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Solar power played the lead role in Inception

A glimpse of solar energy is making its presence felt in the glamorous world of Hollywood.


About a decade ago, Inception, the science fiction drama, directed by celebrated filmmaker, Christopher Nolan, and distributed by Warner Brothers, created quite the buzz. It was a visual treat that grabbed everyone’s attention – whether they loved or hated it. The larger than life sets and special effects created ripples, however the uniqueness of this film went beyond merely the cinematic experience it provided. In a first, the film was powered by solar energy!

Lights, camera, solar

The entire base camp of the movie was run courtesy power derived from the sun. Equipped with 7,200 watts of solar panels, it is said that the set up replaced a 1,400-to-1,800-amp diesel generator, which would have released tonnes of carbon dioxide. The solar set was constructed by the company, Pure Power Distribution. According to them, the generators, which output 600 amps/72,000 watts of pure sine wave power with no noise, and no emissions, were used to power the base camp for Inception. Their website also mentioned  that a  base camp requires (depending on the film) about 10%-20% of the power a set requires. Barring two trailers, they were able to provide power to the entire movie set, which was reportedly equivalent to the output required to power eight houses!

Leading the way

The initiative to produce a green film was taken by the lead actor of the film, Leonardo DiCaprio, an environmentalist at heart. It is not surprising, considering he has founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is focused on finding solutions for various environmental concerns plaguing the earth – one of them being making a complete transition to renewable energy. There was also news of him joining the solar company, Kingo, to brighten up the lives of people in remote areas with electricity produced by solar power.

As for Inception, in an interview, the actor said, “It’s the first movie I got to do with solar power. I had a conversation about it with Alan Horn, who’s the head of Warner Bros. The generators that we had on the set were all powered by solar energy. It’s going to be a big conversion to do stuff like that every day, not just in making movies but everything in the world.” Certainly, a person who believes in walking the talk, Leonardo added, “We do a lot of things in the world that are wasteful. We keep talking about this all the time. Hopefully, fingers crossed, with these small steps, we’ll make that transition on a much larger scale in the future.” Well said, indeed!

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