Solar panel shaped like a sunflower “folds and blooms” as it follows the sun
I love this design. It makes so much sense that it would be in the shape of a sunflower and it's amazing to watch it "bloom".
Elijah Chan

As the planet reels from rising temperatures, new energy sources must be utilized.

One of the most promising is solar.

Harnessing power from a source that’s available almost half the entire day is not only practical, but it’s also clean.

It has no residue from combustion or no dangerous radioactive byproducts.

The technology used for solar energy has come a long way since its inception. And through the years, organizations have found ways to make it more efficient and eye-catching.

A sunflower made of glass and metal

In Bishop James Mahoney Catholic High School in Saskatoon, a new attraction was installed in the lawn area.

Students and teachers alike had the opportunity to watch a metal sunflower greet the sun.

This is the Smartflower.

The installation is a solar energy device that mimics a sunflower’s heliotropism. Just like the flower, this device tracks the sun’s movement across the sky.

It blooms and unfurls its solar petal when the sun is up and folds and cleans itself at night. It also closes itself when it senses fast winds that can tear through its panels.

Smartflower was founded in Austria.

Then, it was acquired by Energy Management Inc., a Boston-based company.

According to Smartflower’s website, the company’s vision is to “offer an elegant option to those who believe in sustainability for a better energy and environmental future.”

An investment in the future

The unit itself costs around $25,000 and the installation fees can go up to $6,000.

However, like seeds to a plant, the investment banks on long-term sustainable energy solutions for homes, farms, and businesses.

Back at Bishop James Mahoney Catholic High School in Saskatoon, the faculty intends to be much more sustainable in terms of energy consumption and to take advantage of the opportunity to teach and show their students the marvels of solar energy.

Companies are attesting to its brilliance.

“A great way to highlight the importance of renewable electricity.” Says Chrisitan Sveigaard of Tuborg, Denmark about Smartflower. Tuborg is part of the Carlsberg Group.

“The three Smartflowers are producing energy to supplant the energy consumption in our Freight farm, which produces 1200 heads of lettuce per week and is donated to the greater Washington County Food Bank.” Says Donald Snoke, Assistant Superintendent of the Trinity Area School District.

“It’s really important because it not only generates electricity but it also stops a lot of visitors who are going ‘what is that?’ and it gives us a chance to have a conversation about renewable energy.” Shares Ron Kagan, CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society.

Back at Saskatoon, educators are excited to incorporate the Smartflower into their curriculum.

The students will have a chance to study how the technology works and the science behind the innovative device.

Along with other partners, they are optimistic that this eye-stopper will start the conversation about climate change and renewable energy and inspire students and future generations in making the technology more efficient and accessible.

Learn more about the Smartflower in the video below!

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