Are Solar Trackers Worth It
Even though solar trackers produce more electricity than regular trackers, they are not worth the additional investment. The cost of installing more solar panels than installing a tracking system has dropped since solar panels are cheaper than ever. The cost of each solar module would be increased by $500.
How Much Money Can I Save With The Smartflower System
While you can get more solar installed for less with a traditional photovoltaic system, the Smartflower can still save you a ton of money over the next 25 years.
With 5,510 kWh of electricity produced per year in Los Angeles, the Solarflower rivals the output of a 4kW rooftop solar panel system. At an average cost of electricity of $.20/kwh, that amounts to annual savings of over $10,000.
See how much you can save with solar
How The Smartflowers Price Compares To Standard Solar Panels
The best way to compare solar panel system prices is to determine the cost per watt of electricity generation. The cost per watt for a Smartflower is anywhere from $6.25 to $7.50, with an average price of about $6.75, assuming that it is equivalent to the production of a 4 kW fixed rooftop array. The installed cost depends on how far the Smartflower is installed from the home, whether a concrete slab foundation needs to be poured, and whether the installation requires additional electrical work.
By comparison, the average price for a standard ground-mounted solar energy system without tracking capabilities on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace is just $3.11/Watt, or $12,440 for a 4 kW system. If you choose to install a rooftop solar energy system, the cost falls to just $2.81/Watt, or $11,240 for a 4 kW system.
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How Does The Smartflower Compare To Other Solar Panel Systems
The Smartflower offers two unique features that distinguish it from other ground-mounted solar panel systems with tracking capabilities. The first is that it has a self-cleaning function, which ensures that dirt or other grime on the panels wont cause reduced energy production. The second is that its self-contained. According to the Smartflower website, installation takes just two to three hours, and disassembly is similarly easy. As a result, you can take the system with you if you move and install it at your new property.
The two added features that make the Smartflower unique tracking and self-cleaning are only covered under a five-year warranty. By comparison, other manufacturers of dual-axis solar trackers offer 10-year warranties on their products. And without the tracking and self-cleaning functionality, the Smartflower is simply a standard ground-mounted system at twice the price. The company does offer a 25-year warranty for its solar cells and a 10-year warranty for its inverter, both of which are industry standard.
The Smartflower was initially designed for use in European households. According to Smartflowers website, the average middle European household uses approximately 3,500 kilowatt-hours each year, and the product is intended to match that level of electricity demand. Depending on where you live, a Smartflower produces anywhere from 3,400 to 6,200 kWh annually.
What Is A Solar Flower
The Solar Flower is a free-standing solar sculpture. It looks like a flower perhaps a daisy or a sunflower .
The array comprises petal-like solar panels that produce electricity through silicon solar cells integrated into its petals.
The Smartflowers solar array comprises 12 petals, including monocrystalline PERC solar panels. The petals are controlled by a mechanical system that unfurls or furls the petals much like a Chinese-style old-fashioned fan.
The petals vary in how many solar cells they contain, as the list below outlines:
|Petal Number||Total Peak Power|
The Smartflower also includes an inverter to convert the DC output of the solar panels to AC electricity. The inverter produces a maximum of around 20A at 240V it can produce either 50Hz or 60Hz of power, making the Smartflower appropriate for both U.S. and other electrical grids.
Launched by a now-defunct Austrian company, the product was rebirthed by subsidiaries that managed to survive in Austria, the United Kingdom, and the USA.
The company offers three products:
- Smartflower, the original product
- Smartflow Plus, which includes either a 5.5 kWh or 11.4 kWh battery
- Smartflower EV, which includes an EV charger.
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The Cost Of Not Going Solar
When electricity was invented, we never could have imagined exactly what that would mean for our everyday lives. We were using resources we found around us to produce really cool inventions that made our life easier. We didnt think too far into how we were able to make telephone calls and send information through wires, we just loved the convenience. Life was great!
We slowly started to realize how energy was produced and that these big power plants were harming our nearby bodies of water as well as the very air we breathe. We quickly realized the level of pollution and decided there had to be something done to ensure that we dont continuously release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. By choosing convenience over cleanliness, weve actually been paying a higher price for our electricity and we dont even realize it!Weve been paying the cost of not choosing the best way for sourcing energy from the very beginning and now we have to play catch up.
Back in 2011, the US average cost of electricity was about $0.12 per kWh with an average monthly usage of 908kWh per month. In 2018, the US average cost of electricity was $13.82 thats almost a whole 2 cent increase per kilowatt-hour in just 7 years. Just the increase alone cost you about $18 more per month, $200 per year, and a cumulative $1,400 over the past 7 years.
Type Of Solar Panel Systems
The type of solar panel system you chose will greatly affect the cost. Grid-tie, grid-tie solar and energy storage, and off-grid solar are all options differ in price. Remember, the best solar panels for your property will fulfill your needs and meet your price point.
