by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA on 12.27.07
It wasn’t the first time we’d seen solar street lights (other examples can be seen here, here and here), but it was probably the most beautiful. When we first saw the solar tree concept by Welsh designer Ross Lovegrove we really were pretty taken aback. It is a gorgeous example of a marriage between form and function. However, often such concepts remain just that – concepts – so we were delighted to hear, via Renewable Energy Access, that the design has now undergone real-world testing on the streets of Vienna, with positive results:
"The solar cells on the tree were able to store enough electricity in spite of receiving no direct solar light for days at a time because of the clouds. They showed that solar trees really are a practical form of street lighting," Christina Werner from Cultural Project Management (Kulturelles Projektmanagement, Vienna) told enewableEnergyAccess.com. She said that the City of Vienna was now in the process of deciding whether to install more solar trees. "We hope that not only the city of Vienna but other cities will see the merits of using renewable energy for street lighting to cut emissions," Christina Werner said. "Someday soon solar trees could well be the main form of street lighting in Europe."