Solar Tribune

Solar Tree: new method to charge electric cars


San Diego-based Envision Solar recently installed its Solar Tree arrays at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility.

It’s the second Solar Tree installation at the VTIF, and comes on the heels of Envision Solar’s announcement that the company had successfully completed pre-fabricated foundations for the arrays, which allow the system to be installed significantly faster.

Credit: Envision Solar

Credit: Envision Solar

The Solar Tree is essentially a covering for parking lots that is topped with solar panels, both providing shading for cars and generates electricity. The NREL installation took four and a half days.

“I’m proud that we have been chosen again by NREL. They are delighted the Solar Tree deployment went so quickly and without any typical construction problems,” said Desmond Wheatley, Chief Executive Officer, Envision Solar.

“Our drag and drop infrastructure is comprised of engineered modules which enable us to deliver beautiful and complex structures, made simple and risk free for our customers,” he continued.

One solar tree provides enough energy to fully charge six electric vehicles. Plus, it’s designed to withstand 120mph winds and six feet of snow simultaneously.

“The addition of this Made in America 18kW solar canopy incorporating EnvisionTrak™ and EV Charging supports NREL’s R&D mission to integrate electric vehicles and grid systems for enhanced value,” said Tony Markel, Senior Engineer, NREL.

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