Author Topic: Smartflower Solar Power System  (Read 3488 times)

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Offline oldnewbTopic starter

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Smartflower Solar Power System
« on: March 27, 2017, 08:08:12 pm »
Came across this in my Internet travels: https://www.smartflowerpacific.com/

I'm skeptical that the additional mechanical complexity of a "Smartflower" comes close to paying for itself in terms of increased power production, but I'm no solar expert.  I'm interested in hearing the opinions of those with more solar experience.
 

Offline Codebird

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Re: Smartflower Solar Power System
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 08:31:00 am »
That thing looks ridiculously complicated.

Tracking solar panels do have substantially higher productivity - but all you need for that is a simple pivot and an actuator. Maybe two pivots and two actuators if you want to do tracking in both dimensions. That... thing... it's just got far too many moving parts. It's going to cost a fortune, and break down far too often.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Smartflower Solar Power System
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 03:18:02 am »
I always thought it would be neat to have something that expands/folds like that but a circle seems like an inefficient way given solar cells are square, but it is quite neat.   My idea has always consisted of something similar to what the space station uses, some kind of scissor mechanism with an accordion style panel.  Even that would be tricky to do on Earth though because of gravity.  I guess if you had some kind of torsion spring to make it so it wants to be in whatever position it's been left in, then it's less stress on the piston/motor and if that fails it's not going to slam down.   The idea of something foldable like this is that it could fold away when it's snowing and only expand when it's sunny and not snowing. The tracking can be nice too.   Of course you'd need tons of sensors throughout all the mechanical parts to detect anything that seizes so that you can get an alarm and it can stop.  Wind would also be an issue.  Where I am we get random wind storms at times, not hurricane force winds or anything, but really strong bursts of wind.  So even if you have something that detects wind and folds it up if it's too windy, it would never see those bursts come and it will end up in another neighborhood just like the neighbor's trampoline.  :-DD
 

Offline bazza

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Re: Smartflower Solar Power System
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 08:38:53 am »

650KG.
~20,000 UK pounds.

The first "plug and play" solar solution, yet they don't seem very proud of showing exactly how it is hooked up. Why?

* ground space is probably more precious (and less available) than unused roof space for most people; even with ground-mounting, a suitably stable place is needed
* this thing folds up in bad weather, probably meaning less power generation (or none at all) during bad weather
* this thing is 'portable' if you don't mind hiring a crane; it would probably be easier to dismount & flat-pack regular panels
* I would rather not ask how much a replacement petal costs if it gets damaged, nor would I ask how this product caters to different power-generation needs at different price points, nor ask how I can take advantage of the latest panel tech as time goes on

Another overpriced boutique item catering to people who must have something different.
 

Offline Codebird

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Re: Smartflower Solar Power System
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 08:09:30 pm »
I thought of a use for it. Greenwashing.

Sometimes it's not enough for a company to actually be sustainable. They want the world to see how high-tech and green they are, and especially for potential customers to see. No-one is going to notice some photovoltaics on the roof, but a couple of these things should be showy enough.
 


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