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Sun tracking solar panel generates interest in Saskatoon students

Click to play video: 'Sun tracking solar panel generates interest in Saskatoon students' Sun tracking solar panel generates interest in Saskatoon students
The device dubbed the Smartflower Microgrid is an intelligent solar-powered energy system that unfolds as the sun rises, follows the sun to maximize the energy absorbed, and folds back up during the evening – Sep 23, 2022

A solar panel that moves with the sun was showcased at Bishop James Mahoney (BJM) High School in Saskatoon on Thursday.

The device dubbed the Smartflower Microgrid (MG) is an intelligent solar-powered energy system that unfolds as the sun rises, follows the sun to maximize the energy absorbed, and folds back up during the evening.

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The Smartflower also has a wind sensor, so any winds generated over 60 kilometres an hour will cause the Smartflower to fold back up to protect itself.

Siemens Canada said this device produces between 4,000 to 6,400 kWh/year.

The Saskatoon Industry Education Council (SIEC) said the Smartflower MG is powering a classroom, provides data on electricity production, and helps power the rest of the building when the classroom is not in use.

Executive Director Janet Uchacz-Hart said this is aimed at generating interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with students.

“SIEC is pleased to be able to provide opportunities to students in K-12 to learn about career pathways in the green energy sector. Access to the Smartflower technology and connecting it to STEM education is a great way to showcase what careers are available now and in the future in Saskatchewan,” Uchacz-Hart said.

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Dan Toogood, a biology instructor at BJM, said students will learn about the Smartflower as they start delving into climate change and solar power.

“One of the big conversations in Science 10 is climate change and sustainability, and I plan on linking that into this, and showing how solar energy will be a really big part of our future,” Toogood said.

“We are excited to offer students the opportunity to learn about renewable microgrid installations. It is very rewarding to see young people excited about working with these technologies in the classroom and using the knowledge to make their own homes and communities sustainable,” said Faisal Kazi, president and CEO of Siemens Canada.

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