Let the Sun Shine: Futuristic Solar Trees Spruce up Carparks

envision solar parking lot panels

Drive through any city and you’re likely to see plenty of vast parking lots. These asphalt-coated fields are typically uncovered and open to the elements, including the ridiculous amount of solar energy that hits the Earth and goes unused. A company called Envision Solar International hopes to change the landscape of those blacktop expanses by planting trees – “solar trees,” that is.

solar parking lot trees dell headquarters

The company’s solar trees are 12 feet tall and each is topped with a solar collection canopy providing 1000 square feet of solar cells. They can install the trees at no cost to the property owner because the owner purchases the power from them over the life of the project. The solar panels have the potential to cool the parking lot, somewhat protect cars from the elements, and generate clean power for the associated buildings. The “trees” can even have electric car charging stations built right in.

envision solar trees

Just like the company developing the solar road panels, Envision Solar seems to have a handle on how to collect solar power using the existing infrastructure but tweaking it slightly. The company already has several high-profile parking lot installations under its belt in three states. They’ll soon introduce a line of residential options, from carports to smaller solar trees to entire buildings with integrated solar roofs.

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See more in Earth & Nature or under Science. November, 2009.

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