Combining clean energy, covered parking, and an eye-catching design, InnoVentum’s Giraffe 2.0 is an EV charger and/or home power station that integrates both a solar array and a small wind turbine onto a wooden carport and tower.
Starting with a set of three ambitious design goals, namely material efficiency, space efficiency, and aesthetic design, Sweden’s InnoVentum built its unique Giraffe hybrid wind and solar power station in 2013, and has since upgraded that combination carport/EV charging station to Giraffe 2.0. The system relies on wood for the main construction material, and requires no concrete, both of which keep the carbon footprint down, and instead of trying to hide or minimize the view of the actual energy sources, the solar panels and wind turbine, uses them to make a distinctive installation that is half art, half practical EV infrastructure.
The design of the two-car Giraffe 2.0, which was released in 2014, includes 24 solar panels across a curved and up-tilted roof, all supported by a sturdy wooden frame, and a tower on one end with a Windspot 3.5kW wind turbine mounted 12 meters above the ground. According to InnoVentum, the installation is estimated to have an annual production of some 13,850 kWh of electricity (based on an average wind speed of 6 m/s) from the solar and wind devices deployed on its 24.6 square meter physical footprint, which is said to be the equivalent of ‘fueling’ two electric vehicles for about 45,000 kilometers each per year.
The company touts two key advantages to its design, that of the positioning of the solar panels and the combination of wind and solar as energy inputs:
“Thanks to the intelligent (carefully calculated) positioning of PV panels the Giraffe 2.0 starts producing solar energy 2 hours earlier and stops 2 hours later than a classic PV mounting – avoiding peak production at midday and yielding energy over a longer period of time.
“Wind and solar power harvesting technologies are highly complementary (day – night, summer – winter) providing green energy day and night, all year round. Therefore, you can rely on a flat energy curve.”
It’s not your average run-of-the-mill solar carport, and although it’s also probably not priced for the average clean energy and electric car enthusiast, the Giraffe 2.0 might offer an advantage over some other solar or wind projects, in that it essentially turns energy production into art, which could act as a clean energy ‘gateway’ application for wider adoption of renewables.
Here’s a look at an installation of the Giraffe 2.0:
“The Giraffe 2.0 wind-solar power station is suitable for a variety of applications. It can charge a summer cottage, a house, provide hot water, light, power electronic equipment – either connected to the grid or in remote locations, e.g., replacing diesel generator (with a suitable battery backup). In urban environment Giraffe 2.0 can function as a charging spot for electric vehicles, as a bus station (self-contained or utility-connected) or as an educational renewable energy installation.” – InnoVentum
According to the company website, a Giraffe 2.0 can be yours starting at about 55,000€ (~US$60,800), and installation is said to be “relatively quick and easy” once all the pieces of the wooden skeleton are assembled.