On September 6, London-based SolarBotanic Trees officially debuted their “solar tree” prototype. Excitingly, the company intends to use it to power electric vehicle charging stations first, as per Electrek.
The 5-kilowatt SolarBotanic energy tree uses thin-film solar cells and boasts what the manufacturer claims are the “world’s first” 3-D leaf-shaped photovoltaic nanotechnology.
Many institutions were involved in the development of this most recent technology. For instance, the SolarBotanic solar tree prototype will be tested at Sheffield University’s center.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, the Design and Prototyping Group at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and Brunel University London’s academic and innovation resources were all utilized in the development of SolarBotanic’s energy trees through Co-Innovate, a small-to-medium enterprise business support program based in London.
In order to input captured energy into an AI-driven energy storage and management system (EMS), the company developed solar trees. Impressively, the electricity will be controlled and released by that EMS. In essence, it is a solar and storage system in the form of a tree.
In early 2023, the first-generation solar trees from SolarBotanic Trees are expected to go on sale. Additionally, the business claims that once solar trees are mass-produced, they will be more affordable.
On its website, SolarBotanic outlines its funding approach: “A further funding round is planned in H1/2023 to fund the commercial production startup and scale to commercial volumes over the following 36 months. Discussions are ongoing with key supply chain partners covering manufacture, installation logistics, and in service support.”
Notably, the “rapid electric vehicle charging market for homes, businesses, and commercial car parks” will be the company’s initial target market. In addition, a local grid can be created out of the solar tree by linking it, or the solar tree can feed into the primary grid.
Having said that, solar trees might start sprouting up everywhere in a few years if SolarBotanic Trees successfully makes them affordable for commercial and residential use. Having a longer system warranty and outstanding aesthetics will also be significant for it to be popular in the EV world.