Just under a fortnight ago we finally launched our Energy Tree - the product of 3 years of work, including the pilot Solar Tree in 2012 - in Millennium Square, central Bristol.
The Energy Tree is a public art installation and renewable power source designed to engage the public in energy issues; a project led by our good selves and made possible by partners John Packer (local artist, designer and fabricator of the sculpture), the Bristol Drugs Project (funder and creators of the Tree's solar PV 'leaves') and At-Bristol (hosts and public engagement partners).
The Tree's 36 solar PV panels were built, from 'rescued' solar 'cells' discarded in production, in workshops run by us with Bristolians recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. You can hear them explain more about that, and why it makes so much sense, in the short film below.
Now installed, the Tree provides power for free public phone-charging and a Wifi hotspot (though you'll be put through our Energy Quiz first to get online!). Not bad eh?
There were many aims of the project: build something functional and beautiful that engages the public in energy in an extremely uncertain time; work with people combatting drug & alcohol use and demonstrate the power of building collectively; celebrate the community energy movement; present a positive vision of possible energy futures - and of course reach people with our message of the need to reduce our energy demand as a society.
On the day the sun came out (as planned) without a cloud in the sky - and over a hundred people turned up to see speeches from At-Bristol, John Packer, Bristol Drugs Project, George Ferguson (Bristol's Mayor) and ourselves - and watch the premier of the Energy Tree film featured above on the square's massive screen.
You can see pictures from a cracking evening below, and check out the reaction to the Energy Tree then, and since, from social media here (yes, that is '#selftree'!).
Thanks to all those involved right from the start - and if you find yourself in Bristol, you know where to head first!
Find out more about the Energy Tree here.