Retractable Photovoltaic System

by PeriniM, published

Retractable Photovoltaic System by PeriniM Jul 1, 2016
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Hello everybody, this is my prototype of a Retractable Photovoltaic System.


2015 has been proclamed by UNESCO "International Year of Light".
It is " a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how
optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. "

Sun IMG University of Padua (02/11/2015) has launched a contest in order to increase awareness of worldwide issues among students from secondary schools.

So I decided to join the competition focusing on solar energy.

  • How Does It Work

It consists on six panels, arranged as the petals of a flower, and a mechanism (using servos) which allows them to move. My idea was to close the "petals" when there is bad weather (such as rain, snow, hail...), in order to avoid damages to the solar panels, and let them opened when the sun is shining.

  • What's the purpose

I've invented this "solar flower" to be placed in every kind of place you like (desert, hills, mountains...).
If we think of all those solar parks located in a place where snow fallings are not rare, we can notice that they lose a lot of energy because of the whole layer of snow, previously felt on the surface. An issue brought by this problem is the need of a daily routine maintenance, to make them working again (often very expensive).
So, I've focused my mind toward only one thing: increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs

image image

Demostration Video

Print Settings

Printer Brand:



Prusa I2


Doesn't Matter


Doesn't Matter





How I Designed This

First of all I have sketched out my ideas. Took up my pen and started drawing!

  • Sketches

Upper part of the flower

Then I've focused on the measures.

  • 3D Drawings

For all the designs I've used the 2D/3D software Autocad 2015 Student Version.

image Petals' Structure
Flower Mechanism Structure image
  • Renderings

At the end I rendered all the parts for the presentation.

Body Rendered

  • Flower Parts Gathered
  • Tree Parts Gathered
  • Circuit Parts Gathered


<ul> <li><h5><b>3D Printers</b></h5></li> </ul>


Rostock Mini

I have printed all the white parts of the flower and few red ones. (Click on it)

Prusa Mendel I2

I have printed all the purple parts and most of the red ones. (Click on it)

  • Print in progress...
image image
image image

  • Some of the results
image image image


I have decided to use Arduino Nano for programming all the movements of the flower's servos and tree's ones. I have to say that the code is not so easy because I implemented arrays and functions, manual and automatic commands, but it was worth it!

I used a nunchuck controller for driving the servos (it communicates with Arduino through I2C Serial Interface):

You are able to move the flower in whichever position you want, opening and closing it.
Automatic Path
The flower follows a default path which consists on the positions of the sun during the day.

  • Circuit Diagram

<ul> <li><h5><b>Arduino Nano Pinout + Scheme</b></h5></li> </ul>

<ul> <li><h5><b>Circuit Realization</b></h5></li> </ul>

First Version

Final Version


Part 1 - Circuit

The cover is to avoid people touching the electronic components.

Part 2 - Tree

The aim of it is to camouflage the flower when it is at "idle".

Part 3 - Flower

That's the main part of the project.


Final Video

Testing it out


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As Dasflux, how much can this powered? Where do you bought your solar pannel and all equipement ?

Those are not real panels but just prints. Maybe in the future I will apply real ones. :)

How much can this power? Wonder what you could do with a small farm of these.

This is only a concept of what it should do and be. Those are not real panels but just prints. :)