Austrian Developer of Solar + Storage “Smart Flower” Quietly Goes Insolvent

Late in 2017, the company that developed the innovative “Smart Flower,” a solar+storage product that comes to life when the sun rises, tracks the sun all day and then stores some of the energy captured for later use, announced it was insolvent.

According to German credit protection association AKV, bankruptcy proceedings were opened against the company on November 17, 2017. The company has outstanding debts of about $5.2 million euros to 20 creditors and sales to date have not been enough to cover its costs, the proceedings stated. Debtors had until January 15, 2018 to file claims against the company.

Smart Flower hit the U.S. in 2016 when investor Jim Gordon, the man behind Cape Wind, exhibited the Smart Flower at Intersolar North America in San Francisco. At that time, Jim Gordon sat down with Cassie Haley of PowerToday to discuss his new venture. You can watch the video at this link.

Related: Solar Powered Smart Flowers Are New Focus for Cape Wind Champion Jim Gordon

U.S. Division of Solar + Storage Smart Flower Readies for U.S. Solar Manufacturing

While the Austrian Smart Flower developer may be insolvent, the U.S. division is going strong, according to Jim Gordon, CEO. Gordon said that when he invested in the company, he purchased the intellectual property (IP) rights.

“We have the western hemisphere,” he said.

The company is continuing to operate as usual, selling the units that Gordon purchased with his original investment in the company, which are currently in a warehouse in the U.S.

“We are selling the product, customers like it and we are going to be starting U.S. manufacturing,” he said.

Gordon declined to offer many details about the manufacturing plans for the company but said that it will be in “a New England state.” He said he is working with a reputable contract manufacturer that has experience manufacturing equipment of this form and function.

Gordon added that the company plans to improve the product with the addition of EV charging and integrated battery storage.

More Solar Insolvencies

Last week, Germany’s SolarWorld also filed for insolvency, which is the second time in less than one year that the company said it was bankrupt. After the May 2017 filing, the company received a bailout from Qatar but troubles remained, hence last week’s second insolvency.  

This article was updated on April 3, 2018, at 2:45 p.m. ET, with comments from Jim Gordon.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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