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Dell has just completed construction of a Solar Grove from Envision Solar that not only produces carbon-free energy for their corporate headquarters in Round Rock, Texas but can also provide power to parked plug-in vehicles. Connected to the eleven "trees" are two CleanCharge stations which utilize Coulomb Technologies ChargePoints to provide at least part of the answer to that frequent postulation, "Aren't electric cars just really burning coal?"

Capable of producing 131,000 kWh a year, the 110.62 kW array is composed of 516 individual solar panels that should shelter 56 cars from the sun. We can only imagine the positive impact if every large parking lot had similar capabilities. Envision is strategically partnered with Coulomb Technologies, battery maker Axion Power International and aluminum structure builder SAPA to produce the CleanCharge stations. Hit the jump for the official press release as well as a video explaining the concept and featuring the CEOs of the companies involved.


[Source: Envision Solar via Jetson Green]

CleanCharge by Envision Solar from Envision Solar on Vimeo.


PRESS RELEASE:

Envision Solar Completes New Solar Shaded Parking Structure at Dell Headquarters -- Solar Trees® Produce More than 130kW of Clean Solar Power

Envision Solar International, Inc., the leader in solar integrated building systems, announced today the completion of a solar shaded parking structure of Solar Trees® at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, TX. This configuration of Solar Trees®, called a Solar Grove®, is designed to produce more than 130kW of solar power, helping avoid 145,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Round Rock, TX (PRWEB) October 20, 2009 -- Envision Solar International, Inc., the leader in solar integrated building systems, announced today the completion of a solar shaded parking structure of Solar Trees® at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, TX. This configuration of Solar Trees®, called a Solar Grove®, is designed to produce more than 130kW of solar power, helping avoid 145,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Led by a group of visionary architects, builders and engineers, Envision Solar transforms heat-absorbing parking areas into beautiful, efficient solar power plants. McBride Electric, the general contractor of the project, chose Envision Solar as its partner because of the company's success and experience in designing and installing aesthetically superior Solar Integrated Building Systems (SIBS™).

The Solar Trees®, located in the Dell employee parking lot, will simultaneously shade 50 parking spaces and generate clean electricity directly from the sun. In an example of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, the solar arrays also incorporate two Envision Solar CleanCharge™ solar charging stations utilizing Coulomb ChargPoint™ for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). Photos can be viewed here.

"Dell's commitment to environmental sustainability is a beacon to organizations worldwide. We're proud our Solar Trees® and CleanCharge™ solar charging stations can help serve as visible symbols of their environmental stewardship. The future of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has arrived and our experience in solar innovation has allowed us to lead the market in the development of solar charging stations," said Robert Noble, CEO & Chairman of Envision Solar.
Envision Solar partnered with McBride Electric Inc., BP Solar and The Weitz Company to design and build the Solar Grove®.

Mr. Noble of Envision Solar explained how more corporations, governments and institutions are viewing sustainability as a significant factor in the way their businesses manage and compete saying, "Dell's Solar Grove®, with CleanCharge® solar charging stations, presents a bold symbol of their commitment to a clean, healthy environment and a sustainable future for their employees, their community, their customers and the world. They should be applauded for their leadership and example."

For more information on Envision Solar, visit www.envisionsolar.com.

Envision Solar International Inc.:
Envision Solar International, Inc has leveraged its core expertise in architecture, industrial design and structural technology innovation to build "solar you can see." The company is a solar project and technology developer providing turn-key design/build solutions for commercial, industrial, institutional and residential projects. Envision is a leader in Parking Lot Solar Arrays, and other solar installations which utilize public or residential space to positively impact the environment but are still pleasing to the eye and architecturally innovative. Envision has coined the term "Solar Integrated Building Systems" (SIBS™) to define the industry in which it operates. Envision also provides Sustainable Strategy and Sustainable Infrastructure Master Planning (SIMP™), which offers professional advisory and project management support in coordination and partnership with institutions, agencies and other parties participating in sustainability projects. Envision's mission is Solar Forestation and an end to energy poverty. Solar Tree®, Solar Grove®, CleanCharge™, SIBS™ and SIMP™ are trademarks of Envision Solar International, Inc. (http://envisionsolar.com/)

McBride Electric:
San Diego, California based McBride Electric, Inc., through its network of branch and affiliate offices, proudly provides value-based power, data and alternative energy solutions to commercial and industrial customers in all fifty states, the U.S. territories and Canada. McBride Electric's employees, always focused on our core values of "Safety", "Ethics" and "Quality", provide on-site, on-time, and on-budget projects producing exceptional value for our customers, employees and stakeholders. http://www.mcbrideelectric.com/

BP Solar:
BP Solar designs, manufactures and markets products which use the sun's energy to generate electricity for use in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With over 35 years of experience and installations in most countries, BP Solar is one of the world's leading solar companies. (bp.com)

The Weitz Company:
Founded in 1855, The Weitz Company is a national full-service general contractor, design-builder and construction manager with offices in 11 states and Guam. The company's expertise includes office, retail, residential condominiums, tenant interiors, resort properties, parking structures, industrial, healthcare, education, government and mixed-use facilities. More information about The Weitz Company is available at http://www.weitz.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm .... no word on how much they paid for this project. I wonder if it will ever actually pay for itself, or if Dell is just willing to take a loss in order to put a "green" feather in their cap. A traditional rooftop-style array would most certainly break even over time, but the solar tree structures undoubtedly change the economics somewhat. Not trying to be cynical .... just curious as to how the numbers break down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you are correct KK. They could have just done this one small act and kept quite about it.

