SHEFFIELD, England—The first commercial prototype of a solar tree is being developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). SolarBotanic Trees Ltd. is working with the AMRC to develop a field prototype of its integrated, scalable and sustainable power generation system.

The trees are designed for aesthetically sensitive locations and feature a dome made up of nano photovoltaic ‘leaves.’ The company claims they can harness enough solar energy to charge electric vehicles in parking lots. The trees use 3D leaf-shaped nano technology to harness solar energy for charging and energy storage. 

“We are delighted to be working…on the development of [the] energy-generating solar tree,” says John Spencer, senior project manager at AMRC. “[It’s] a great product which will play an important role in developing the infrastructure necessary to support the shift to zero-emission electric vehicles.”

“The AMRC will provide design and prototyping support to advance the product through a rapid development cycle, enabling the company to launch the first solar tree, fulfil pre-orders and gain traction in the EV charging market,” adds Chris Shelley, CEO of SolarBotanic Trees. “The team at the AMRC…will enable us to rapidly move to commercial production in the near future, starting with our launch order for 200 trees for an EV charging service provider.”