Starting a solar powered lawn care business requires a relatively small investment that could be recovered in a fairly short time. Electric powered cordless lawn care appliances produce less noise, have zero emissions, and require less maintenance since there is no gasoline engine.
By choosing only customers who have small yards, it’s possible to keep the initial equipment investment low. With solar panels, it’s possible to charge up during the day.
Below is a list of equipment to get started. The cost of the items shown below with additional batteries is about $2,400. It would be possible to start with just a push mower and then buy more equipment with the money you earn to avoid a large initial expense.
Brand and Model Considerations
Below you’ll see mostly Greenworks products for continuity. It’s nice to have interchangeable batteries and chargers. It saves money and space. Other brands are also available on Amazon and in local stores.
You may want to reference the Consumer Reports analysis of string trimmers and other lawn care products. In response to the first draft of this article, one reader wrote:
“Since we already have 3 EGO cordless tools, I was happy to see that EGO has 2 of the 3 top-rated trimmers in CR (it saves buying another battery and charger) — the other top brand is Echo. Milwaukee, Stihl, and Greenworks are #4,5, and 6 respectively. You’ll see they are all recommended (along with a Toro and Troy-Bilt) but there is a significant difference in the overall scores.”
Cargo Carrier ($110)
While it’s possible to fit most light duty lawn care equipment into a sedan or hatch back vehicle, it may be more ideal to have a truck or trailer. This is especially true if someone is using gasoline powered equipment. Fortunately with battery powered devices, the fuel source doesn’t smell or spill so they can be placed inside a vehicle. It’s possible that an attaching cargo carrier could handle a push lawn mower which is the biggest and bulkiest item. The other tools could be placed inside the vehicle, perhaps inside of bags to keep grass and dirt from getting on the interior of the vehicle. A variety of cargo carriers are available. Shown below is a highly rated one on Amazon. [View or Buy]
Manual Push Hand Reel Lawn Mower ($110)
There are many classic manual lawn mowers that are low cost and consume no gas or electricity. These work okay for small well-manicured lawns with relatively fine grass and no leaves or sticks. A person could start with a low-cost mower like this one, and then save up money to purchase the higher priced equipment later. Pictured below is a Greenworks 18-inch reel lawn mower. [View or Buy]
Cordless Mower ($500)
The Greenworks PRO 21-inch cordless lawn mower provides a wider deck than other units which typically have 16-inch decks. You can purchase it in a set that includes two extra batteries and one charger. Two fully charged batteries should provide about 90 minutes of mowing. Below is a photo of the mower and accessories. [View or Buy]
Extra Batteries ($130 each)
If you’re planning to work for extended periods of time — with more than one customer per day — you’ll want to get extra batteries and chargers. That way you can charge up several batteries to have available during the day to swap out.
The 2.0 Ah (amp hour) battery packs have the advantage of running 45 minutes per charge, and the ability to charge to full capacity in 30 minutes. By comparison, the 4 Ah battery packs required 120 minutes to fully charge and only run 60 minutes. So, the 2.0 Ah battery packs seem like a better choice. The 4.0 Ah batteries are about $205 per pack and the 2.0 Ah batteries are about $130. [View or Buy]
String Trimmer ($213)
String trimmers are helpful for close detailed trimming work around trees or along sidewalks. It’s one of the lawn care tools that does require consumables and you may want to charge for the cost of materials if some jobs require much more trimming than usual. Below is a 16-inch cordless trimmer. [View or Buy]
Leaf Blower ($140)
In addition to having rakes and brooms for cleanup, a good leaf blower can help clean trimmings from surfaces. Below is the Greenworks blower shown with battery and charger. [View or Buy]
Chain Saw and Hedge Trimmer ($214)
If you anticipate light trimming of trees and shrubs, then having a chain saw and hedge trimmer would be helpful. Shown below is a kit from Greenworks. [View or Buy]
Solar Power Kit ($365)
If you have solar power panels at your home, or purchase renewable energy, then you already have a clean source of power and would not need a portable unit. However, having a portable solar charging system can be helpful because it would allow for ongoing charging during the day. The panels could be placed on top of a car for mid-day charging when the sun is overhead. Earlier or later in the day when the sun is lower in the sky, the panels could be placed on the cargo rack with the car parked so the rear faces south. Shown below is a starter kit with a 100W solar panel. More panels could be added in parallel to increase amps while maintaining voltage. Four panels would provide 400 watts of 12 volt power. [View or Buy]
Reserve Battery Packs ($80 each)
If you’re planning to continuously charge your lawn care batteries throughout the day, then it will be important to have reserve battery packs. The battery pack shown below is rated at 12 volts with 35 Ah capacity. This means it could provide 35 amps for 1 hour or 3.5 amps for 10 hours. If you have two of these, then one could be always charging. [View or Buy]
The Kriëger 1500 watt 12 volt inverter shown below should be efficient and adequate for charging your lawn care equipment. It would connect to the reserve battery packs described above.
The cleanest most efficient method of charging your lawn care battery modules would be to have them connected directly to solar power. However, they are not designed to accommodate this and must be charged with their charging units which require 110 volts AC power.
So for this reason, it’s necessary to go from solar panels > to power controller > to batteries > to inverter > to charger > to lawn care batteries. There is undoubtedly some loss in that process. However, having an inverter is helpful for other applications as well.
If you have solid consistent sunshine and good placement of your solar panels, you could conceivably connect the solar panels > to the power controller > to the inverter > to the lawn care charger > to the lawn care battery. The inverter will be necessary in either case. [View or Buy]
Other Tools ($200)
You’ll probably want to plan on spending about $200 on other tools such as various kinds of rakes, stiff bristle brooms, trimmers, gloves, and possibly a cart to haul grass clippings. You will also need a large brim hat, long sleeve white shirts, and very high quality sunglasses to provide protection from extended exposure to the sun.