        Not like their data centers aren't using a gabazillion watts per hour.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wouldn't be surprised if the publicity created by this news is enough to pay for (i.e. justify) the cost of the project. Imagine how much they'd have to spend on TV ads to get a comparable amount of attention.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They could sponsor it, or charge workers to recharge on it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We were the designers hired by McBride Electric for the Dell Solar Tree Grove project. (www.envisionsolar.com) We have installed have installed a number of Solar Trees and Solar Groves around the country. The advantages that come with Solar Trees include:

      Highly Visible Commitment to Sustainability: The Dell lot is located near the intersection of two major highways. These structures act as mwhite said, billboards for awareness in the renewable energy sectors for pioneering companies such as Dell and McBride. Wouldn’t it be great if all publicity/ads came with such significant environmental benefits!
      Additionally, the undersides of the structures do not conceal the way the solar modules are assembled and attached; an attempt at making the technology transparent, visible and straight-forward.

      Why Parking lots?: These structures also produce shade that is beneficial to the users of these lots. They also take advantage of the expansive spaces that parking lots offer. Parking lots are part of our current built environment; this is a way to make parking lots effective energy providers as well as architecturally interesting. Some large parking lots (i.e, malls, amusement parks, etc) are capable of providing over 5 Megawatts of power. If we scale this, the average home uses 1.5 kilowatts, just a tenth of these parking lots would provide 50 Megawatts or enough power for over 30,000 homes.

      EV and Solar: This is a great way to show the possibilities that come with mixing different types of clean technologies. Since many clean technologies are in their infancy, it is exciting to be able to showcase them, experiment with them, familiarize ourselves with them and see how they will evolve and respond as they become part of the mainstream infrastructure.

      We advocate deploying the most as much solar as possible! One can install both parking and rooftop solar in order to maximize on all the energy possible and the different types of benefits they each offer. It is a great time to install solar in order to create jobs and take advantage of the PV incentive programs springing up nationwide! Thanks to everyone who is commenting here. We appreciate all the input you are providing!

      • 5 Years Ago
      This is what Al Gore meant by sustainable capitalism. Where you make money from programs that pay for themselves in the long run but also have a positive effect on the environment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could plug in my Volt and get a shady spot as well! Not that I would be plugging my Volt in during the daytime very frequently, peak useage, higher priced electricity and all that... I just want the shady spot so my pack management system won't be forced to cool the batteries as much.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Come on you car company guys, Better Place, Dell and others are creating a market for you. When are you going to supply the cars? 2010 is late in the game; now! think ...NOW!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of course with this set up you would not have to worry about peak usage as much. Yes it would be good to send the energy from the parking lot to the grid during energy peaks demand but at least the grid is not negatively affected when using this parking lot. Pretty cool Dell, good job.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So in stead of using the electricity generated for the office climate control systems, Dell is claiming it makes sense to spend scarce resources on outrageously expensive car batteries? IT makes sense...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow you really hate EVs don't you. I think this is a great idea and I hope more companies take it up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I imagine it hasn't occurred to you that power that the panels are producing but isn't being used by cars (ie, the electrics that aren't in the parking lot yet, or in the future wouldn't be there at the moment) might actually get diverted to the grid eh? It has to go somewhere.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They would have helped the environment more by building a four story parking garage instead of a parking lot so they could chop down 75% fewer CO2 consuming trees.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Round Rock, Texas doesn't strike me as having a great deal of lush boreal forest to chop down, somehow...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dave, obviously you've never been to Texas. Large parking lots like that are pretty normal for office buildings that size. And probably very few trees needed to be cut down to build that office or the parking lot.

        Awesome job Dell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure Dell would have been happy to have built parking garages, and the employees would be happy too as cars get extremely hot sitting out there all day in the summer.

        Unfortunately, the city of Round Rock would not allow multi-story parking garages as part of the Dell complex when it was built. That is why you see the vast parking lots.

        And to GR's comment, that area wasn't exactly heavily forested to begin with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was the project manager on this project for Mcbride Electric (www.mcbrideinc.com) out of the Austin office. We were hired by Dell as the General Contractor and sub-contracted others to assist. The system is actually 100.62kW (516 panels at 195watts each). To answer a few commenst above:

      NO trees were cut or removed from the parking lot at all. We chose an open area of parking lot for this initial installation.

      The system ROI is actually seven (7) years when you take in consideration of the Oncor "Take A Load Off Texas" program incentives, the tax credits as well as the MACRS depreciation. I am unable to release the cost of the system.

      Actually, the rooftops are a more viable option for future expansion. This was trully a "billboard" for Dell's initial kick off of renewable energy. Though the covered parking by the employees is appreciated, greater number of panels can be instyalled on the roof tops.

      Energy produced from the PV panels ties into the building grid. No energy is wasted as it will be used anywhere it needs. We set up the charging stations to work at night as well. No employee will be charged to usae them.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Unfortunately right now most of that energy will be going to the grid as there are few EV's that will utilize this.

      My opinion is that Dell is saying, here is a place to run your car off of sunshine instead of gas. Here is fuel and you don't have to send all of that 700 billion dollars overseas to get to work. Here are jobs for Americans in updating the grid and manufacturing batteries and yes the batteries will become cheap if mass produced and I expect they would put out less pollution when being manufactured than a oil refinery.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't get how that's unfortunate. Electricity is generated from fuel and coal. The more clean energy the less global warming gasses and harsh chemicals needed to fuel the grid. It's a win whether EVs exist or not.

        Plus one thing people didn't mention is how it also functions as a shade. AC'ing the car after parking under the sun wastes gas, and having a big shade (wheter it be a solar panel or not) eliminates this AC use.
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