Hurricanes, Super storms and mother nature
Take a world map and some highlighters and go to town marking all the areas with the potential for some really nasty weather and you end up with a very colorful map - like a 6 year old had a fun time with it. Now consider that these colorful areas are in for a world of hurt as climate change gets worse and lets not forget the fact that solar energy has poor penetration in many of these areas precisely because of the harshness of the weather and the fragility of classic solar installations. Then the light bulb goes off. It becomes fairly obvious that if we're to extricate ourselves from this mess called anthropogenic climate change, we're going to need renewable energy that can survive in places where you traditionally don't find it: on that colored line that goes right through your house.
Red is heavy snow, ice and wind. Blue is heavy rain, hurricanes, high winds and tornadoes. Yellow are extreme heat desert areas. Each presents a problem for classic solar installations but not for Soulr's tree.
My Dad outside my sister's house after the hurricane.
A casual accounting of the news is proof of the increasing frequency of man-made and weather related disasters. One of the hard questions in such circumstances is: How to get life saving power to hospitals, senior centers and the vulnerable/disadvantaged when they're surrounded by water, destruction and maybe even a war zone? If it is weather related there is more than a good chance the generators are underwater or perhaps they've long since run out of fuel and are unable to get more because of downed power lines and trees. Man made disasters on the other hand don't necessarily happen near the grid or have any infrastructure at all. In these conditions, a rugged, compact solar renewable energy robot, airlifted to the top of the building, neighborhood or refugee camp could supply emergency power and help save lives.
Expect more hurricane destruction.
Ugly Duckling & Aesthetics
Atma Syrian refugee camp
We've got nothing against ducks (in fact we love them) but lets face it, a lot of people think solar is ugly. It may be that the panels just don't look right on the roof or that pole mount...well, it looks naked out there in the yard. Many Home Owner Associations don't like them either and you don't want to run a-fowl of those folks. Perhaps it's always been that the mounting and integration into existing architecture has taken a back seat to efficiency and technological innovation because in many cases mounting and presentation look like an after-thought which is why we designed our tree with aesthetics in mind. The lines are clean. There are no jagged or bulbous protrusions or conflicting angles to torment the eye. Additionally, we designed the structure to accept facades: user managed coverings that match your home or environment. For example: the military might choose camouflage. A cedar sided house might use faux wood metal facades painted or stained to match the house. Bauhaus and modern design enthusiasts can appreciate and accentuate the clean and functional lines with stainless steel. The sky is the limit here: modern art or impressionistic facades for public spaces or advertising facades for business; "Charge your car here while you shop". If renewable energy is to make a serious dent in our energy mix, then it has to blend in and integrate with our lives, communities and society. (The prototype shown on the homepage is 'steampunk').
Bauhaus Archive in Berlin - Aesthetics and function designed into products - not as an afterthought.
Tilt testing of the solar robot. Style: Steampunk Corten facade. 2.1 kw Off-grid system.
Africa and the developing world
A few years back, while traveling the back-roads of Africa on my trusty motorcycle, I realized my robot could really help electrify the continent. It's rugged nature, rapid deployment capability, ease of transport, setup and use would be ideal for a continent with limited grid penetration.
Petrol station near Binga Zimbabwe.
And while on safari, I realized many of these camps deep in the bush run on loud, polluting ICE (internal combustion engine) generators that have to be fueled with petrol that has to be trucked in by lorry. This is hardly in keeping with the green ethos of wildlife conservation/tourism. Petrol in general is not a resource Africa should countenance simply because petrol is expensive and the sun is free.
Ranger station in Mana Pools Zimbabwe. Right panel is a notice at said ranger station. ICE generators are omnipresent in Africa.
Refueling from 50 gallon drums and plastic jugs in Zambia.