• Tech Tech

This revolutionary solar technology collects 40% more energy than traditional panels: 'A highly visible and beautiful solution'

Smartflower's "solar sculptures" track the sun as it moves through the sky.

Flower-shaped solar panels Smartflower

Smartflower is trying to infuse beauty into the solar industry with its functional solar sculptures, which track the sun like sunflowers and are sprouting up all over the world. 

Massive and mechanical, the company's futuristic flora is meant to "make a solar statement" and provide striking alternatives to traditional rooftop solar panels.  

A Smartflower comes with a whole host of high-tech features to make it easy to use and maintain. The company claims that installations are quick and painless, and each system comes with an app so you can monitor the energy that a unit produces from your phone. 

Each flower uses "smart tracking" –– the solar panel petals slowly track the sun throughout the day and move to maximize solar energy absorption. This allows the system to collect up to 40% more energy than traditional stationary solar panels, according to Smartflower. 

Other less noticeable features include "smart safety," where the array closes automatically in strong winds, and "smart cleaning," where the installation brushes itself clean before it folds up. 

Right now, Smartflower offers three separate models of solar array: The base Smartflower; the Smartflower EV, which includes an output for charging electric vehicles; and the Smartflower +Plus, which ships with a battery for backup energy storage. 

Smartflowers are available for commercial and residential installations alike. The company's website tells business owners that the flowers will help them show "organizational commitment to clean energy with a highly visible and beautiful solar solution." Installations can be found in public parks, city plazas, and resorts, providing important green energy and sparking conversations about sustainability. 

As for installing one in your front yard? 

Smartflower boasts that, unlike roof mounted systems, these solar flowers can be installed easily at rental properties. That said, each flower needs more than 16 feet of clear space and weighs 1,690 pounds, so you might want to check with your landlord before you plant yourself a solar garden.

The average Smartflower seems to cost around $27,000, although you'd have to contact Smartflower for a quote directly since the site doesn't directly answer these questions. 

EnergySage and Solar.com, two solar bidding marketplaces, calculate that the flowers will cost about $6.50 per watt produced. You can compare that to the $3.50 per watt of an average roof system. Both websites cite the shorter system warranty of Smartflowers as a source of concern, but admit that ease of installation is a plus for the solar solution. 

Buyers will have to decide if the impressive features, sleek sculptural design, and bragging rights justify the extra costs for themselves. 

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