Solar Powered Trees: More Energy with Drastically Less Space

Interesting Engineering

Want to cut energy costs by using your own solar panels? The 5 kw Solar Power Tree might be the answer solar enthusiasts have been waiting for.

Developed by Indian scientists, the tree seeks to utilize small spaces to provide maximum solar energy.

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences of India Dr. Harsh Vardhan presented the ‘Solar Power Tree’. The project was developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute CSIR, a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Solar Power Tree increases solar energy with an innovative vertical composition of solar cells. It's designed to utilize the minimum land as 4 square meters instead of the conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout covering 400 square meters. The tree can be useful in both rural and urban areas.

Minister Vardhan noted that conventional solar energy layouts require around 3.5 acres, a huge leap from 4 square meters. "Purchasing of the land is a major issue in itself" he added. India is one of the largest countries in the world with one of the highest populations and energy needs. More green energy resources like the Solar Tree could offer energy solutions in tight spaces.

csir-cmeri_designed_solar_tree[Image source: Wikipedia]

Dr. Girish Sahni, CSIR, also said:
"The device has been functioning effectively at three places in West Bengal as a pilot project. As a future prospect, the Solar Power Tree would be developed in a rotatable module, which would have a motorized mechanism to align itself with the movement of the Sun during the day. Hence, it would be possible to harness 10-15% more power over and above the current capacity."

Solar Trees Cost $7,500

The approximated cost of the design is around Rs. 5 Lakh or $7,500 USD given current exchange rates.

Technical Features

There are many remarkable technical features of the Solar Power Tree, including a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load. It even absorbs light after sunset.


The Solar Power Tree has designed with a water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning to boost panel effectiveness.

10-15 percent more power

By installing the photovoltaic panels at a higher position, it catches more light and provides 10-15 percent more power when compared to a conventional layout.

“It takes quite a bit of time which results in cost escalation and all those things,” says Amit Kumar, who has been working on sustainable energy resources for long years, at the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi. "Unless we put those [trees] on a large scale, [only] then will we be able to get that answer,” he adds.

If you'd like to get further information about the project, visit Science & Technology and Earth Sciences of India.

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