A ‘solar power tree’ that takes up only four square feet of space and generates enough power to run about five households is being upgraded to include a rotating motor to help it align with changing sunlight, its designer said on Tuesday. Developed by CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in West Bengal, under the leadership of scientist Sibnath Maity, it resembles a tree with branches at different tiers and could be used on rooftops and highways.A
It helps harness maximum solar energy in minimum space. “It uses four square feet of land to produce 5KW of power. We are now improving the design and incorporating a motor which would be aligned with a timer so that the tree can move from east to west depending on the sunlight. This way it can absorb maximum solar energy,” Maity told IANS. The tree was recently launched by Union Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan.
“The branches hold up the 30 photovoltaic panels and the system costs around Rs 5 lakh with battery back-up. Because the solar panels are higher up, it can get one hour more sunlight,” Maity said. The technology has been licensed to a Kolkata-based company and more companies as well as individuals have requested for installations, he said.