By Derek Markham | Treehugger
A pair of Indian entrepreneurs have developed what they claim is “the most advanced integrated plug and play system” for shade, water, and energy.
Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company’s model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.
The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it. The largest of the models, the 1080XL, has a canopy measuring 20 meters by 20 meters and is said to be capable of producing a peak of 45kW while also collecting and filtering hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year, depending on local rainfall amounts.
The company’s product, while uniquely suited to regions like India that have high solar exposure and seasonal monsoon rains, could be put to work for a number of different applications, ranging from carports to bus and train stops to outdoor seating for businesses. The smaller units appear to only have enough solar capacity to run the LED lighting, with shade and rainwater catchment being the primary benefits of the devices, but the tops of the higher capacity units look to be virtually covered in solar panels, which would generate electricity that could be stored for later use.