Solar energy is getting even more buzz lately, with Tesla’s new solar shingles hitting the market this month and Route 66 scheduled for a solar panel makeover. But a new product from an Austrian company could soon revolutionize the way we harness and use energy in our homes.
Meet the Smartflower: a portable, adjustable solar power system that uses GPS-based dual axis tracking to follow the path of the sun throughout the day, similar to the way a sunflower adjusts its petals to face the sun. In the morning, the Smartflower automatically unfolds and positions its “petals” at a 90-degree angle, which shifts as the sun moves across the sky. At night, or when high winds make it unsafe to use, the flower will draw its modular panels back into a folded position, according to Curbed. By always maintaining the optimal angle to the sun, the Smartflower is able to generate 40 percent more energy than traditional solar models.
It’s also remarkably self-sufficient. For example, the product is built with a cooling and cleaning system that brushes the panels each time it folds and unfolds. And because of its “all-in-one” design, with the inverter, monitor and batteries all housed inside the unit, the Smartflower requires little effort after it’s assembled and installed, a process that takes just a few hours. It even comes in eight different colors!
Deliveries to the United States are scheduled to start mid-April, but 1,000 units are already operating across Europe, Curbed reports. While they’re mainly designed for residential use, one Smartflower is powering an outdoor learning space at the Botanical Gardens in Madrid, while another flower is powering a cafe and lighting a walkway at an Austrian university.
So what does it cost? A Smartflower will run you just under $12,000, but prices vary based on delivery and installation (and think of all the money you’ll save on electricity!). For more info, visit the Smartflower Solar website.