In Europe, Light Grows On Trees

Solar Tree

By Evan Ackerman

I love Europe in that special way only someone who’s lived exclusively in the United States for 25-odd years really can. Yet another fabulous reason to love Europe are these solar powered light trees, spotted last October in Vienna (as well as in Milan in November and December). Designed by Ross Lovegrove, each tree has 10 branches, and each branch has a solar cell (artemide polycrystalline solar cells by Sharp) “petal” on top. During the day, the petals charge built-in batteries, and as soon as the sun goes down, LEDs under the petals light up, providing efficient and cost effective street lighting, especially since the installation costs are minimal (no wiring necessary). The trees are able to provide light even after several consecutive cloudy days, although there aren’t any specifics on how much power the panels generate. More pics and info after the jump.

Solar Tree

Apparently (insert grain of salt here), Europe spends 10% (!) of all the electricity it produces on street lighting, amounting to two trillion kilowatt-hours and 2.9 billion tons of CO2. It’s therefore understandable that cities would be bullish on free lights, and Vienna is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to replace their conventional streetlights with solar trees.

Solar Tree

I just wish they would make them a little more… less ugly. Maybe something more like this, perhaps?

[ Renewable Energy Access ] VIA [ MetaEfficient ]

8 thoughts on “In Europe, Light Grows On Trees”

  1. Wish they had smaller versions you could buy for outside your home. They are a bit ugly though. Maybe if they were textured?

    Great idea though, I wish the US would consider stuff like this.

  2. The 10% is from the original article. I didn’t take it out of context or anything, it says that “street lighting consumed 10 percent of all the electricity used in Europe in 2006.” But yeah, it seems rather high, doesn’t it?

  3. 10% is maybe a tad to much but finding belgium from space at night does come at a small price…
    And the pics look like product vizualisations, and they look damn ugly I think.

  4. something like 40% of all energy in the world is consumed by lighsources of every art. 10% for streetlighning sounds reasonable. wirklich , glaub mir

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