A new solution has evolved to the issue of the best placement of solar panels, facing south to get sun rays all through the day, or facing west to collect the afternoon rays. The smartflower™ POP acts like a sunflower and continually turns to face the sun at an optimal 90-degree angle.
Developed in Austria by Thomas Daubek and Alexander Swatek, the petals remain folded up when not being used. With the sunrise, the solar petals unfold to create an 18-meter (59.1 foot) circle. The system boosts solar yield by as much as 40 percent as that of the traditional stationary system according to the company.
The smartflower not only tracks the sun as it moves and changes its position, but it also keeps track of wind speeds. When winds reach 54 kilometers (33.6 miles) per hour, the petals retract and remain in the folded position until the wind speeds drop to a safer level so they have less chance of being damaged.
Other advantages of the smartflower POPs are:
- They are an all-in-one plug and play solar solution without extensive installation. Watch the video to see how installation takes less than one hour.
- They are made of self-cleaning, weatherproofed, thin glass which removes dirt and dust as the petals open and close.
- The modules are kept 10 to 20 degrees cooler than rooftop-installed modules with back ventilation since they are not mounted on roofs. Output losses due to heat and contamination are prevented by up to 15 percent.
- The petals fold back down into the safer position when the sun goes down.
- The company guarantees performance for 25 years.
- They create 3,400 to 6,200 kWh of electricity annually, depending on the installation location.
- The smartflower POP is anchored to the ground with a concrete foundation or an earth anchor.
- They are ideal if the roof is not an option due to installation, aesthetics, or a rental property.
- The smartflower POP can be set up in the garden or yard and be more aesthetically pleasing than a bank of solar panels.
- The system can be moved easily to the owners’ next home upon relocation.
- Cost is kept down through an industrialized process since the product does not need to be customized to an individual as in other photovoltaic systems.
- A light-weight version that can be carried by four people as well as an eco-version for areas without electricity or infrastructures are currently being developed.
These are made in Austria and used throughout Europe. For more information on how to purchase them for use in the Greenville, South Carolina region, contact the company directly on their website.
Local solar power companies in the area should contact the company about becoming dealers for this product. The current two closest dealers are in the Turks and Caicos Island, and Trinidad and Tobago.