A New Sunflower-Like Solar Panel Tracks the Sun for Maximum Energy
You might have seen them around. In fact, they're pretty hard to miss. Boston-based SmartFlower Solar has been creating solar-powered smartflowers that track the sun to generate more energy.
The installations are 16 feet (5 meters) high, open and close based according to the path of the sun, and generate about 5,000 kWh of power annually. The systems produce up to 40 percent more energy than traditional solar panels.
Even better, they come with their own battery source. Back in September 2019, SmartFlower Solar debuted their new integrated battery storage system the Smartflower +Plus making these installations even more versatile. SmartFlower Solar partnered with NEC Energy Solutions who is supplying the batteries for the Smartflower +Plus in order to give customers the ability to produce and store clean, reliable energy whether they’re on or off the grid.
“Solar companies and installers will now be able to provide the industry’s most intelligent and attractive dual-axis solar tracking and energy storage system to their customers. With the demand for solar and energy storage rising, the ease of installation of the Smartflower +Plus will be a game changer for the industry," SmartFlower Solar’s CEO, Jim Gordon, remarked at the time.
These batteries are viable across temperature extremes (from -40°C to +60°C), will offer up to twice the usable energy, possess 50 times greater cycle life, and have charging times that are 100 times faster than typical lead-acid batteries.
More recently, in March of 2021, Vodafone Spain used the flowers to reach its goal of being powered by 100% renewable electricity. The company said it installed a Smartflower solar panel at its Spanish headquarters in Madrid.
According to the Boston Globe, by August 2021 about 350 Smartflowers had been installed in the United States and 1,800 in Europe. We can venture a guess that that number has only increased since then.
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