Solar power has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Last year alone saw an increase of 33 percent. As long as an industry grows so rapidly, there will be rapid innovations within it.
Solar innovation has been driven by new design concepts and improvements in existing technologies. An example of one such design improvement is the solar tree, which is also known as "the solar panel tree."
You might be wondering if all trees are essentially solar trees. Yes, they are! All trees depend on sunlight for survival and growth.
However, these solar trees are not the same type of trees you'd find in nature: they're much more "solar" than they are real plants.
A solar tree is an installation of solar panels designed to resemble a real tree. They often have one long pole in the ground, mimicking a tree trunk. Solar panels are usually mounted on poles.
These are either attached to the top of the poles or they're attached to the poles at different heights and angles. Like trees, some solar panels are attached to the tops of poles, and others are attached to the sides of poles.
Solar trees fall under the broader category of ground-mounted solar panels. A solar setup is distinguished by its unique design compared to other systems.
The concept emerged at different times in various parts of the world, so it's difficult to determine which one came first. Over time, it has been tested, refined, and improved upon by many different solar companies from across the globe.
Solar Trees: What Benefits Do They Offer?
Here are some of the factors which make solar trees unique:
Solar-Powered Tree Manufacturers
Solar Trees by Beam Global and Spotlight are among the leading suppliers of solar trees in America; Smartflower provides a similar product, a solar flower.
Beam Global (formerly known as Envision Solar) is a prominent manufacturing company for solar-powered trees. The manufacture of solar tree panels primarily focuses on designing products with high efficiency and easy use.
They don't resemble solar trees but are more like solar carports or canopies. They use a standard solar PV system consisting of one central tower with a 35 square foot 60 modules solar photovoltaic (PV) array installed on its top. They include a 30-year warranty for the PV modules and inverters.
Beam Global also has an EV charging station called EV Arc. At these solar tree power stations, solar trees generate electricity stored in rechargeable battery packs.
These packs are then used to power electric cars at any time of the night or daytime.
Spotlight Solar has unique yet simple designs intended to make solar energy more noticeable and appealing. Four design patterns exist lift, curve, Trestle, and Industry.
These solar trees come in more than 200 colors and include an option for adding your company logo. They're truly one-of-a-kind.
Spotlight doesn't include any sun tracking capabilities, but its unique design can be modified to maximize solar energy output for different locations.
Spotlight has already accomplished several noteworthy projects, including installations at Kennedy Space Center and the zoo in Florida.
It's not really a solar tree; rather, it's a solar flower. However, it has an automatic sun tracker and a self-cleaning system.
And it's easy to set up. If you're interested in the Smartflower, check their website.
Solar Tree vs. Solar Panel Comparison
What makes solar trees different from conventional solar panels? Check out this comparison.
$45,000-$85,000 for a one to five-kilowatt (kW) solar power system from Spotlight Solar*
A 6 kW system costs $18,500 when installed with Tier 1 solar panels.
Commercial property that makes a strong statement
Homes and businesses trying to lower electricity expenses
Location of installation
It must be installed on a flat ground surface; it doesn't need much space
Works best on a roof or open space
It may be useful for some real-world applications in the future.
An already cost-effective method for cutting electricity costs and helping the environment
Who Should Buy a Solar Tree?
Standard solar panels are one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to harness solar energy for residential or commercial purposes.
Installing a solar panel tree is significantly more expensive than installing an ordinary solar panel system. However, it may be worth considering if you fall into any of these categories:
1. Local government bodies or authorities looking to show their support for any current renewable energy projects by planting solar trees in public spaces. Communities in Florida have banded together to install solar-powered trees at zoos, museums, airport terminals, and parks throughout Florida.
2. An educational organization committed to inspiring youth. A well-constructed solar tree can be used as an effective way to demonstrate the convergence between technology and design.
3. Private companies looking to promote themselves as supporters of renewable energy. There are plenty of companies across America that already do this. Nothing screams, "We're green!" more than a fancy-sounding solar tree at the front door.
4. Places where there isn't enough room for solar panels. A solar tree is an effective alternative if you cannot put solar panels on your roof or don't have enough room for them on the ground.
Final Thoughts on Solar Tree
The solar tree offers an innovative way to collect energy. As the world moves toward using renewable energy like solar, solar trees will be used as an aesthetic way to show off these technologies.
As technologies continue to develop and more companies join the marketplace, the price of solar trees will likely decrease.
If you're keen on supporting solar power, why not partner with local companies and councils to buy one?
If you install a solar tree in your local parks or streets, it can be a great way to show your commitment to sustainability and beautify your community.
However, if you're looking to save money by reducing your energy usage, standard solar panel installations with the 26 percent federal income tax credit would be a good choice, whether you own a home or business.
Use the solar calculator below to see whether you could benefit from installing solar panels at your residence.