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SUNFLOWER: OakStar Bank’s new solar installation delivers 40 percent more output compared with solar panels.SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON
SUNFLOWER: OakStar Bank’s new solar installation delivers 40 percent more output compared with solar panels.

SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON

OakStar Bank installs solar SmartFlower

Posted online
With few trees to speak of near the corner of National Avenue and Battlefield Road, the sun shines brightly on the intersection – and OakStar Bank is thrilled about it.

The Springfield-based bank recently installed one of the nation’s first SmartFlower Solar systems on its headquarters at 1020 E. Battlefield Road, according to a news release.  

With work by Springfield-based Sun Solar LLC, the SmartFlower mounts on the ground and tracks the sun as it progresses across the horizon. Each morning, the solar panel appears to grow out of the ground into a flower shape, spends the day generating energy and then folds itself back up at night to clean itself in the ground.

According to SmartFlowerSolar.com, the flowers deliver up to 40 percent more output than standard rooftop solar panels. Other SmartFlowers are in place internationally, installed in locations such as the botanical gardens in Madrid, Spain, and at the restaurant Fond Rose in Caluire-et-Cuire, France.

“We’ve been doing this work in Springfield since 2012, and we’re always looking to stay on the cutting edge of the technology,” said Sun Solar CEO Caleb Arthur, in the release. “This is a great opportunity to help OakStar Bank take more control of their own energy, and we’re grateful to be a part of that.”

OakStar officials could not be reached for comment on the SmartFlowers’ cost or installation fees, but online estimates put the flower between $16,000 and $22,000. Federal rebates are available to recoup up to 30 percent of costs.

The SmartFlower installation is one in a line of solar projects OakStar Bank has added to its properties, according to the release. Including the SmartFlower, the bank now has seven separate solar installations totaling over 340 kilowatt hours of power – or enough to power roughly 20 typical American homes.

“At OakStar we continually focus on progress that is beneficial to our organization and beneficial to our communities. This solar project was a perfect fit for that focus,” said OakStar President and CEO Randy Johnson, in the release.


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