CSIR Develops ‘Solar Tree’ that can Light Five Houses
A CSIR laboratory in West Bengal has designed a ‘solar power tree’ that takes up only four sq. ft of space and produces about three kW of power, enough to power about five households. Dr Sibnath Maity, chief scientist at the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in Durgapur, which developed the ‘tree’, said the challenge was to come up with a design so as to generate more solar power in less land space. For one MW of power, one needs five acres of land. To generate 10,000 MW we would need 50,000 acres. The ‘solar tree’ was inaugurated by Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan during his maiden visit to the CMERI, which is a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Dr Maity said one conventional solar photovoltaic system of five kW requires 400 sq. feet of area. The 3 kW solar power tree resembles a tree with branches at different tiers and could be squeezed on rooftops and highways with a space requirement of around 4 sq. feet. The branches hold up the 30 photovoltaic panels and the system costs around Rs3 lakh with battery back-up.