say: ‘Oh yeah you’re the big environmentalist making this movie about how we should behave and you guys are using all this power for all your computers.’
“I heard that criticism when we made the first film and we did something about it. And going into the two sequels Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 we’re going to be net zero, we’re going to be able to handle all of the need all of the load that we generated from our computers and our performance capture system,” Cameron said. “We have to do this. We have to do this for the future. We have to do it for our children, we have to do it for the future.”
During the installation process, the buildings remained active as sound-proofed recording studios so work on existing movie and TV projects weren’t slowed down, according to Stellar.