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Published on September 9th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar Tree that Doubles as an EV Charger Going Up at GM Site

September 9th, 2012 by  

Envision Solar International announced on Thursday that one of its Tracking Solar Trees®, which includes a SunCharge™ electric vehicle charging station as its trunk, will be going up at GM’s Milford Proving Ground.

The company writes: “The patent pending, dual synchronous solar tracking system gives the array the ability to capture 25 percent more solar power than a conventional fixed solar canopy. The structure will produce up to 30,000 kilowatt hours a year and provide enough solar energy to charge six electric vehicles per day.” [sic]

This is actually the second solar tree installed at a GM site. (Notably, GM has taken a pretty strong stand on climate change of late, even dumping the Heartland Institute for its absurd approach to this important issue.)

To be honest, this probably should have just been included in our solar energy links bonanza, but when I saw all these awesome photos of solar trees on the Envision Solar site, I had to share them in a full post (even more pics on the site):


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Source: Envision Solar

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About the Author

Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada.

Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don’t jump to conclusions.

  • Anne

    In a sunny climate. a solar carport the right size for your car generates enough electricity to run the car parked beneath it. This image illustrates that nicely.

    And the carport will generate a surplus when covered with 3D solar cells 🙂

    Let’s assume that an average electric car can drive about 4 km per kWh (many LEAF owners get 5-6 km/kWh). 30,000 kWh/year is good enough for 120,000 electric km’s per year, or the operational energy use for about 8 cars (assuming an ~15,000 km per car per year).

    • naoru

      these numbers look great given that while you’re working you’re leaving the car to charge. i think another important step is to reduce car sizes so it would be possible to get to higher efficiency maybe to 8 km/kwh

      • Bob_Wallace

        Size is less important than weight and aerodynamics.

        A lightweight, “slick” car can be roomy and still take less energy to move. Car manufacturers are working on this for both electric and fuel cars.
        Amory Lovins described the ideal car shape as a straight banana. Tapered at both ends and having most of its interior space in length rather than width.

        Light weight is often an economic consideration. Aluminum is more expensive than steel. Aerodynamics are often market constrained, people don’t want to drive something that looks too “strange”.

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