Intersolar North America: SmartFlower unfurls its dual-axis tracker

Share

Austria's SmartFlower is unfurling its objectively stunning 4kWh-equivalent dual axis tracker in its U.S. launch, a few months ahead of the first U.S. installation scheduled for November, says Alexander Swatek, the managing partner of the Vienna-based company.

The petal-shaped monocrystalline panels are encased in 2.0 mm glass so strong and thin that it can be flexed with the hand.

The 12-petal, 194 square-foot structure produces 2.5 kWh, the output equivalent to a 4.0 kWh fixed rooftop array, notes James Gordon, the CEO of recently-established SmartFlower North America, based in Boston. While the product is being targeted for residential installations, it also will be sold for commercial installations, he says.

The company already has sold over 1,000 of the units in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and other regions, Swatek notes.

The system is being sold without storage for about $16,900, and about $22,000 with storage, notes Swatek. The U.S. launch will not include models with storage capability, but they are expected to follow soon. The POP-e version includes an electric vehicle charging station that can provide up to 22 kW.

Popular content

The cost of the solar PV produced by the Smartflower is between $3.50 and $4.00 per kWh, Swatek reckons. Since the panels flex during deployment to 78 degrees of inclination, they are also self-cleaning as they fold up to a stack at night. The tracking system yields higher energy production than roof-top solutions during the critical 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM period when utility rates typically are at their highest.

The system includes a warranty of 25 years on the panels, 10 years on the inverter and two years on the remainder of the product, with an optional three-year extension, says Swatek. The system is designed to last 25 years.

The 100% Austrian-made SmartFlower installs in two or three hours, depending on foundation type, either metal screw or concrete pillar design, notes Linnea Nilsson, the international marketing manager for the company. Once U.S. sales volumes increase to a point of critical mass, some of the components likely will be sourced in the U.S., says Gordon. The company is developing a dealer network now.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.

Share

Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

34 comments

  1. I’m interested. We live on 2 acres in the Napa Valley of California and have high electric bills due to the 7 1/2 hp
    pump on our well. When will you have someone we can speak with in our area?
    Thanks, Kim & Jeff Jeanes

  2. Dear All,
    i) The warranty of Panel, inverter and other components is mentioned as 25years,10 years and 2 years respectively with a provision of 3 years extension. It is presumed that it does not include storage battery and if so, what will be the warranty period of a Storage battery.
    ii) What will be type of Storage battery ( Li-ion, Lead acid, Salt- water, etc)
    iii) Please provide a Photograph of Petal Panel layout on metal screw and concrete pillar

  3. Good afternoon
    I would love some details on becoming a dealer. This looks like an amazing idea. I would love any information you could give me.
    Mike Byrne

  4. how do we become a retail outlet for smartflower, I believe it will revolutionize solar energy in the USA. Are you planning on becoming partners with existing businesses or starting new businesses?? I am very excited to help introduce this product to the American public and believe it could be a great business venture for my family.

  5. So a unit that costs 7000 pounds in Europe becomes 22000 here. Even with Shipping that’s still close to double the price. I understand profit but that’s built into the price as I’m sure the local outlet has negotiated a deal. I don’t mind paying for something but that effectively doubles the amount of time before you actually start saving money on your bill. Seems a bit rich to me but then again what do I know right. I am very interested in solar power and was genuinely looking at this unit

  6. Was introduced to this product by a friend who thought I might be interested. Boy was he right! I’m in the planning stages of building a new home in Missouri and this could be something that I could use. I would also be interested in checking out any details on becoming a Smartflower distributor/dealer.

  7. “The 12-petal, 194 square-foot structure produces 2.5 kWh, the output equivalent to a 4.0 kWh fixed rooftop array.”

    Huh… I would’ve expected an article on a site called PV-Magazine.com to know the difference between “kW” and “kWh”. Weird. 😛

    “The cost of the solar PV produced by the Smartflower is between $3.50 and $4.00 per kWh.”

    I don’t even know if I should try to explain how dumb this sentence is. I think I’ll pass.

  8. I would be interested in becoming a dealer here in central IL, USA. For residential and commercial. Who would service this product? I am definitely interested in this for my home.

  9. Note to the author of the article — it says the tracker “produces 2.5 kWh, the output equivalent to a 4.0 kWh fixed rooftop array.” Surely you mean 2.5 kW and 4.0 kW? kW and kWh are very different things.

    I don’t know what solar production is like in California, but in New England (where I work in the solar business) it will cover about half of the average household electric needs.

    On a cost basis for solar production, it is rather expensive but of course you get the aesthetics out of it so that’s up to the customer to decide if it’s worth it.

    1. a tracking system will produce more than 30% more energy than a fixed tilt system. They say 40 here, which might be reasonable in many cases like roof mounts with sub optimal tilt and point.. so their system is more efficient.. using kwh vs kw – yeah, technically not the best, but in terms of kwh, their claim that their 2.5 kw system produces the same kwh in a year as a 4kw fixed tilt system – is likely accurate – even if they didnt say it right.

  10. Looks like a great idea but there’s no way I’d pay double what it costs in Europe. Competition is bound to settle that differential down within a couple of years or so.

    1. It cost twice as much here because of gov’t subsidies. They figure they can charge double since US gov’t will be paying half.

    2. What is your evidence for this claim? I find such an analysis odd, given that Germany had very strong incentives under the feed-in tariff, and yet German balance of systems costs have been far lower than U.S. costs for years. Additionally, I think that if you look at the NREL analysis, you will find other factors such as high SG&A costs.

  11. Am from the Philippines and am interested. Kindly email me for details on becoming an owner of one and for dealership.

  12. I’m also wondering how this could cost $3.50 to $4 per kwh. Is that a mistake? That would be many times more than any of us are paying for electricity.

  13. I think the writer meant to say $3.5-$4/ Watt DC of solar. I looked into this, and frankly it doesn’t make much sense unless you’re dead set on having a “flower” in your yard. It’s not cheaper than a fixed-tilt, rooftop or ground-mounted solar array. I had my system designed and bid out on PickMySolar.com and they helped me find a qualified bid with costs closer to $3/Watt, and then I got my tax credit, lowering the cost 30%. Do your homework, check out Pick My Solar, tell them Phil Baker sent you!

    1. I pulled up pickmysolar.com and it says it estimates my average electricity is $300 a month $82,000 in 25 years. System for $48,000…not trustworthy I think

  14. Can one safely assume that these are capable of being banked together for a somewhat larger capacity, additionally what are the battery storage capabilities? From the video it looked somewhat limited.

  15. I live in Connecticut and would love to become a dealer of your product please send any info Thank you in Advance

  16. Apparently whoever wrote this article does not understand the difference between watts and watt-hours.

  17. I’m in sunny New Mexico–also windy New Mexico and sometimes softball size hailing New Mexico. How does this hold up to extreme weather?

  18. Would a company like yours consider installing units like these in Puerto Rico who after Hurricane Maria has almost 3 million of the island without electricity and or water? I think this would be best kind of test for your Smartflower, would be great press and a wonderful humanitarian project for your company. Maybe you can partner with other corporations in a project like this.
    This certainly sounds like a great product but price needs to be viable for most instead of the elite.

  19. How will the recent 30% tariff announced by the current US administration impact sales and pricing of the SmartFlower Solar units which are manufactured in Austria?

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.