SmartFlower Outperforms Solar Panels By 40%… On Output (Cost Unknown)

A company in Austria has come up with an intriguing idea — a ground-mounted solar array in the shape of a flower that tracks the sun. It says its SmartFlower outperforms solar panels by up to 40%.

SmartFlower solar array is 40% more efficient that regular solar panelsThe SmartFlower has several photovoltaic panels that fan out like the petals of a flower during the day to capture energy from the sun. Since solar panels are most efficient when they are pointed directly at the sun, the SmartFlower tracks the sun east to west and up and down all day long to extract the maximum possible energy from the available sunlight.

There are other advantages to the SmartFlower. Because it is mounted on the ground, if you move, you simply unbolt the SmartFlower and take it with you. There’s no need to purchase another rooftop solar system for your new home, according to Tree Hugger.

Rooftop solar systems come with some built-in headaches for homeowners. What if your roof ever needs repairs? First you have to dismount the solar panels and then re-install them when the work is complete.

Some homeowners have run into problems selling homes with a leased solar system on the roof. If they entered into a long-term lease for their system, the new owners need to get approved by the leasing company before the sale can go through. Other buyers aren’t interested in home solar and refuse to take on the lease payments at all.

The SmartFlower avoids those issues. And because it is mounted on the ground, any repairs or maintenance can be carried out conveniently without having to climb up on the roof.

The SmartFlower is rated at 3.2 kilowatts. The manufacturer claims it can produce between 3,400 and 6,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, depending on available sunlight. The company says that is equivalent to the “average complete annual consumption of a central European household.”

At night or during stormy weather, the “petals” of the SmartFlower fold away until the sun comes back up or the storm passes. You can watch the SmartFlower in action at the company website. The SmartFlower is available in eight totally cool colors, including Berry, Ocean, Amber, and Mermaid. No pricing information is available at this time.

It should be noted that solar panels that track the sun got priced out of many markets as the cost of solar panels plunged. Whether the SmartFlower can actually compete on cost seems unlikely, but the upside is that it can also count as art… and what’s the value of art?

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About the Author

writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.
  • Hawdd Cwyno

    Looks very very interseting

  • Epicurus

    Can it be produced cheap enough to compete with rooftop solar?

    Years ago I read about a similar product, from IBM I think.

  • disqus_WeWNBo9WSz

    I cannot find any info on the Company website on pricing and since it’s made in Austria, it can’t be very affordable. Great idea though!

  • Sam Kentopian

    elon musk (board of director of Telsa) also is CEO of Solar City (I think) and they are producing photocell roof material… like your current asphalt roof shingle only each one has a cell… the only parts of your roof that get the solar shingle are the part where the most sun is.. the remainder get regular shingles….. also, it produces 5KW and there is a companion wall mounted battery reservoir (additional 5KW packs extend in series) so you get battery backup… this, as with the flower, has no lease option. there are some sites like Solar Rocks that will give you an estimate but only for traditional panels…. I so wish the prices would come down faster so we all can tell current utility companies to bugger off….

    • Curry Man

      There is also solar paint, a local seller has a patch of it on the ground and walls outside. If we’d just spend some $ on R & D we’d be a lot further along this road by now but with some states doing all they can to kill solar and or wind generation it looks like an uphill battle, so stupid.

  • Kevin Weir company website.. no price listed but they have reps in the usa… im sure its not cheap.. spend 50k to save 1k a year in electricity lol

    • Curry Man

      Says complete systems starting at $20,000, all of those moving parts will require looking after and I wonder how “smart” it would be on those cumulus cloud days when you can get a lot of bonus watts due to the back shine they produce, my system of 16 panels averages 20amps 1062watts, with back shine I can gain as much as 8-10 more amps, the panels are mounted on two separate racks on poles that I can move left to right and can tilt up or down to get the max amount all day with me moving them every hour or I can just point them south set the tilt if I’m not home, as the days get longer I don’t have to do that as much, it’s hooked up to a 1,000 amp industrial battery which is really nice when the power goes down I’m still up plus the excess I don’t use backfeeds into the grid resulting in a lower bill. This system would require a concrete pad to be bolted to plus a wired socket or direct connection to the house power, doesn’t mention feeding excess into grid either.

      • Kevin Weir

        no one cares what you have.

    • Stephen Geiger

      The price I found online was $17,000.

  • Curry Man

    What we need is someone figuring out a way to create back shine, whoever does that will be set for life.

  • forwardthinker2