April 22, Earth Day, 2008
Triefeldt says he was approached by Angela Ping-Ong, a math and science teacher from N. Hillsborough Elementary School, who told him she wanted to include the principles of kinetic sculpture in her curriculum. The ensuing project has drawn her students into all aspects of the creative process, while giving them an understanding of basic concepts of solar energy and a vision of a sustainable energy future. Since January the group visited, via a series of weekly lunchtime internet videoconference, (iChat’s) on classroom’s state of the art grid connected smart boards.
North Hillsborough Elementary School’s Enrichment Program and The Bridge School invited pioneering solar kinetic sculptor Rein Triefeldt to visit, lecture and construct a solar tree maquette, with members of the Solar Tree club on Earth Day 2008. The resulting project has never been done anywhere in the world, a 25’ grid connected, energy producing Solar Tree.
The students became so inspired by the Solar Tree Project that they formed the Solar Tree Club to help raise money to fund the project. They have made posters and designed T-shirts. The student group seeks to bring beauty as well as solar electricity to public spaces by integrating science, nature, technology, education and art on their campus.
During Earth Week, Triefeldt visited every class at N. Hillsborough, K thru grades 5, with a special visit to the students of The Bridge School, Neil Young’s educational and research institute for the specially-abled which shares the Hillsborough campus. Rein Triefeldt shared his experiences as an artist, solar sculptor .....The Quark Park, “Stellarator” Project now at Princeton University, a favorite with the students.
Joining the Solar Tree Project is Albert Urrutia of Santos & Urrutia Structural engineers of San Francisco and Applied PV of Hopewell, NJ to engineer a grid connected power-supplying Solar Tree sculpture. Triefeldt and the founders of Applied PV, Jeff Szczepanski and Rob Lyndall, already have teamed on several projects, including the Solar Butterfly, The Orbiter, and the Stellarator.
The Solar Tree Project combines Triefeldt's cutting edge art, with the teaching experience of Ms. Angela Ping and Lyndall, Szczepanski and Urrutia’s know-how with the enthusiasm of a class of schoolchildren in the San Francisco Bay area.
Organizations in Miami Beach, Mexico, and as far away as China are considering pursuing similar Solar Tree projects with Triefeldt for their communities. The goal in each case is to build a one-of-a-kind, life-size Solar Tree, hand-made with advanced materials and technology. Triefeldt says the first Solar Tree is being modeled after a California Oak and may be as tall as 40 feet.
The kinetic sculptures of Rein Triefeldt, believed to have been the first
artist to use solar panels to put his works into motion, have been exhibited worldwide.
In the future, Triefeldt hopes to establish an international forum at
www.solartree.org, where one can go to exchange concepts, dreams and Solar Tree experiences.
If you are interested in supporting The Solar Tree Project or having a
“solar tree” in your community, please contact: Rein Triefeldt at
firstname.lastname@example.org and you can view his work at: http://www.trefeldt.com
This tree will help living trees by reducing acid rain!
Solar Tree Stats, for Hillsborough, CA
To calculate the energy output of the Solar Tree using 200 watt panels
- Watts = Power
- Energy = Power x Time
California has approximately 5 to 5.5 peak sun hours per day.
200 watts x 5 peak sun hours = approx 1000 watt hours per day
(please note the following running the system with batteries you will need to subtract 35% of that total, running it w/out batteries you will need to subtract 20%)
Now if you take that figure and multiply it by the number of panels you are using in the system you will have your total energy output for the entire system for the day.
- 1000 watt hr x 20 panels = 20,000 watt hours per day
If you would like to find out how many items you can run off of that system per day you will need to know the watt hour it would take to run that item.
Example: You have a clock that runs at 2 watt hours your equation would look like this - 20,000 watt hours per day / 2 = 10,000 clocks can be run from your system in one day.
and... if grid connected, it will displace:
- Close to 5000 lbs of carbon dioxide, CO2 a year
- Over 8 lbs. sulphur dioxide, SO2 a year
- Three pounds of nitrous oxide, N02 a year
- size: 30’ x 26’ x 24’
- material: stainless steel
- weight: 10,000 lbs.
Solar Trees saving real trees.... That's just too cool!