Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Started a New Solar Lawn Care company

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Started a New Solar Lawn Care company

    Well after watching several "lawn care" people butcher yards, I believe Scalp is the correct term. I started getting a little pissed, so I've been researching the subject and put together a spread sheet on potential income. That looked promising so I bit the bullet and started.

    I have an 5X8 enclosed trailer, inside I have a 36v mower (lead acid) and the Edger, string trimmer, hedger and blower are all 36v LiIon. The blower is a little weak but I only use it on hard surfaces.

    The trailer has 160 watts of solar panels keeping a nice big deep cycle 12 battery charged all day and the inverter keeps the LiIon and mower charged between uses.

    I started last month and have 6 clients without really doing any advertising, that starts this weekend. I'll be going door to door in the areas I'm already working and picking up the locals.

    I'm incorporated, have a Million dollar liability and business lisc I want to start off Right and put some Illegal workers out of a job.

    Any advice on the care of the lawns would be helpful.

    Whats it take to get a Lisc for Fertilizer. I'd like to stay as organic as possible.

    I'd also like to do weeklys but what do you do in the "off" season as we never have Snow? Southern California, Los Angeles area.

    Thanks,

    John

  • #2
    I live in Florida and here we also have no off season, I mow year round

    Comment


    • #3
      First E-Mail

      That's kind of fun, I received our first e-mail to quote someone this morning.

      They saw our brightly colored trailer on the way to another job.

      Nice.

      John

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to our forum!

        The trailer has 160 watts of solar panels keeping a nice big deep cycle 12 battery charged all day and the inverter keeps the LiIon and mower charged between uses.
        I'd love to see some pics of your set up.

        Are you including that you are a solar powered business in your marketing material?
        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
        Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yup, I have the sides and back of the trailer vinyl wrapped, it's pretty festive.

          The solar panels I had custom made for me for another project. Seems anything on a house needs to be UL approved or the city won't allow them. I didn't have $80,000 sitting around for testing so one ward and up ward.

          No sitting around at a gas station for 30ish minutes at 4+ a gallon. No oil changes, no spark plugs, no air filters, etc. etc. etc.

          The biggest thing is keeping the blade sharp, it makes a real difference.

          I got hired yesterday because I am the only "Green" guy they could find. Thankfully their lawn is about 100 square feet. I can do roughly 1/2 acre a day keeping the one battery on charge in between uses. A second battery will be needed soon for the mower. All the other equipment I just rotate the LiIon and don't have a problem.

          I'll get some photos of the trailer.

          John

          Comment


          • #6
            How come all you can do is 1/2 acre a day ? Unfortunately if thats the case ,I fail to see how you can make a real go of this as thats less than an hours production with a gas push mower .

            Comment


            • #7
              How come all you can do is 1/2 acre a day ? Unfortunately if thats the case ,I fail to see how you can make a real go of this as thats less than an hours production with a gas push mower .
              Maybe hes charging $250 a hour. Other then that I see the same problem. He would need like 8 batteries.

              Comment


              • #8
                All the other equipment I just rotate the LiIon and don't have a problem.
                What kind of life expectancy can you get with those batteries? Have you had any die on you yet?
                - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Battery Life

                  Thanks for the interest.

                  The battery for the mower can do 1/2 acre per charge, sorry if I wasn't clear. Keeping it on the charger in between use, keeps the voltage up. The LiIon can take thousands of charges and don't suffer from the voltage drop the Lead Acid Battery experience. Life span of the Lead Acid - not sure, there are a boat load of variables to take into consideration. A second Battery is only $100.00 so still less than sitting at a gas station more than once a week @4.00 a gallon plus time.

                  FYI- The average lawn here in SoCal is measured in feet not acres. The one I'm doing this Wed is only 20'X10' Long side and 20'x5' on the short side. The biggest lawn I'm doing is a corner lot that wraps around and takes about 15 minutes to mow, no power loss by time I'm done, and it's thick Bermuda Grass. Most lawns are around 300 square feet. More edging and hedging than anything.

                  John

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe hes charging $250 a hour. Other then that I see the same problem. He would need like 8 batteries.
                    I wish it was $250 an hour, that's my bill out rate for Fiber Optic Component testing at my full time job. I'm attempting to keep it around $50.00 per hour so I'm here for the long term.

                    John

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      John have you experimented much with different solar panels and found there are those you like over others?

                      Any tips on what a newbie in the solar panel world should get to experiment with it?
                      - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                      Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Solar Panels

                        I have messed with a few and tested a couple types.

                        If someone wants to waste money they can buy some raw cells off E-Bay and attempt to make panels. I did, I watched the videos and got some cells, etc. etc. etc. etc. STOP, save your money and buy a commercial product. You'll save $$ and have a panel that works.

                        For the panel design I chose 6"x6" Poly cells, not as efficient as the Mono's but less $$ and still over kill for my needs.

                        Any specific information your looking at? I designed my panels around a residential installation and have 1,000+ watts so I used them for my business.

                        John

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The other day I saw harbor freight had some 45 watt panels.

                          What's your view on these to experiment with?

                          http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-p...att-68751.html

                          - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                          Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Solar Panels

                            Those panels are "thin film" or "Amorphous silicon solar cells" aka low power. The efficiency of that type of panel is around 10% or less. 45 watts is not much and the amps are really low. They do very well in low light conditions or cloudy conditions. Once the sun hits them they heat up and the efficiency goes down.

                            They are good to keep around to charge a battery on a mower, boat or something of that nature. The invertor is pretty small and it's DC only. So you won't be able to plug in anything AC.

                            When charging batteries you need voltage above the voltage of what you are trying to charge. So a 12v battery needs around 18v to charge it. This takes into account the losses of the system. On top of that the charger is not an MPPT charger, so you lose all the extra voltage. MPPT chargers are more expensive but pull a load on the panels so they operate at their peak performance. example - Those panels are "Rated Output 14.5 V~ / 15 W (per solar panel)" they are wired in series which increases the voltage, so all told they are 45 watts at roughly 42.5v an less than one (1) amp. The battery will not charge at 42.5v so the controller "waste" the 20v overage. An MPPT controller will pull a load on the panels, which will calculate where on the Voltage/Amp curve the knee is and charge there putting more AMPS into the battery. Here is a good explanation - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum...Point_Tracking

                            For $150 on sale, Yes they are a good value for the money to keep a battery charged and some lights going in a small cabin or trailer. Will they power a house - NO WAY. It cracks me up when I read about people investing in 8 pairs of these, which is only 360 watts and would cost over $1,200.00. For less money you could buy a (ONE) real 230-300 watt panels and get 24v and 7-8 amps with a great charge controller for around $500 and really do something or at least start doing something.

                            It takes three of my panels to make 18v and 7.5 amps, and I paid about $50.00 per panel, so if you want some real ones let me know, the ones I designed could be put to use in an Off Grid application. I designed a tracking system so the panels follow the sun which increases the SYSTEM efficiency by an additional 25-25%, - No UL cert required.

                            John
                            Last edited by Solar Lawn Care; 06-14-2013, 01:27 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I designed a tracking system so the panels follow the sun which increases the SYSTEM efficiency by an additional 25-25%
                              Oh, that sounds very interesting as well. I'd love to see pics of that too.

                              For less money you could buy a (ONE) real 230-300 watt panels and get 24v and 7-8 amps with a great charge controller for around $500 and really do something or at least start doing something.
                              Are there 5 or 10 points then one should look for to find a real 230-300 watt panel and know it's on the better side than others?
                              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                              Comment

                              Bottom Ad Widget

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X