Winner of this year's VERBUND-E-Novation Award- in short VERENA- are smartflower energy technology GmbH, a company from Güssing in Burgenland, along with its partner AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, for the project "smartflowerTM". VERBUND, Austria's leading electricity company, will award the prize within the framework of the Austrian state prize for innovation. In cooperation with the AIT, smartflower energy technology was able to develop the world's first plug-and-play solar power station, which provides a 40% increase in yields and cleans itself every time it is opened or closed.
"As the leading electricity company with a focus on renewable energy sources from hydropower, we're actively participating in shaping the energy transition. This is why we have been encouraging and supporting projects for over ten years, which bring new energy technology closer to the market and therefore also to customers", emphasises VERBUND CEO Wolfgang Anzengruber. "The number and quality of the submitted projects proves once more, that there is a strong consciousness regarding environmentally-friendly electricity production. We are pushing the issue forward, although the integration of renewable energy sources in the current grid network poses a technical and economical challenge for us. Keeping up with trends, creating new business models and offering our customers more value- this is what we focus on. The sponsorship prize VERENA is an important component of the new restructuring of the future of energy", he says.
The company from Güssing "smartflower" took the sunflower, which opens up in the morning, follows the sun's course during the day and closes itself up once more in the evening, as a model and developed a spectacular photovoltaic facility around it. The first plug-and-play system worldwide in the form of a large sunflower, which independently directs itself towards the sun, cleans itself and can produce around a third more electricity than roof-top units, presents a fantastic increase in efficiency. The mobile photovoltaic system from Güssing is easy to set up, attach and open up and covers the average electricity needs of a home independently of oil, gas and electricity prices. Sales structures for Austria, Germany and eight other countries have already been created.
For VERENA, two further projects were nominated: the Sommer GmbH from Koblach, which has developed an environmentally-friendly analysis tool in order to better predict snow melts and risks of avalanches. And the engineer Rudolf Schwarzmayr e.U. from St. Georgen has made a significant contribution to the energy balance for buildings with the first solar active house facade called "thermocollect".
The VERBUND-E-Novation Award (VERENA) this year was handed out for the twelfth time by the leading Austrian electricity company VERBUND for innovative ideas in the areas of energy efficiency, energy management and smart grids, electric mobility as well as electricity from renewable energy sources. VERENA should encourage research and finance and be implemented in cooperation with future-orientated measures. Since 2012 VERENA has been awarded as a special prize from the state prize for innovation.