Solar Trees
Credit: Demand Energy Equality

The pitch: Solar panels are nifty and eco-conscious, but usually laid out in flat, boring arrays. Why not blow a few minds by building a sci-fi-looking solar tree while powering irrigation for a community nursery?

The goods: Along with building an impressive piece of public art and powering the irrigation system at Edible Futures, Demand Energy Equality is testing research into whether setting up solar-panel surfaces at different angles at higher altitudes – like leaves – works better than setting up a flat line of optimal-angle panels. Funders are basically financing an experiment and an educational effort.

The result: The solar tree raised slightly more than its £5,000 target on British Kickstarter lookalike PeopleFund.It and is being built. Meanwhile, more workshop and community projects are under way.