SUNBOT or the popularly known smart flower owing its name to its flower like appearance is an innovative product being set up in many universities of the United States such as North Colorado University but has yet to popularize itself in India.
Claiming to be the world’s first intelligent energy plant, it offers much more than the conventional static solar panels. It is a photovoltaic flower system with its solar panels arranged as the petals of a flower that automatically unfold during daytime to capture maximum solar energy. The solar cells bearing petals of the solar flower just like those of a sunflower due to its dual axis and trackers follows the movements of the Sun allowing 40% more production than the traditional ones. Working on better technology and low maintenance requirements, it works as an overall self-sufficient device that outcompetes other solar based devices. One of the most important advantage is its portability and high ease of set up. It can be put up in a few hours unlike the bulky installation of solar panels. The effectiveness of this device can not only be seen in its energy capturing efficiency but also as a self-cleaning device. The petals when closed uses already installed brushes that clean the petals. Its designing gives it a superior edge with added benefits such as smart cooling and smart system. When detected bad weather conditions, the petals close themselves to minimize the damage.
It does pose as a better option in terms of design and efficiency but its high cost plays the biggest factor in making people question its worth and necessity. Cost may be the prime factor it is not that popular. Before adding the incentives and the tax credits, it may range from $25,000 to $30,000 while the conventional devices of nearly the same size may vary between $14-15,000. Eventually, it comes down to the person’s requirements and preferences. If a person prefers effectiveness, the smartflower has an edge but the low cost and higher affordability of the conventional rooftop solar panels may be more appealing for the customers.
All in all, it is a new technology which has a lot of scope and if used efficiently, it can prove to be very beneficial.