A solar electric lawnmower should be a consideration for the environmentally-conscious homeowner.
Expansive areas of beautifully edged and cut lawns are becoming something of a rarity today. We can afford neither the time to keep them neat and tidy, nor the costly ground in our busy cities.
But for those privileged to live in an area where life is not quite so frenetic, a beautiful terrace is a must. Do you want a backyard where your kids can enjoy an outdoor childhood, far from play-stations, and other computer games?
It does come at a cost, though; for half an hour every week the television must be turned off to satisfy the demands of your own park. That must come before the golfing greens and, for me, glider-ports.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 26th February, 2020.
How to cut that grass is a matter of personal taste. I hate the petrol-mower myself; they always seem to be difficult to start and it is easy to pull a muscle or spring a rib when repeatedly tugging on that cord.
This DC sees these sorts of injuries regularly in the practice, and I have the T-shirt myself.
Plus electric mowers are about a third cheaper to purchase, never need servicing and certainly, if you have a solar generator, can be powered for free. They always start at a squeeze of the switch; no sweat.
The cord does get cut periodically; always use a ferrule to join the wires and solder it, or they come undone when tugging on the cable.
My advice is to buy the biggest motor you can; mine is 3kW which at the time was the most powerful on the market. It does not stall easily when you hit the thick grass.
A solar electric lawnmower requires more power than its rating to start; it is all about induction.
Solar power energy is free; but a large, expensive inverter is necessary to provide electricity for your lawnmower. Mine draws 3kW and probably double that to start.
You need at least a 7kW inverter.
The downside of an electric lawnmower, solar or otherwise, is the cable; keeping it out of the way of the blades requires real concentration. Mind you, it is best to pay attention in any case; most of us know someone who has lost a toe or two. Power tools are intrinsically dangerous.
When cutting on a bank I do not believe that a solar electric mower is any more or less dangerous than a petrol grass-cutter.
Frankly I have no idea whether the cost of petrol or electricity is more; the joy of our solar job is that it is for free. They require far less maintenance too.
And now let us discuss more about the solar part of an electric lawnmower. Firstly I have owned several over the years; they last for ever, but if you go for the 3kW that I recommend, you will need a large inverter.
My 5kW inverter was not sufficient to run the three kilowatt solar electric lawnmower. Owing to the so-called inductive load more electricity is required to start a motor than to keep it in motion. But after the solar powered generator upgrade, my 10kW inverter provides plenty of energy.
What is an inductive load is for the guy who wants to be a wise geek. I am not being sarcastic; it is the name of the site.
3200 watts of PV panels previously, and now 4100W means that you can easily power your lawnmower; stopping periodically to empty the catcher-box gives the batteries a chance to top up again on a bright sunny day.
Solar power energy comes for free remember but only when the sun is shining.
On cloudy days the incoming energy drops by a half or more. However, our mobile solar carts are now providing an extra 900 watts so there is plenty of electricity on a bright sunny day.
Personally I would never go back to a petrol lawnmower, but my brother is equally emphatic; he would not use an electric either. But he is mechanically minded and loves to strip carburetors and play with engines in general. It is a matter of taste.
One other factor is that I am a greenie; the idea of using a petrol lawnmower is slightly repugnant, and I look forward to the day when I can own a wholly electric motor car; they exist now but are still very expensive, and the batteries barely adequate. I reckon by 2020 we will all be considering a change; certainly for our second vehicle.
Monday, 9th March, 2015 was a watershed day; the first aircraft powered only by sunshine, Solar Impulse 2, began a maiden attempt at a round the world flight. On all fronts, scientists and adventurers are challenging hithto unthought-of heights. She finished the journey successfully too though not without some doubts over the long leg from China to Hawaii.
Bernard Preston is a retired DC; he is also a physics major and hence his interest in solar electric lawnmowers and the like.
Motorcycling is his passion, but only advanced e-bikes like the Zero are available currently; he is waiting for moderately priced wheels that will take up the surplus power from his solar farm during the day.
Instead of a motorcycle, the E-car has landed.
Of course, greenies like Bernard Preston are also into compost piles, as grass cuttings from the solar electric lawnmower make the very best humus. The heap gets very hot and the vegetable material breaks down in a matter of months; weeks if the hens are allowed to climb over the pile, and add their manure rich in nitrogen.
Making a compost pile is an everyday affair for the gardener; whether it is uncooked kitchen waste, grass cuttings, or small prunings, that humus is vital for your organic vegetables.
More recently, since rats have been invading our compost heaps for kitchen waste, the latter has been reserved for our worm farm. It is sealed off sufficiently so that they can get air, but no vermin can enter.
The wonder of worm farms is something every gardener, whether you have a solar electric lawnmower or not, should consider. They turn waste from your kitchen into magnificent manure and can be introduced by the thousands to your compost pile; we also feed them to the chickens.
Just look at this tomato plant simply exploding on the grass cuttings
compost pile. Giant butternut like this one thrive on the material from
your solar electric lawnmower.
These plants are more adept at capturing sunlight than we are, but humans are catching up.
In short, if you want to run a solar electric lawnmower you are going to need a big inverter; so says Bernard Preston.
The solar powered generator, capturing the energy of the sun, provides the electricity that will drive your electric lawnmower; and a lot of other home appliances from the oven to your dishwasher, and of course the LED lights and computers.
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