Katie Robinson, ERS, for Zondits
Despite the growing solar panel installation rates throughout the country, there are still many factors holding homeowners back from installing solar rooftop panels. Some fear that their roof doesn’t see enough sunlight or that inevitable roof repairs will be much more complicated (and costly) with solar panels sitting on top. Or, let’s face it: those big black panels don’t exactly match most house aesthetics.
Well, smartflower, an Austrian solar manufacturing firm, may have solved all our problems. The smartflower POP is a standing “all-in-one solar system” that is easy to install anywhere on your property and opens automatically to follow the sun. And it looks good too. Its solar panels are designed as “blooming” sunflower petals that sit on top of a stem-like base (with eight colors to choose from). The fully automatic system includes dual-axle sun tracking that positions the solar modular fan toward the sun as it moves during the day, even when the sun is low on the horizon. Once the last sun rays fade, it automatically folds itself up and closes into a secure position against the base for the night.The future of solar is changing, and @smartflower_sol wants to inspire more people to go green. Click To Tweet
As you can imagine, optimum alignment with the sun throughout the day allows the smartflower system to deliver a considerably larger power output than the regular static rooftop system. The manufacturer states the solar system delivers an average of 4,000 kWh per year (up to 40% more than a conventional system), which could potentially satisfy an average household’s needs. The slightly more advanced smartflower POP+ even comes with integrated battery storage, and it can be on-grid or off-grid.
The smartflower systems also include “smart cooling.” Cool modules deliver more electricity than over-heated modules, so smartflower has designed their solar panels with rear-ventilated modules to avoid hot-air accumulation. In addition, the system cleans itself by folding and unfolding to remove dust, snow, or debris, all of which can cause up to 5% energy production loss. The sensors also continuously monitor wind speeds; once winds reach 33 mph, the smartflower POP folds itself into its secure position to avoid damage. Once the sensors detect that the winds have died down, it’s ready to open back up.
The company boasts a quick and easy installation – just one hour to bolt the system to the ground (or concrete foundation) and then it’s ready to “plug & play.” And if you end up moving, you can easily take it with you. The system also comes with a 25-year guarantee.
The future of solar is changing, and smartflower wants to inspire more people and communities to go green. They’ve also created the smartflower POP-e, a charging station that can charge electric cars with a power supply of up to 22 kW. And smartflower believes that the sleek, attractive design will convince communities to place these charging stations in more visible and accessible locations, perhaps influencing more community members to choose electric vehicles.
Thanks to smartflower POP, perhaps the question for future solar installations will no longer be “should I or shouldn’t I?” but instead “should my base color be pearl, berry, or mermaid?”