One of the many wonderful things about the cleantech revolution is that even very mundane, uninteresting things become cool. “Grey infrastructure” becomes “green infrastructure,” and all of a sudden there’s a great deal of life to it.
One example is in the field of automobile parking. Parking lots and parking garages aren’t typically places to take sightseeing pictures. But throw on a little solar technology, and maybe a tad of an artistic touch, and it’s a completely different story.
One of the simplest options here is to put solar panels on top of carports. It’s basic, but still nice, and super useful. Aside from producing clean electricity, such solar carports can make electric vehicle (EV) charging more practical and cheaper in such locations. But if you’re going to do solar-powered EV charging…
… solar trees are too cool to pass up!
Solar tress combine useful solar panels, perhaps also EV charging, and art. A number of different companies offer slightly different-looking solar trees. Also, some parking services companies, like Scott Jones and his crew at Ace Parking*, are actually now offering solar tree advice and implementation. I’m sure there aren’t yet many parking companies that venture into this new avenue, but I’m sure it will become more and more popular.
For a bit more about solar trees, there are photos of different types below, and here’s a snippet from Wikipedia: “The Solar Tree is a combination of artistic and technological effort which exists as a form of solar artwork. Within the past several years, artistically inclined inventors have strived to envision new methods to gain utility from solar cell technology. This relatively new concept was conceived in an attempt to merge new technology, relating to the absorption and use of solar power, and artistic aesthetic. The inspiration for their organic design has both visually pleasing and pragmatic purposes. Though the instrumental value of the Solar Tree may differ depending on its interpretation, the general form of an organic, tree-like figure utilizing solar panels remains consistent.”
As noted above, there are different types of solar trees. Some just utilize solar panels to create electricity that is sent back to the grid. Some include outlets for charging of mobile phones and tablets. Some get really artistic by incorporating colorful, “dancing” LEDs. And some are especially useful in that they include charging outlets for electric vehicles. I love them all, but have to say that I have a special preference for the latter, because of their utility and my love of both solar power and EVs.
*This article was generously supported by Ace Parking.