Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Aug 10

Solar Forest Cools and Charges Electric Cars

Posted in Electric Cars | Energy Inventions | Solar Power | Transportation

Solar Forest Imagine a parking lot that keeps your car cool and charges it while you do whatever you need to do after parking your car. That’s what the new solar forest designed by designer Neville Mars aims to achieve. Electric-powered automobiles are a great way of reducing pollution levels but the main hurdle in the way of them becoming mainstream vehicles is long duration of time they need to recharge. Even to cover small distance you need to recharge your vehicle for hours. One solution is to speed up the recharging process, and another is recharging the cars while they stand unused, like in a parking lot.

Sometimes vehicles are left in the parking place for hours while people take care of their chores or work in their offices. This is the perfect time to charge the vehicles. The trees of the solar forest are made of photovoltaic leaves mounted upon poles that are like giant power strips for electric vehicles. You can simply plug in your vehicle to charge it. To increase efficiency the solar panels adjust themselves according to the position of the sun. The vehicles also remain cool under their shade.

Just like any other new innovation there are naysayers for this project too, like, there is not going to be enough sun for every tree, or it is going to be very costly to build such panels, and, it will be very difficult to take your vehicles in (as it happens in the natural forest) and then take them out, but the basic idea is the thought that goes into such projects. We are sure to find new solutions as more and more people pitch in instead of just pointing at things that cannot be achieved.

  • Jos Conil

    This is a wonderful idea, which needs to be refined more.Parking lots are one area where such recharging can be done.But there are a lot of limitations for that – the space, cost, visual & spatial invasiveness of the “forest” etc.

    Another good alternative is to give the “forest” at the rooftops of residential aparments, which stores daytime solar electricity to charge the cars parked in the stilt or basement at night.

  • EricG

    Sorry, this doesn’t work. In an attempt to look nice the designer has arranged the panels in such a way that they will shade each other, wasting solar resource. What’s wrong with simply putting a flat solar roof over the cars? This would create a system that is less expensive and produces more energy.

  • Mark

    Seems like a good Idea, should be able to operate all year round in places like Calif. and Hawaii, also other ares in southern hemisphere. There will always be naysayers and C.A.V.E. people. For those not in the know Citizens Against Virtually Everything.

  • Roger

    Clearly this is a sensible approach to using open spaces that are otherwise doing nothing useful.

    There are other factors at work here too. Will the energy produced justify the cost in the long run? Also, the panels will absorb some of the heat hitting the ground in these black covered car parks. I wonder what that will do to the local weather?

  • Genergize

    That is a fantastic idea! I don’t know how practical it will be but it does go to show that solar panels can both be put almost anywhere, and can be used for more than just energy. thanks

  • Boneheaded1

    Good idea but should be flat roofs for better efficiency and lower cost. Speaking of lower cost, have a meter that charges the people plugged per Kw, this will help reduce the cost of the structure/system over the long run.

  • http://www.yesonsolar.com fireofenergy

    Wouldn’t be easier just to install (non tree like) solar panels above the parking lot? The ease and lower costs of mass produced panels should far outweigh the extra efficiency of the sun tracking tree like ones. They may be easier to clean too.

  • Wzass

    It’s a fantastic way to harvest solar nrg in an aesthetically pleasing way from vast concrete wastelands that are such an eye sore in the US! (Most of you miss that the aesthetics was the driving principle behind the design.)

    The concrete parking lots soak-up vast amounts of heat during the day (released in the evening) only to make the surroundings a lot hotter than they could be! Haven’t you all not noticed the difference between a grass, or even a dirt parking lot and a concrete one – they are considerably cooler in the middle of the day!

    What is it will all – you can’t spend just a little bit more on how it will look to make it a more attractive and relaxing environment for all! When will this country learn from the Europeans and Japanese when it comes to public space design!!!!

  • Cody

    Creative thinking, but it can’t work due to shading. When half a solar cell gets shaded on a solar panel the entire panel drops to half load power. Therefor the overlapping panels that look “so pretty” wont produce efficiently.

    This is just a cheating way to sell a half-neat idea, that will in the end look like a parking garage. Sounds a lot like the Volt concept to reality. GM Never would have gotten the OK to build if the public had known what the final product would be. A 40,000 Cobalt.

    I don’t understand why they cant be honest about products.

  • Daniel Lovas

    I agree here, the idea is good, but not so new and the problem is the “sculptor” approach by the designer – putting the aesthetics before the function. In a good design, form has always to follow the function.

    1. there’s no reason for irregular “trunks”, a straight poles approach would be more efficient.

    2. the solar panels are over-shading each other, that makes no sense and is unacceptable inefficiency, since the panels are not exactly cheap.

    3. instead of the motors to keep the panels turned towards the sun a passive system of focusing prisms could be used, one over each panel. Or, in order to cut down the price, a larger area of focusing mirrors could be used, to focus the sunlight to a smaller surface of photovoltaic panels.

    4. everything could be made aesthetically pleasing as well – without the need to look like real trees.

  • Carlsongs

    I like the idea. I really dont think penny pinching Walmart would put them in thier parking lots.

  • Carlsongs

    I like the idea. I really dont think penny pinching Walmart would put them in thier parking lots.


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