India is working hard towards becoming a global leader in harnessing the solar energy. At end of June this year, the country’s solar installed capacity was at 35, 122 MW. In order to further promote the use of solar energy, the CSIR’s Central Mechanical Engineering Institute has created the world’s largest solar tree. It has been installed at the CSIR-CMERI residential complex in Durgapur, West Bengal.
Solar tree is a structure that integrates solar energy on a single pillar just like a tree trunk. It functions as a power generator and a solar artwork as well. The solar tree at Durgapur is designed in such a way that each photovoltaic panel gets maximum sunlight and the shadow area beneath is least as well. The solar tree has a capacity of more than 11.5kWp and can generate 12,000-14,000 units of clean energy. The world’s largest solar tree has a total of 35 solar panels with a capacity of 330wp each.
The branches holding the solar panels are flexible and can be adjusted for maximum exposure to the sun. Also, the energy generated can be monitored daily and real-time as well. This type of solar tree can be used in agricultural activities such as high capacity pumps, e-tractors and e-power tillers. Besides that, these solar trees can work with IOT based features as well such as wind speed, rainfall prediction, soil analytics sensors and CCTV surveillance in agricultural fields.
Installations like the world’s largest solar tree can save around 10-12 tons of CO2 emissions as compared to fossil fuel. Furthermore, the extra energy produced can be fed into a power grid. This type of solar tree can cost around INR 7.5 lakhs ($10,200 USD). Interested MSMEs can align their business model with the PM KUSUM scheme for farmers for developing a renewable energy-based grid.