Three curious and progressive-minded friends living in Burgenland, Austria circa 2010 set out to a create a completely new and unique solar solution- inspired by the sunflower- in attempt to challenge the status quo of the solar energy market at the time. Static, monochrome solar panels were unamusing to the eye, often required multiday installation and created a number of potential issues for the buyer’s roof.
Alex Swatek, one of the three founders of smartflower energy technology GmbH, envisioned the driving concept of the product even before putting pen to paper, “It was clear that it had to be an all-in-one solution.”
So, over dinner and a few glasses of wine, Swatek and his two partners drew up the concept and look of smartflower on a napkin, paying keen attention to the aesthetics. “Generally, green tech is not renown for its correlation with design,” noted Swatek. He knew he could capitalize on the lack of creativity in the design of traditional solar panels to create an unparalleled solar solution.
But what does he mean by all-in-one, you ask? It’s quite simple. All of the electronic components – the inverter, monitor, and batteries, are housed in the cabinet of the unit and the modular solar petals are directly connected through the tracking device positioned on the top of the cabinet. This allows the unit to be delivered completely assembled and in most cases, it can be installed in just a few hours.
Once the unit has been installed and powered on, it operates autonomously. Smartflower automatically fans out its solar petals at sunrise to face and track the sun at a ninety-degree angle throughout the day and then closes up as evening falls to stow away for the of the night. The smartflower’s ability to follow the sun throughout the day is achieved through GPS based dual axis tracking.
Fast forward to Spring, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Approximately 4,036 miles away, Jim Gordon– the CEO of SmartFlower North America.—was perusing the internet when he came across a sleek looking solar solution accompanied by an inspirational sentiment from Swatek: “With smartflower we want to send a clear message, to make the world a better one.”
Less than twenty-four hours later, Gordon hopped on a plane to Austria to meet with Swatek with the goal of establishing a relationship with the Austrian company. Gordon has been a moving force in the energy industry for over forty years and is passionate about reducing the environment’s carbon footprint. He was particularly fascinated with smartflower’s ability to serve as a very visible statement for taking a stance on climate change and thinking sustainably.
Today, SmartFlower North America (SFNA) is the exclusive distributor for smartflower energy GmbH in the Western Hemisphere. SFNA has set up two-tiers of resellers to help bring the product to market—certified Dealers and Sales Partners will work with local consumers and businesses in their designated territory to ensure a smooth purchase process, which includes providing any necessary assistance post delivery and installation. Freeing homeowners, businesses, and municipalities from increasing energy costs and enabling more people to produce their own clean energy is what it all comes down to for SFNA.