New Delhi’s Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI) have designed and installed tree-like solar panels that can be produce enough energy for five houses, or around five kilowatts, taking up just four square-feet of land. This is in stark contrast to conventional solar photovoltaic panels which would need to be laid out on 400 square-feet produce the same amount of energy.

To achieve maximum energy with minimal space, solar cells were installed on a vertical pole, imitating tree branches and allowing for maximum exposure to the sun, which permits them to harness between 10% and 15% more power. The panels also have water sprinklers installed on them allowing them to be self-cleaning.

“In future, it is possible to harness 10% more power by rotating panel direction twice in a day by using a module that aligns itself with the movement of sun. Also, aesthetic aspects would be incorporated in the design of solar tree to landscape the land,” the CSIR-CMERI says in an official statement.

“CSIR-CMERI has designed and developed a “Solar Power Tree” to harness maximum solar energy utilizing minimum land – In general, it requires about 3.5 acres of land to produce 1 MW of solar power,” the CSIR-CMERI  adds. “For any state in the country to survive on green energy there will be requirement of thousands of acres of land. The acquisition of land is a major issue for private sector industry.”

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Harsh Vardhan said that the “Solar Power Tree addresses the biggest hurdle of land requirements to gainfully utilize solar power.”