Caribbean Utilities Company has installed the country’s first SmartFlower 2.5-kilowatt system at its adopted roundabout by Kings Sports Centre.
The moving sculpture is intended to encourage discussion about electricity in Cayman, according to CUC. SmartFlower opens in the morning, tracks the sun and closes at sunset, when it automatically folds up and cleans itself.
In addition to its aesthetic quality, Pat Bynoe-Clarke, CUC manager of corporate communications, explained the device has the benefit of offsetting the cost of electricity used at the roundabout and offers a unique point of interest along with the local flora and fauna on display.
“CUC is pleased to be able to launch this solar flower, one of a kind in the Caribbean,” Bynoe-Clarke said. “The company continues to work with the regulator (OfReg) to bring other renewable energy options to the Grand Cayman market and we are looking forward to a positive outcome from our discussions.”
James Whittaker, founder of GreenTech Solar, said the system costs between $30,000 and $35,000, depending on the foundation.
GreenTech Solar is the local agent for the solar flower., with the installation overseen by project manager Dac Moore and a team from CUC.
“The SmartFlower is a piece of art that pays for itself. You are not going to buy these to power your house directly because they are half as efficient as the regular solar panels,” Whittaker explained.
He said it produces more than 6,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and is mostly used commercially, although it could also benefit residential customers.
Bynoe-Clarke explained that the roundabout took about two years to plan and design. The build-out for the SmartFlower took six months.
CUC hopes the system will last between 15 and 20 years, she said.