Indian scientists design Solar Power Tree, a miniature structure that can light up to 5 houses

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Remember New Wind, the brilliant miniature tree-shaped wind turbine built by Jérôme Michaud-Larivière back in 2014? Created by a team at India’s Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), the new Solar Power Tree looks somewhat similar, except it features a vertical arrangement of solar cells that can operate on much smaller plots of land. Recently unveiled by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi, the contraption, which is designed for use in crowded areas, produces the same amount of electricity as a traditional array.

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Each of the branches of this tree-like structure boasts efficient photovoltaic panels. Thanks to its innovative design, the Solar Power Tree can be erected on a four-square-feet area, which is significantly less than the 400-square-feet land required for the operation of a conventional array. Despite its miniature build, the new contraption can generating up to 5 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power around five homes.

What’s more, it is capable of harvesting about 10 to 15-percent more solar power than regular, ground-based arrays. In addition to generating usable electricity, the harnessed energy charges a battery backup system. When fully charged, the battery can power a street light for nearly two hours following sunset. As pointed out by the researchers, the Solar Tree is self-cleansing, relying on a built-in water sprinkler to remove dirt that might in turn affect its efficiency.

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A prototype of the Solar Power Tree has already been tested in different parts across the Indian state of West Bengal. At present, the scientists are working towards integrating a rotating mechanism that could further enhance the structure’s efficiency by allowing it to track the sun throughout the day. The 5 kW version is currently available at a price of around $7,500.

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Source: Government of India Department of Science and Technology

  • Richard Doyle

    What hoax is this several hundred times people have proven. that unless they solar panels are nano tech.
    Unless the panels are angled towards the sun they are unless and ineffective.
    This is another bulls@#T story.

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