Lets break down the primary purpose of each system:
- Grid-tie: You have access to the utility grid. Your primary goal is to save money on your electric bill
- Grid-tie solar and energy storage: You have access to the utility grid and your primary goal is to have backup power when there is an outage.
- Off-grid: You do not have access to the utility grid. Your primary goal is to live where it is not accessible.
Once you identify your goals, you can make a final decision based on price.
If you have access to the grid, you can lower the cost of solar panels by using a grid-tie system. When you choose a grid-tie system with energy storage, you have the potential to save even more. Storing electricity in the grid doesnt cost anything, and you may be able to sell your stored energy . An off-grid system is a significant extra cost.
With an off-grid system, youll need to purchase batteries which represent almost half the cost of an off-grid solar system.
If you have the option, we recommend connecting a grid-tied system. However, off-grid solar will still save you money in the long run if you want to live away from a utility grid.
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Features Of Smart Flower
1. The system is autonomous. It doesnt require any additional parts for functioning. The 5-meter long design contains every component that it needs for smooth operation.
2. Smart flower comes with a unique mechanism that replicates a sunflower. The design itself looks like a flower, with 12 petals. In the morning, after sunrise, the petals open up on their own to soak in the sunlight, and they start producing solar energy. As the sun goes down, the petals fold down on their own. The solar tracker helps the petals to locate which way they can get the maximum amount of sunlight.
3.The system tracks and monitors weather conditions to decide when to open and fold the petals. The petals fold up automatically when the wind is strong, to keep the system well-protected.
4. The panel doesnt require any external cleaning agent. The panel comes with a convenient self-cleaning system that does all the work on its own.
5. Since there are no extra parts, the entire installation takes just a few hours. Unlike traditional solar panels, the installation process is much more hassle-free. If you decide to shift the solar flower to some other location, you can do that with ease.
6. It has a smart cooling technology that prevents the system from overheating, which in turn, maximizes energy production. The rear ventilation keeps the panel 18°F cooler than its normal temperature.
Monitoring Access To The Most Important System Data
With your personal access to the Monitoring System you can keep an eye on your current production, storage and consumption figures at all times. The smartflower also allows you to make a number of different custom settings.
Your consumption at a glance
The Consumption menu option records your energy source. On sunny days smartflower POP+ supplies you with power directly and replenishes the storage at the same time. At consumption spikes, e.g. at midday, energy is supplied from the battery to cover the high energy requirement automatically. By the evening the power storage is charged sufficiently to span the night and morning hours without sun. If power from the battery runs out and there is still enough solar energy, power is taken from the grid automatically fully automatically so that your power supply is guaranteed at all times.
This is what the solar kit produces during the day
Charge level of the power storage
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How Much Do Solar Panels Save
Switching to a solar energy system could potentially cut your energy bill by 75%. The savings you and your family see will depend greatly on where you live, what the climate is like and your particular energy needs. For instance, an average homeowner in Portland, Oregon, will see total savings of $38,000, whereas a homeowner in Los Angeles could save as much as $90,000 over 20 years.
Many solar energy companies provide a free calculator tool to help you easily estimate the cost and savings of installing solar panels on your home. Different solar calculators may estimate electricity costs in different ways. Numbers can be based on the national average, regional averages or other information you provide.
The average American electric bill is between $100 and $200 per month, and the average yearly energy cost is about $1,500. Depending on how much you pay out-of-pocket for the solar panel system, it could take five to 15 years to break even. To calculate how long it will take you to break even on savings versus the cost of your solar panels, first subtract your incentives and rebates from your costs. Divide that number by the amount you are saving on utility bills per year.
Even if your solar panels generate 100% of your electricity needs, you may still receive a utility bill. However, instead of asking for payments, you will get net metering credits for the month.
The Future Of Smartflower
Sustainable ways of thinking and implementing innovatively designed smartflowers had brought about positive changes in the renewable energy industry. SmartFlower carried out manufacturing in Austria using high-quality materials so the devices can generate electricity for as long as possible.
Also, devices like this can create jobs in an emerging and futuristic solar industry due to the potential of such devices to reach out to average users. Smartflowers can redefine energy-efficiency of photovoltaic systems with a simple, efficient, and safe system. By using smartflowers, more people can generate their own clean electricity for their households. In this way, cities, communities, and companies will become independent from spiking energy costs to a great extent.
As stated in an earlier section, the smartflower systems have been successfully for humanitarian reasons in remote areas. Large-scale production and installation of these systems will ensure energy accessibility at low cost for people in developing countries as well. To make such renewable projects successful in the future, regional support is essential so that distribution channels can work efficiently with fast reaction times. This will further pave the way to a consistent and sustainable future.
