A solar tree with giant square leaves that convert sunlight into electricity was unveiled in the central French town of Nevers on Monday, allowing passers-by to charge their phones, surf the internet or just enjoy the shade.

The town of 37,000 on the Loire river is the first in Europe to experiment with the technology developed by Sol-logic.

Inspired by the acacia tree found in the desert and African savanna, the futuristic-looking “eTree” also supplies water and street lighting.

 

he first prototype was unveiled in 2014. A year later the first operational model was presented at the COP 21 climate conference in Paris.

Since then solar trees have been “planted” in around 10 cities outside Europe.