Solar energy in Brazil, the magic of cinema

Solar energy in Brazil, the magic of cinema

Cinesolar is a solar-powered touring cinema which, thanks to the support of the Enel Group, brings the magic of the big screen to Brazil’s most isolated villages


Dona Itamar is laughing out loud as she watches the film: she is clearly enjoying herself. During her long life, she had never been to the cinema. Gilberto, on the other hand, vividly remembers doing so when he was a youngster, but this is a special moment for him too: it’s the first time that he’s been able to share the experience with his children. Itamar Portilho and Gilberto Alves live in Lagoinha, an isolated village in the hinterland of the State of Bahia (in northeastern Brazil). The village has never had a cinema until now.


Cynthia Alario’s solar cinema

The cinema has reached Lagoinha, as well as many other places in Brazil’s vast "Interior,” in a new way, thanks to a project supported by the Enel Group: Cinesolar is an outdoor touring cinema and, as its name suggests, it is powered by solar energy.

The idea is the brainchild of Cynthia Alario, the director of a film production company in São Paulo. The basic concept is quite simple: all you need is a truck with solar panels to generate electricity, while the screen, the projector, the sound system and chairs for the audience are loaded inside the truck.

Once the places for the shows have been chosen - in particular those that host Enel plants - the truck begins its tour. When it reaches a village, it sets up the cinema in a square or a park, and the magic begins for the local inhabitants.


Solar cinema in isolated villages

When Itamar heard that Enel was bringing the cinema to isolated villages, she began to hope that one day it would also come to Lagoinha, the home of Enel Green Power's Morro do Chapéu Sul wind farm. And when that day finally came - it was a Sunday - her expectations “were immense.”

The excitement began as soon as the truck parked in front of the village chapel. Itamar prepared the popcorn for everyone herself, she put on her best earrings and then took her seat. The wait was rewarded even before the start of the screening: “I had never seen such a big screen before!”

Five short films were shown on subjects ranging from sustainability to the culture of the quilombolas, the communities consisting of the descendants of African slaves: stories of everyday life celebrating rural Brazil, entertaining tales in which viewers can recognise themselves and, at the same time, learn about environmental issues.


"Most of the people who watch our screenings have windows overlooking wind turbines or large expanses of solar panels. We want them to be familiar with these issues and to be aware of how the renewable energy system works in practice"
Cynthia Alario, creator of the Cinesolar project


Cinesolar and sustainable development

The work of spreading sustainability issues is not limited to film screenings: when Cinesolar comes to a village, we also organise workshops for the local population. In Lagoinha, we introduced the solar oven: after a short seminar on healthy eating, the participants learned how to build an oven powered by the heat of the sun, without any need for wood or gas.

In other workshops, which are held elsewhere, natural pigments are used to make graphite, musical instruments are made to be played together and sets are built for music, choreography and films. The truck itself can be turned into a solar energy exhibition, with monitors and infographics explaining the main concepts in a clear way.


"Cinesolar is a way to bring sustainability and renewable energy issues to the communities in which we operate, and in doing so, we create shared value"
Livacir Blum, Health, Safety, Environment and Quality coordinator at the Morro do Chapéu Sul plant


For the Enel Group, these activities are part of the Creating Shared Value (CSV) model, which in turn fits perfectly with our Open Power philosophy: opening up both inside and outside in order to enhance everyone’s contribution.

The project can be considered a model of sustainable development and it follows many of the United Nations’ 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals): promotion of healthy eating for SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), seminars and films for SDG 4 (Quality Education), entertainment and public awareness for SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), photovoltaic electricity for SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). This is also because we compensate for the emissions produced by planting trees. Last but not least, Cinesolar’s staff is made up of men and women and all the activities are inspired by SDG 5 (Gender Equality).


"The Cinesolar project is part of our commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and it allows us to share the actions we have undertaken with local communities in order to preserve the environment. Step by step, our presence is being seen as a way to aggregate value in the region"
Marcia Massotti de Carvalho, Head of Sustainability at Enel Brazil


So far Cinesolar has organised 730 screenings, with a total audience of almost 120 thousand spectators: tens of thousands of people like Itamar and Gilberto, who, thanks to Enel and the sun, have had the opportunity to daydream in front of the big screen.