'Solar tree' to replace real tree in Bristol city centre

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Solar tree planned for Millennium Square, BristolImage source, XXXX
Image caption,
The solar tree is due to be planted amongst shrubbery in Millennium Square as part of Bristol Green Capital 2015

A 4m (13ft) tall "solar tree" is set to be installed in the centre of Bristol.

The steel tree, covered in 36 solar panel "leaves", will replace a real tree due to be removed due to old age in Millennium Square.

Embedded with solar-powered phone charging points, the "wind blown" sculpture will also offer free wi-fi.

Dan Quiggin, from Demand Energy Equality which came up with the idea, said the "large spectacular object" was to increase awareness of energy issues.

The solar tree is due to be planted amongst the square's shrubbery as part of Bristol Green Capital 2015.

"It's the size of a large garden tree, so it's pretty big," said Mr Quiggin.

"It's artistic and slightly wind blown and it's going to power mobile phone charging points so people can sit around the tree and charge their phones and log onto some free wi-fi."

'Panels mimic leaves'

Designed by local sculptor and artist John Packer, the tree's 36 solar PV panels have been handmade by people recovering from addiction at the Bristol Drugs Project.

"The solar panels mimic the process of leaves to collect and transform solar energy throughout the day but do not intend to imitate them in form," said Mr Packer, in his design statement.

"So it is playfully incongruous next to the trees in adjacent planters."

The solar tree sculpture will be installed next March, subject to planning consent.

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