The smartflowerTM solar energy system brings on-the-go solar power to your home. Initially developed for European households, the smartflower is a self-contained, ground-mounted system that can be quickly installed and de-installed, perfect for people who want to enjoy the benefits of solar energy even as they move from home to home.
Here is an overview of the smartflower system and how it can benefit your lifestyle.
What Is smartflower?
The smartflower system looks like its name. Petal-shaped panels embedded with solar cells are arranged around a central point and fan out into a daisy-like pattern. The “stem” of the flower is a sturdy base containing the electronics and connections to send power to your home. The power generated is stored in batteries and is accessed by the homeowner through a “smart” energy management system.
The smartflower petals open when the sun comes up, soaking up solar energy during the day and then fold up like a fan at night to self-clean and protect the petals. The system has a dual-axis tracker that allows the smartflower to follow the sun throughout the day at the optimum angle to maximize the harvest. In high winds, the smartflower blades retract just as they do at night, to prevent damage.
The entire system is self-contained and can be removed and re-installed at a new home if needed. With dual-axis tracking, the smartflower can generate as much or more energy as a standard roof-top solar installation. One smartflower generates the equivalent of a four-kilowatt rooftop system, according to the manufacturer.
Compare smartflower to Other Solar Energy Systems
Traditional rooftop and ground level solar energy systems are made up of stationary panels oriented to the south or southwest to catch the prevailing sunlight. Unlike smartflower, stationary panels cannot optimize the angle of approach to gather the maximum amount of sunlight at every hour of the day.
In addition to the ability to track the sun, the smartflower has a self-cleaning function, reducing the amount of maintenance needed to keep the solar cells in top condition. Traditional solar installations require periodic cleaning to clean dirt and grime off the panels and increase the amount of sunlight they can soak in.
The manufacturer of the smartflower states the unit operates at a lower temperature than roof-mounted panels because the design allows air to flow freely around the panels.
Finally, the smartflower is portable. It can be uninstalled and quickly and reinstalled at a new residence so you can take your solar energy system with you when you move; you won’t need to purchase another system for your new home.
The Advantages of smartflowerTM
The smartflower system has all the advantages of solar energy generation.
- You reduce your utility bill.
- You have the potential to sell electricity back to the local grid.
- You produce clean energy.
The system also has advantages beyond the tradition solar energy system.
- Installation only takes a few hours instead of several days.
- The system is portable and can be taken to your new home.
- The dual-axis tracking capability optimizes the angle of the panels to gather the most solar energy throughout the day.
- It is self-cleaning.
- It produces more energy than a roof-top or fixed-ground system of similar size.
- You decide when to use power from the grid, the batteries, or the solar panels.
The smartflower may not be feasible if you have a very shady yard or live in an area where cloudy days are the norm, but those are the same disadvantages you would have with a traditional roof-top system. The petals open to 194 square feet and may not fit into a tiny yard or zero-lot-line home.
The smartflowerTM expands the choices for people who want to invest in solar energy but may be hesitant because they know they may not stay in a home long enough to reap the return. The company has a single version for sale in the US but plans to add to the selection early in 2018.
The sunflower’s easy installation, self-cleaning features, and portability plus the ability to produce clean energy lets you take your solar power with you wherever you go.
About the Author
Massy Almubidin is a solar expert and owner at IntegrateSun, providing solar panels to Houston-area homes and businesses.