Like holidaymakers stretched out on a beach, 3 start-ups decided to get the most out of every last ray of sun. But they’re not after a nice tan – they want more energy.
Smartflower, the solar sunflower
Developed by an Austrian company, the solar sunflower known as smartflowerTM is equipped with 480 monocrystalline cells. At sunrise, this high-tech flower opens up its petals, reaching a total surface area of 18 m2, and turns throughout the day, carefully following the sun. In the evening, it automatically folds back up. Configured using GPS based on its position, the sunflower is controlled by an anemometer, which adapts rotation to the wind speed. With a yield 40% higher than roof-mounted solar panels, it provides enough energy to meet the average demand of a French home. Installed on the terrace of the Fond Rose restaurant in Lyon, owned by Paul Bocuse, the smartflower is marketed by EDF Energies Renouvelables.
Optimum Tracker, finding the sun even when it’s hidden
This start-up looks for the sun right up in the clouds. Recently established in the United States, the French company Optimum Tracker had already improved solar farm productivity by 20% using its trackers. Its tracking heads, which place the solar panels in the optimum position facing the sun, are set to become 10% more efficient thanks to a new algorithm. Built using sunlight luminance maps (a tool that measures the ability of a given area to capture sun rays), watts hidden in cloud cover can be found, ensuring that electricity can be generated whatever the weather. As a result, these trackers can find the sun even when it’s hidden.
Exosun, following the sun’s path
The Gironde-based company Exosun, a global pioneer in solar trackers, is another sun-hunter that’s attracting attention across the pond. After equipping a solar farm in Oregon, it won a contract in Chile with EDF Energies Nouvelles. Two-thirds of the plant – over 270,000 solar modules – located in the Atacama Desert will be fitted with the company’s devices. Eventually, the farm will supply 120,000 Chilean homes. These trackers have the key feature of following the sun’s path extremely accurately.
To go further
VoSS: storing solar energy is easy!Photovoltaïque : le suivi du soleil par tracker – (lenergeek.com)
Source:: Ever closer to the sun