Thomas Edison once said “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.” If he was alive today, Edison would have loved this new invention, The SmartFlower!
What’s not to like about a solar photovoltaic system that mimics a flower [the sunflower] and follows the sun? The invention is a nice fusion of functionality and aesthetics. As an added benefit, this system stows it’s solar petals at night and unfurls them in the morning. Very cool, don’t you think?!
The system is about 2.5 kW in size or capacity, but because it can follow, or track, the sun’s movement across the sky at any season, it effectively collects more energy than a fixed in place, roof-mounted system of similar size/capacity. Read more info about it here!
A great video that explains the science behind this new invention!
In fact, based on some simple solar simulations available on the Internet, a system like this collects the annual energy equivalent of a 3.5 kW capacity system for a typical home and weather conditions here in the Mid-Atlantic region.
As with any solar application, annual performance is dependent upon regional levels of sunlight and atmospheric clarity; but it is clear that with the tracking function built into this design, more annual energy collection is certainly possible.
Both Thomas Edison and Mina Edison loved nature and especially plants, which is why there was a huge greenhouse at their historic home at Glenmont. Don’t forget, Edison’s last big research effort of his life was to make artificial rubber from his own hybrid form of the Goldenrod plant! Watching the SmartFlower unfurl and follow the sun every day would have given the Edisons both great pleasure.