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‘World’s largest solar tree’

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    7th Sep, 2020

Scientists at the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in West Bengal have installed a ‘solar tree’ that is likely to be the largest of its kind in the world.


Scientists at the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) in West Bengal have installed a ‘solar tree’ that is likely to be the largest of its kind in the world.


What is solar tree?

  • A solar tree is a metal structure resembling a tree that has solar panels fitted on the branches.
  • The solar panels connected through metal branches produces solar power.
  • The working of a solar tree is much like that of a real one—leaf-like solar panels connected through metal branches using sunlight to make energy.
  • The Solar tree panels charge batteries during the day. At dusk, the tree automatically switches on LED lights. It is programmed to regulate the amount of light it produces.
  • Solar trees are flexible and rotate to face the sun and produce maximum possible amount of energy using a technique called “spiralling phyllataxy”. 
  • Main body: Main body of solar tree is a simple hollow tube closed at one end to enable the attachment of the upper, smaller rod which should carry the upper panel.
    • This panel is placed high above the other panels at a vertical angle.
    • The angle provides a constant area for the sunlight regardless of the sun trajectory during the day.
    • The height at where it is placed enables a greater panel area which will not cover the lower placed panels.

Key-details of CMERI solar tree

  • This is the largest solar tree as per our knowledge producing up to 11,500 watts (11.5kw).
    • The second largest tree has been set up in London and produces around 8.6kw.
  • The CMERI solar tree has 35 panels each with a capacity of 330 watts.
  • The solar tree has capabilities to adapt a bevy of Internet of Things (IoT)-based features, such as
    • round-the-clock CCTV surveillance in agricultural fields
    • real-time humidity, wind speed, rainfall prediction
    • soil analytics sensors


  • For developing a renewable energy-based grid, interested micro, small, and medium enterprises can align their business models with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) program for farmers.
    • The KUSUM program is expected to help Indian farmers by providing them financial and water security through the mobilization of solar projects and solar-powered water pumps.
    • The program has been divided into three components and aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022.
  • The solar tree can also be connected to CSIR-CMERI’s solar-powered e-suvidha kiosks for real-time access to the massive agricultural database, as well as to the eNAM (National Agricultural Marketplace) for instant and real-time access to a unified online market.

Significance of the initiative

  • Cutting CO2: Producing around 12,000–14,000 units of clean and green power in a year, the solar tree has the potential to save 10–12 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere every year.
  • Energy reliant and carbon negative India: This solar tree is a quantum leap towards making an energy reliant and carbon negative India.
  • Widespread usage: The CSIR-CMERI developed solar tree, besides being the world’s largest solar tree, also has certain customizable features for application at diverse sites. The solar trees were designed in a manner to ensure minimum shadow area, potentially making these solar trees available for widespread usage in agricultural activities such as high capacity pumps, e-tractors, and e-power tillers.

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