Solar Trees, San Diego, CA

Solar trees as you can see above and below, are decorative ways of producing solar energy. The idea was first put into practice in Austria, a few years ago. In Europe, they are usually used for street light. They are able to provide enough light during the night-time even when the sun did not show for as much as four days in a row.

In San Diego, California, Envision Solar, a developer of solar integrated building systems, is planting Solar Trees in parking lots.

The project incorporates complete sustainable design elements and integrates architectural form with renewable energy’s functionality to increase property value, produce electricity and offset carbon emissions.

Solar Trees - NREL

Not only that they use the sun to produce energy, but they also shade cars, displace unwanted rain run-off, and even have a place to plug in electric vehicles. A solar parking lot is also being tested as a prototype at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The facility uses its solar for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

The company presented its innovative projects at the 1st Sustainable Infrastructure Financing Summit, Global Energy Basel (11-12 January, 2011), where representatives of 40 of the world’s cities have met to help their municipalities find investors – also attending – for sustainable infrastructure projects such as energy efficient buildings and transport and provision of renewable energy supplies.