UC San Diego Installs Unique Solar Shade-Trees
Image source: Envision Solar
UC San Diego is using one of its free gifts - some of the best solar exposure in the country - to further power and shade the campus. Several solar trees (solar panels installed on a vertical racking system that supports the "canopy" solar array) will be installed over two parking garages on campus as part of a "forestation" program on campus. The "trees" will also shade vehicles and provide an energy source for campus electric cars.
The "Solar Tree" idea is a new racking system that is "native" to San Diego and was developed by Envision CEO Robert Noble. The Solar Tree design was first used at the Solar Grove in Kearny Mesa and now at UCSD. The concept uses biomimicry by developing a solar racking system that also provides additional benefits to the surrounding area. The solar tree system allows for easy installation of an outlet for electric vehicle charging. Other, traditional, pole-mounted systems are similar, but not really geared to shade the area underneath them.The Solar Trees will each generate 17,000 hours of solar electricity each year, enough to power four homes. Plus provide shade and cooling benefits to student vehicles, as well as, begin infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. The Kyocera panels are being installed by Envision Solar, Inc.
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