A stand alone or grid interactive hybrid solar array/wind generator constructed to have the appearance of a palm tree. Electrisitree generates electricity using either wind or solar power, while not diminishing the appearance of or interfering with the structure or replacement of an existing roof. Electrisitrees hybrid wind feature has a solution for the main challenges with solar power, nighttime.
A new solar panel that’s truly green
|Growing green: Greg Strang displays his prototype “Electrisitree,” a solar power device disguised as a tree that generates electricity for homes. (Juan Carlos Pometta Betancourt/Special to The Examiner)|
A Burlingame entrepreneur who thought rooftop solar panels were unsightly has come up with a green idea that he hopes takes root: a palm tree that absorbs solar energy.
Greg Strang, a real estate agent, said he was traveling home from New York City four years ago when the topic of solar energy came up with another passenger.
The growing popularity of solar panels — which capture renewable energy generated from the sun — should lead to new forms of solar panels that are more attractive than the common gray, flat panels seen on top of buildings, Strang said.
His resulting invention, the Electrisitree, is the answer to that problem, he said.
The fronds on the artificial palm tree, when put outside, would absorb light just like solar panels, said Strang.
“They’re more aesthetically pleasing,” Strang said of the product.
Eventually, Strang said, he plans to develop a version of the Electrisitree that would have spinning branches, so the machine would also function as a turbine, to capture wind power.
Strang estimates one eight-foot tall tree would cost homeowners roughly $15,000 to install.
One tree generates roughly 800 watts of power, according to Strang. It would take eight to power a 1,200-square-foot home, Strang said.
Strang said the idea is the answer to a former ordinance in the town of Hillsborough in 2005. The ordinance, which has since been lifted, prohibited solar panels because of their look.
The concept comes at a time when cities throughout San Mateo County are encouraging solar energy and green building construction.
Casey Martin, administrator with Sustainable San Mateo County, said interest in solar is growing throughout residential communities. Its popularity could eventually create alternatives in looks in design compared to the current panels.
“There are so many technologies out there,” he said. “Potentially somewhere down the road something could be adopted on wide scale.”
The solar industry defines the term “stand alone” as produces, stores and supplies all the energy needs of a “load”, such as a residence, without being connected to the grid. Electrisitree is a stand alone power generating plant that actually “stands alone”. Additionally, Electrisitree will not diminish the appearance or interfere with the structure or replacement of an existing roof, while looking good in the process.
Moduleaves of each Electrisitree contains enough solar cells to produce 600 Watts of power. The 12 volt gel batteries are engineered to be extremely low maintenance and have a storage capacity of 34 Ah (amp hours). Electrisitree could accommodate battery banks with a storage capacity of over 300 Ah.
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