Princeton Arts Council 2010

In fall of 2010, Solar Tree Foundation is pleased to partner with the Arts Council of Princeton and John Witherspoon Middle School on the Solar Tree Project. This is an exciting way to introduce environmental education to the next generation, building from our past experience in California.

To donate to the Solar Tree Project follow this link to the Arts Council of  Princeton and select the Solar Tree Project from the scroll down menu.

Or, mail donations to:
Solar Tree Project
Jeff Nathanson
Executive Director
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542

For more information, contact the:

Solar Tree Foundation

The Solar Dream founded over the internet in 2008


North Hillsborough Elementary School’s Enrichment Program and The Bridge School invited pioneering solar kinetic sculptor Rein Triefeldt to visit, lecture and construct a solar tree maquette, with members of the Solar Tree Club on Earth Day 2008.
The resulting project has never been done anywhere in the world — a 25’ grid connected, energy producing Solar Tree.

Triefeldt says he was approached by Angela Ping-Ong, a math and science teacher from N. Hillsborough Elementary School, who told him she wanted to include the principles of kinetic sculpture in her curriculum. The ensuing project has drawn her students into all aspects of the creative process while giving them an understanding of basic concepts of solar energy and a vision of a sustainable energy future.
Since January, the children and Rein visited, via a series of weekly lunchtime Internet videoconferences (iChat’s), on the classroom’s state of the art internet connected smart boards.

The students became so inspired by the Solar Tree Project that they formed the Solar Tree Club to help raise money to fund the project.  They have made posters and designed T-shirts. The student group seeks to bring beauty as well as solar electricity to public spaces by integrating science, nature, technology, education and art on their campus.

During Earth Week, Triefeldt visited every class at N. Hillsborough, K thru grades 5, with a special visit to the students of The Bridge School, Neil Young’s educational and research institute for the specially-abled that shares the Hillsborough campus. Rein Triefeldt shared with the students his experiences as an artist and solar sculptor. His Quark Park “Stellarator” project, at Princeton University, became a favorite with the students.

Joining the Solar Tree Project is Albert Urrutia of Santos & Urrutia Structural Engineers of San Francisco and Applied PV of Hopewell, NJ to engineer a grid connected power-producing Solar Tree sculpture. Triefeldt and the founders of Applied PV, Jeff Szczepanski and Rob Lyndall, already have teamed up on several projects, including the “Solar Butterfly,” “The Orbiter” and the “Stellarator.”

The Solar Tree Project combines Triefeldt's cutting edge art and Applied PV’s and Santos & Urrutia’s know-how with Angela Ping-Ong’s teaching experience and a class of enthusiastic schoolchildren in the San Francisco Bay area.

Organizations in Burlingame, CA, Miami Beach, FL, Mexico and as far away as China are pursuing similar Solar Tree projects with Triefeldt for their communities. The goal in each case is to build a one-of-a-kind, monumental Solar Tree, hand-made with advanced materials and technology. Triefeldt says the first Solar Tree is being modeled after a California Oak and may be as tall as 40 feet.

The kinetic sculptures of Rein Triefeldt, believed to have been the first artist to use solar panels to put his works into motion, have been exhibited worldwide.

In the future, Triefeldt hopes to establish an international forum at, where one could go to exchange concepts, dreams and Solar Tree experiences.

If you are interested in supporting The Solar Tree Project or having a solar tree in your community, please contact: Rein Triefeldt at and you can view his work at

This Solar Tree will help living trees by reducing acid rain!l

Calculate the energy output of the Solar Tree using 200 watt panels
Watts = Power
Energy = Power x Time
California has approximately 5 to 5.5 peak sun hours per day.

200 watts x 5 peak sun hours = 1,000 watt hours per day (note that if storing Solar Tree energy in batteries, you will need to subtract 35% of that total, running it w/out batteries, grid-connected, you will need to subtract 20%).

Multiply that total by the number of panels you are using in the Solar Tree you will have your total energy output for the entire system for a day.

1,000 watt hours x 20 panels = 20,000 watt hours per day (20 kWh).

Example: For a clock radio alarm clock that operates at 2 watt hours, your equation would look like this - 20,000 watt hours per day / 2 = 10,000 clocks can be run from your Solar Tree in a day.
For a full year, multiply by 365 and the Solar Tree would produce about 7,300 kWh annually.

What can be done with 7,300 kWh of energy?

•        Re-charge 2,500 iPhone’s and iPod’s every day for a year
•        Run 100 Xbox 360’s for two hours a day
•        Power the average American home for 8 months or a European for 16 months

If you would like to find out how many items you can run off a Solar Tree per day you will need to know the watt hours it would take to run that item.
If grid connected, the Solar Tree will annually displace:

•        10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas
•        18 pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which produces acid rain
•        5 pounds of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which also produces acid rain

N. Hillsborough Elementary Solar Tree

•        size: 30’ x 26’ x 24’
•        material: stainless steel
•        weight: 10,000 lbs.         

Solar Trees saving real trees — that's just too cool!

  Bay Area
Earth Day '08
Solar Tree
v. 1
Rein working
in studio
Solar Tree
v. 1
  Bay Area
Earth Day '08
  Bay Area
Earth Day '08
Rob & Jeff
at APV
  Bay Area
Earth Day '08
in Solar