SmartFlower Solar

1. Sustainability Problem: Energy

It is evident that current fossil fuel consumption levels are harming the environment and human health. The use of fossil fuels can lead to land degradation, water pollution, and air pollution. In fact, in 2019 alone, over 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide was emitted into the air in the United States. Nearly 12.6 million Americans are exposed to toxic levels of air pollution from active oil and gas wells daily. Furthermore, climate change impacts have become more severe over the last few decades, as a result of the increased consumption of fossil fuels. It is crucial for the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants that countries lean away from fossil fuel dependency and increase renewable energy use.

2. Sustainable Technology: SmartFlower Solar System

The SmartFlower solar panel is a ground-based system that is arguably more efficient and better designed than standard solar rooftop systems. The SmartFlower panel is a self-sustaining system that can avoid certain limitations that are found are rooftop systems. Specifically, the SmartFlower can be installed in any location that has sufficient exposure to sun, whereas rooftop systems are constrained by availability of space and roof type.

  • The SmartFlower includes a dual axis tracker, which means that the panels can follow the sun throughout the day, in order to maximize energy production. Engineers from the company suggest that the SmartFlower can produce 40% more daily energy than standard rooftop systems.
  • The SmartFlower is designed using 12 petals, that open up as the sun begins to come out at the beginning of the day and close when the sun sets. Brushes are added to the back of each panel, so that at the end of each day, the system cleans itself.
  • Another advantage of the SmartFlower system is its ease of set-up and take-down. According to the company, the system only takes 2-3 hours to be installed/uninstalled.
  • Unfortunately, the SmartFlower system is more expensive than a standard solar panel system; the SmartFlower solar panel system ranges in price from $25,000 to $30,000. There is a range in price because the company sells two different systems, one with a battery to store solar energy (SmartFlower +Plus), and the base version (SmartFlower).

“SmartFlower Solar Review: The True Cost of a Solar Flower” (https://www.solar.com/learn/smartflower-solar-comprehensive-review/), Solar.com

3. Stakeholders:

  • Solar Project Developers
  • Utility Companies
  • Community Residents/solar enthusiasts
  • Oil and gas companies

4. Technology Implementation:

1. As a company, SmartFlower must work to increase its marketing campaign within the solar industry. This is a relatively new technology that needs as much recognition as possible, thus the company must invest in its marketing effort to maximize sales.

2. The SmartFlower company must work to reduce its prices, in order to become an appealing alternative option for solar buyers.

3. The company must work on its battery technology. Increasing the efficiency of battery storage within the SmartFlower system would significantly increase interests of buyers. The current battery storage of this technology is limited and can be considered insufficient for larger buildings.  

Sources:

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fossil-fuels-dirty-facts

https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-much-carbon-dioxide-does-united-states-and-world-emit-each-year-energy-sources?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products

4 thoughts on “SmartFlower Solar

  1. Thank you for sharing! It is interesting to consider the aesthetic advantages of the deployment of this technology as well. It is common for residents near solar farms to dislike the ‘disruption of the view’, particularly thinking about the NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude of offshore wind. The art-like display of SmartFlower makes it an attractive installation.

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  2. This is very cool, and honestly a form of art for the garden! I see that the product comes in different colors for the stem, but I also think it would be a great value added to allow further customization like patterns or maybe even pictures and art! I’ve heard of sun tracking panel systems, but this definitely takes it to the next level. It has self cleaning, smart cooling, smart safety, and smart device.

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  3. I also like the design and look, and this actually plays a big role in implementing solar and wind, as explored by this newsletter from Sammy Roth of the LATIMES : https://www.latimes.com/environment/newsletter/2021-05-27/are-solar-and-wind-farms-ugly-or-beautiful-boiling-point
    He points out a big hurdle to putting in big wind and solar projects is that they are perceived as an eyesore. In Massachusetts a wealthy enclave of beachside homeowners defeated a proposal for America’s first offshore wind farm because it would ruin their view. But its not just wealthy homeowners, there are also rural communities out west that have sunk community solar projects because they didn’t want their hills to be clear of solar panels. As Roth points out, “local opposition to renewable energy projects could be as significant a roadblock as any.” At first, I’m resistant to people’s aesthetic resistance to solar and wind, but then I think about some of the most beautiful National Parks and even hiking upstate and how I wouldn’t want those landscapes marred by wind and solar either.

    So I really enjoy how this technology mimics the look of a flower and may reduce the “ugly factor” when implementing the solar tech. I wonder if there are even more ways to make it look pretty?

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