Special Reports

Your Home And EV Could Be Powered By A 'Smartflower' [Video]


Conventional solar panels are usually quite an eyesore when installed. People put up with it though to at least partly alleviate total reliance on the grid. An Austrian company recently launched the latest version of its "Smartflower POP" system. A solar array that borrows characteristics from a sunflower and tracks the sun all day.

The creators of the Smartflower POP claims it is the world's first intelligent energy plant, possessing the ability to unfold its solar panel petals in the morning and tracks the sun independently all day. At night, or during heavy weather conditions it closes up. Additionally, its mobility makes it more efficient in areas needing electricity than conventional roof installed solar panels.

Due to its unconventional construction and its synchronized components, the Smartflower Pop delivers an average output of approximately 4,0000 kWh per year, according to the company's website. Additionally, it can achieve a degree of self-utilization of around 60 percent compared to any rooftop unit that only delivers around 30 percent.

One unit may not keep an average U.S. household completely off the grid, however, it can sure make a dent in its average consumption of around 10,000 kWh per year. The key to the Smartflower Pops success is not its size, but how it performs efficiently based on its tracking design. Its tracking system is touted to yield higher energy production than roof-top solutions during the critical 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm period when power rates are typically higher, PV

The beauty of the Smartflower POP system, aside from its obvious aesthetics, is that it is a freestanding photovoltaic structure that features what consumers love, plug and play. It's an all-in-one system that can be easily setup and be operational in an hour or less.

It automatically starts up during sunrise by unfurling its petals to produce electricity and conveniently folds itself up during sunset. It can also be made to fold if users need space in their yard for whatever outdoor activity they may have.

Much like Tesla's Powerwall, each unit has a specially-designed battery that can supply the household with electricity even after the sun sets. Furthermore, its aesthetics is much more attractive than traditional panels installed on a roof, and it comes in eight colors. As an added functionality, its all-in-one solar system incorporates a high-performance charging station for electric vehicles (EV).

The system is being sold for about $16,000 (without storage), and about $22,000 (with storage), according to Alexander Swatek, managing partner of the Vienna-based company.

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