Advanced Module Technologies: Solar Trees
Solar trees work very much like real ones, as they have leaf-like solar panels connected through metal branches using sunlight to make energy. Solar trees can be seen as complementary to rooftop solar systems.
They are more ergonomic than solar panels, taking nearly 100 times less space to produce the same amount of electricity as a horizontal solar plant and, as such, constitute a solution for land- and space- scarce economies.
Scientists at the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in West Bengal have installed a ‘solar tree’ that is likely to be the largest of its kind in the world.
“This is the largest solar tree as per our knowledge producing up to 11,500 watts (11.5kw). The second-largest tree has been set up in London and produces around 8.6kw,” said Harish Hirani, director of CMERI, the country’s apex research and development institute for mechanical engineering under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
A solar tree is a metal structure resembling a tree that has solar panels fitted on the branches. The solar panels connected through metal branches produces solar power. The CMERI solar tree has 35 panels each with a capacity of 330 watts.
“Producing around 12,000–14,000 units of clean and green power in a year, the solar tree has the potential to save 10–12 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere every year,” he said.
One of the main hurdles while setting up solar panels on a large scale and for producing huge amount of renewable energy is availability of land. The inclination of the tree arms (tree branches) holding the panels can be adjusted to get the maximum output, a feature which is not available in roof top panels. The CMERI developed solar tree costs around Rs 7.5 lakh.
Source: IRENA & Hindustan Times