[Republished with permission from Sunergy Solar & Batteries] While natural gas may have once been the cheapest energy source for hot water and...
Solar power technology has an amazing ability to end up in all sorts of places and in all sorts of uses. Solar panels are seen across Australian neighbourhoods, in Antarctica, and even in outer space! But just as solar can generate a high level of energy in large installations, it can of course also function well on a smaller scale. In backyards across Oz solar-powered lights, speakers, and eskies can be found. It’s perhaps little surprise to learn then there’s the expectation the solar-powered lawn mower will make its way into widespread use soon.
But could a lawn mower really come to claim a place amidst this collection of other solar-powered backyard staples? Let’s look at the ins and outs of its potential now.
Defining the Different Types of Lawn Mower
Everyone can recognise by default what a solar-powered lawn mower is at its essence. But ultimately there’s a number of different types of lawn mowers out there. The variables between these different types of mowers are having a bearing on the development of solar-powered versions.
First, there are small lawn mowers that resemble an indoor robot vacuum. These are nifty little units, but they’ve also got smaller capabilities than their larger relations. Then we’ve got ‘regular’ lawn mowers, those machines that are sitting in many of our reader’s garages right now. Finally, we come to commercial-grade lawn mowers. Those designed for use on large tracts of grass as found in public parks and golf courses.
So Are Solar-powered Lawn Mowers Actually Available Yet?
At present, the range of solar products in the gardening industry is still growing. This is reflected in the lawn mower category. This said, a number of promising milestones have been hit throughout the years when it comes to making solar-powered versions of this iconic backyard machine a reality. The Husqvarna Automower Solar Hybrid - powered by solar and a NiMH battery - actually made its way to market some years ago offering a mower that was not only partly solar-powered but also made from 90% recycled materials. An interesting - if impractical - ‘regular’ solar-powered lawn mower was made as a concept by university student Samuel Hamill in 2012.
But perhaps most notable of all is the startup company Graze’s ambitions to see an autonomous commercial lawn mower powered by solar. While their machines are presently understood to be reliant on batteries for now, if successful in a transition to solar Graze’s rollout of its new mower could drive substantial change not only in the lawn mowing sector but in the wider landscaping and agricultural industries too.
When many of our readers think about positive action surrounding climate change in the years to come, thoughts about ending the use of coal power plants, phasing out petrol-powered cars, and seeing big business made to adopt greener practices will loom large as the most compelling ways to combat climate change. There’s no doubt action in these areas is very worthwhile. But just as decisive moves can and must occur by key stakeholders in these fields going forward, it’s also the case that any small change which drives a positive impact all across the grassroots level, could of course also make a substantial contribution to shifting the needle in a big way.
Accordingly, the idea of a solar-powered lawn mower may sound very futuristic to those hearing about them for the first time. But it’s expected they’ll eventually become a common sight in Australian neighbourhoods. Yet more significantly, there will be many other solar products that also become ubiquitous around the home and garden - in fact, many products that make up key elements of a ‘futuristic’ smart home are actually available for use today. It’s why anyone intrigued by the idea of a solar-powered lawn mower in future will surely find looking more into the usefulness of solar in the home and garden right now is certainly time well spent.
From the Ground to the Roof
Ultimately, optimising a home and property for renewable energy typically begins with a rooftop solar system. There’s no question that additions to the backyard like a solar-powered lawn mower could be fantastic, but for a regular household really looking to build their property’s solar power capabilities, a rooftop solar system provides a way to become more energy efficient, drive down the cost of living expenses, and can help make a household’s operations across the whole property cleaner and greener.
And indeed, anyone intent on utilising an eco-friendly lawn mower today that draws its energy from solar power should keep in mind they wouldn’t need to actually use a mower that’s solar-powered to achieve this. By using an electric mower and then charging its batteries with power generated from a rooftop solar system, it’s possible to cut the grass and also cut out the use of fossil fuels while doing so.
This avenue is an option that could serve as a ‘temporary fix’ for those enthused with the idea of one day having a solar-powered lawn mower, as well as potentially being a permanent solution for anyone keen to decisively do away with the old can of fuel in their garage that powers their current lawn mower.
Cutting Through With the Solar-powered Lawn Mower
There’s no doubt that the solar-powered lawn mower is rightfully a talking piece. But this said, just as the way in which many Australians interact with their homes is undergoing a considerable change in an era where ongoing digitisation and the outbreak of a pandemic has rapidly altered how we live and work, so too is our relationship with natural resources evolving also. Solar power is no longer regarded as an ‘optional extra’ in meeting our future energy needs, but it’s instead at the forefront of Australia’s renewable energy growth.
In this regard, the idea of a solar-powered lawn mower may at first appear to many to simply be a cool new take on an existing machine. But the fact is a substantial shift towards using renewable-powered garden tools - in lieu of those that burn fuel - will make a small but clear contribution to a more eco-friendly country. And just as it takes time for a tree to grow in the backyard, little steps like these taken each day will really add up over time for the benefit of all.
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