Robotic Flower Solar Panels | Future House | Ask This Old House



Ask This Old House home technology expert Ross Trethewey sees a robotic, ground mounted solar array that mimics a sunflower.
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Steps:
1. The solar panel array is installed by securing four massive earth screws into the ground to act as a base.
2. The solar panel array is then craned off of a truck into place on top of the earth screws.
3. A trench is dug from the array to the house. Conduits are placed in the trench containing a hot, ground, neutral, and a Cat5 cable. The Cat5 cable allows the system to take in weather and location data.
4. Once the array is secured to the base and wired up, the latitude and longitude of the area is programmed into the system and it can be powered up.

Resources:
The solar flower Ross saw installed is called the SmartFlower, and it is manufactured by SmartFlower Solar (

About Future House:
Ask This Old House home technology expert Ross Trethewey shows you the newest smart-home innovations. From automated home construction to energy monitors to robotic solar panels, and more, find out what’s happening now and what’s coming in applied home science.

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Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

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Robotic Flower Solar Panels | Future House | Ask This Old House

30 comments

  1. If that was in Sparta I would love if they put a giant Spartan statue holding the panels up like a shield.

  2. It is expensive compared to other traditional panels and I am concerned with their customer service response reported by the lady that contacted them. Can you please do a follow up segment on this?

  3. As far as I know, the Austrian company was bought by a US investment firm. In Austria the smartflower POP (standard version) is available from 12,600 euros (= 15,200 dollar), an installation fee of 1,320 euros (= 1,600 dollar) must be added, and you may also need a prefabricated concrete foundation, an earth screw or a custom colour for the smart flower. Due to the very good rear ventilation of the solar cells, the optimal alignment of the solar cells to the sun and the daily (automatic) cleaning of the solar cells, this solar flower offers very good power yields compared to conventional roof solar cells.

  4. 2.5 kwh for 30 thousand dollars. I have a 10 kw system, roof-mounted that is less than 10k more than this system. As much as I like the tracking system, it's not viable and doesn't glean enough energy by tracking to justify that markup. It's a great concept, thanks for sharing!

  5. How many batteries can the area hold? Are they lithium batteries I live in ny will the cold affect the charge of batteries since they are in the unit not in a building I'm just learning about solar and its batteries

  6. It is a great idea. But why is Solar still 30k. If you your electric bill average of $200 a month it will be 12 years before you see a return. Solar energy has been around for over 60 years. Price keep going up. They will sell a lot more if they make it affordable.

  7. Maybe it is so expensive bcs its from overseas. The solarflower is an invention from Austria. Here it cost 15000 €, like 16500 $. It cost more if you want a special color on it.

  8. Produce it at $5000 a shot then you get some where. Solar needs to be a 5 year or less investment to make it for people to want. 15 years is too long.

  9. The smartflower as it's originally called was created and designed first in Austria. Where is this guy coming from. I was the reseller of Smartflower in Ghana until the Americans bought it from the Austrians

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