These Solar Canopies Supply Shade & Electricity, as Well as Catch and Filter Rainwater

Screen capture. ThinkPhi

A pair of Indian entrepreneurs has developed what they claim is "the most advanced integrated plug and play system" for shade, water, and energy.

Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company's model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.

The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it. The largest of the models, the 1080XL, has a canopy measuring 20 meters by 20 meters and is said to be capable of producing a peak of 45kW while also collecting and filtering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year, depending on local rainfall amounts.

The company's product, while uniquely suited to regions like India that have high solar exposure and seasonal monsoon rains, could be put to work for a number of different applications, ranging from carports to bus and train stops to outdoor seating for businesses. The smaller units appear to only have enough solar capacity to run the LED lighting, with shade and rainwater catchment being the primary benefits of the devices, but the tops of the higher capacity units look to be virtually covered in solar panels, which would generate electricity that could be stored for later use.

According to the Economic Times of India, ThinkPhi founder Samit Choksi says that the large model can "filter over 1 million litre of rainwater" and "can supply energy for large infrastructure projects." One of the company's suggested uses is for electric car charging, although no specific data was given about the efficacy of solar charging or the recommended model size for that end use.

ThinkPhi says it has sold some 200 units already, and expects to sell several hundred units by the end of the year. Prices for the units start at about US$1500 for the smallest model, and all models come with a 15-year warranty.