SDSU engineering students debut solar-powered holiday tree in Santee with the help of SDG&E


For the fifth semester, SDG&E has sponsored and mentored 10 of San Diego State University’s undergraduate electrical and computer engineering students by providing guidance on senior design projects including this semester’s project: “Light the Island” at Santee Lakes. This is the first year the students took their work from the lab into the community. The final project, designed by the students, is a holiday light display powered by solar and battery energy and is programmed to music which is broadcasted on 88.1FM.

Making engineering fun
The team of SDSU engineering students created a 35-foot
holiday tree made of aluminum and steel, with 81 strands of
energy efficient LED lights. The system powering the display
is made up of two solar panels and four deep cycle batteries,
which creates a small micro-grid on the island and is
self-sustained. Based on the charge levels of the batteries,
and forecasting of future sun availability to recharge further,
the system is designed to automatically choose a lighting
sequence that will not drain the batteries.

In addition, there are large white twinkling LED lights that can be
controlled via the web. By either scanning the code below or
visiting the team website and clicking on the user interaction link,
a visitor can choose a light pattern to be displayed on the tree.

Visit the project in Santee
The lighting display is active every evening from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. throughout the month of December, assuming there has been enough sunshine to at least partially charge the batteries.

Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve
9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee (Lake 1 Gazebo)

Google map
Santee welcomes the project during holiday celebration
On Dec. 8, the Santee Lakes Foundation hosted the first annual Holiday Lighting Celebration where they lit up and debuted SDSU’s design project, the largest Christmas Tree in Santee.

Click here to learn more about the team of SDSU students.

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