Even though the Austrian SmartFlower went bankrupt, the U.S. version is still into operations and selling smartflower units in the country.
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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In North Carolina
North Carolina has quickly become one of the top states for solar installations, and for good reason: The average cost of solar panels in North Carolina is slightly below the national average. Based on market research and data weve collected from top solar panel brands, the average solar panel cost in North Carolina is $2.54 per watt, while the U.S. average is $2.66 per watt.
To put that into context, a reasonable sized installation for a North Carolina home may be about 5 kilowatts, which would put the solar panel costs at $12,700. This lowers to $9,398 after applying the federal solar tax credit.
These prices, of course, will increase as the size of the project increases, as show in the following table of potential solar panel system sizes:
|Size of Solar Panel System||North Carolina Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
However, the above table only represents expected average costs of a solar energy system. Many different factors can come into play when determining how much youll actually pay for solar panels in North Carolina, some of the most critical of which are discussed in the following section.
What Can Smart Solar Flowers And Trees Provide
Smartflowers are solar installations mounted into the ground. It is a freestanding structure thats fully assembled upon delivery. The solar flowers have panels for petals and the trees feature branches with panels on top. Some solar trees are also built as a single tower with a photovoltaic panel mounted on top.
Solar flowers have 12 petals rotating at a 90-degree angle, producing 40% more energy than fixed solar panels. They work with a dual-axis tracking system, so they always face the sun increasing productivity by up to 10%. Their elevated design also allows the panels to cool naturally, increasing their efficiency.
In addition, solar plants can benefit cities aiming to procure a green infrastructure. They can reduce energy usage and fossil fuel consumption when combining solar panels and natural elements. Essentially, a biosolar installation would transform an urban environment, resulting in a healthier and cleaner place to live. They also provide visual appeal and are better able to blend into their environments, appearing as just part of the landscape.
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Smartflower: Characteristics Price And Models
Come straight from Austria, SmartFlower is a revolutionary photovoltaic solar installation that can improve electricity production by 40% compared to conventional solar roof installations. Thanks to its unique and ingenious flower-shaped design, the SmartFlowers solar panels rotate in order to follow the sun throughout the day. All the details about this product can be found below.
Smartflower Solar Review: Beautiful Solar That’s Not Worth It
Beautiful design with a high price tag are why most of the company’s customers are organizations, not homeowners.
Andrew Blok is an associate editor at CNET covering home energy with a focus on solar. He helps people make smart energy decisions with explainers and reviews to navigate the changing energy landscape. He’s a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State. He watches birds in western Michigan.
In the residential solar industry, one company has charted a different path. It’s producing solar electricity, not with rooftop panels or a traditional ground mounted rack, but with solar powered sunflowers.
Smartflower Solar offers what it calls “sculptural” solar: an array of panels that unfurls in the morning, tracks the sun across the sky and folds up at night. It looks like a large, mechanical flower. Smartflower turns solar into a statement as well as a conversation piece and does both with a pretty simple installation process. But while some customers may prefer Smartflower’s look, it comes at a premium.
- Not practical for everyone
- Some warranties could be stronger
Solar is a tricky category to review. Because of the industry’s nature and the cost of panels, this review doesn’t rely on hands-on testing. While I researched as thoroughly as was feasible, this review should only be one part of your own research. You should get multiple quotes, including from local installers, before signing any contract.
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What Is The Smartflowers Energy Production Compared To Conventional Solar Panels
Like a rooftop solar system, the amount of solar power produced each year depends on the location and roof direction. Smartflower published an output expectancy map on their website showing the amount of power you can expect to get out of their 2.5kW array.
Image source: Smartflower Pacific
With 5,510 kWh per year in Los Angeles, the Solarflower rivals the output of a 4kW rooftop solar panel system.
Technical Specificities Of The Smartflower And Smartflower +plus
Both the SmartFlower and SmartFlower +Plus remain available on the US market, in four different colours: white, grey, green and blue.Technical specificities of the SmartFlower and SmartFlower +Plus
|2 800 kWh||5 250 kWh|
A SmartFlower can provide between 9 and 18 kWh of electricity per day at its peak – enough to charge a smartphone 2,424 times, drive 100 km in an electric car or even watch 360 hours of TV.
A households consumption of electricity depends on which heating method and installations it uses: electrical appliances, swimming pool, electric car… You can get an estimate of your annual consumption by looking at the average energy consumption in France, depending on your consumption profile.
A SmartFlower can deliver enough energy to ensure electric self-consumption of a family of 4, excluding heating and hot water. Such a household living in a 100m2 house should easily fulfil its electricity needs if it uses natural gas for heating and cooking, and owns a SmartFlower +Plus.
However, a SmartFlowers production would not meet this same familys needs if the family relies on an all-electric installation. It is thus important to make a careful estimate of your annual electricity consumption before purchasing a SmartFlower.
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