There are plenty of real trees in Ramat HaNadiv. Oaks, pine and willow line the trails that circle through this nature park near Mount Carmel in northern Israel.
And planted in the gravel at the edge of one clearing is a new species, the solar powered tree.
Biologically speaking, of course, all trees are powered by the sun. But this is different.
Its brown metal trunk and branches reach high toward the sky, like the acacia tree this model is named after. Its seven broad “leaves” are standard solar panels. They shade benches below, as well as power electric and USB outlets, chill drinking fountain water and supply energy for wi-fi.
Inventor Michael Lasry says it’s a new way of bringing solar power to people.
“We’re used to seeing big companies working on large scale systems,” he says. “Now we see solar energy becoming accessible to each one of us on the street.”