Rebecca D. Thomas

A global impact blog, searching for innovative & forward-thinking ideas in business, design, travel, food, & fashion. Promoting a Circular Economy. Let's make learning fun!

Work in Progress Part II: My Solar and Battery-Powered Life



Hello, friends and bloggers from all around the world! I’m seeing lots of snow in Europe on Instagram, and blustery nor’easter pictures from my family up north.

This post continues my discussion of solar power, with a conversation about our privately-owned energy resources. As mentioned in my 2.17.18 post, I am a student at the Patel College of Global Sustainability, and I’m currently learning about the Food, Energy, and Water Nexus with Dr. Thomas Culhane, and a bunch of very talented and enthusiastic classmates!

We own a battery-powered lawn mower. It cost approximately $500.00 for the mower and battery - A bit pricey, but it’s really not much more than some traditional mowers. And, we save on maintenance by not needing to change oil or spark plugs, and no purchasing gas, or cleaning a filter. A fully-charged battery will power the mower for 20 minutes or less, but we live in a townhome, so we have a small front and back yard. We considered purchasing a second battery, but just the one, 20-minute charge usually takes care of our needs. It then takes one hour to fully recharge the battery.
In terms of performance and usability, gas mowers operate for longer periods, but electric does the same job, just for less time.

We also own an eight-volt electric generator, and a solar panel, pictured below. The panel hooks up to the generator with a cord, then we place the panel in the sun for around 20 hours, to fully charge the generator.  We can also charge it using a wall outlet, or in a vehicle, using the cigarette lighter, or the USB port. Our generator will power two or three house fans for about six hours. It would power our television for about an hour. Our refrigerator, probably not even an hour.

At this time, we purchase solar power from our city government, as discussed in the 2.17.18 post. We are excited about this program, and are happy to participate. But, I don’t believe that any city government should have a monopoly on all sources of power. Please take a moment to review a Letter to the Editor from Bart Bibler. He seeks to hold governments accountable, and encourages customers of city-owned solar to take a second look.

Some companies offer a pay scale, based on income. In some cities, you can write off interest on your taxes for residential solar. Some questions to consider: What are the pros and cons of purchasing city-owned solar, versus owning it yourself? Is your city using local contractors? Is there community stakeholder involvement?Energy customers should take time to examine all options, become fully informed, and choose their best path.
Solar fields forever!

Our battery-powered lawnmower,

Solar Flower Power!
Power up!

We have a very small yard, so 20-ish minutes of power is about enough, for each mow,

Our little solar panel, and electric generator!

Monteli pizzas are made with solar energy!

And they are delizioso!

Small, but strong. My friend Julie agrees!

Cute, but powerful!

Anyone know what this is?:)

8 comments

  1. Oh wow! This is all very informative. One day when we have an actual home, I'll have to consider all of this. Hmmm and I'm not sure what the last photo is. :)

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    1. Thank you, Lindsey! I don’t know what the last picture is, either! 😊 I will look it up, eventually! I love to travel, so I am living vicariously through you, and your blog, at the moment!! Lots of inspiration!

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  2. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing:)

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  3. Hello Rebecca, at first I congratulations for your great works about environment friendly invents. I hope big companies help you, encourage you and provide sponsorship so you might develop them. Regards from Ankara. :)

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    1. Wow, I would love to visit Ankara, one day! Thank you for visiting my blog!!

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  4. Good questions! I had a friend in Germany who had a solar powered lawn mower. It was robotic. The panels were on his roof and the lawn mower automatically navigated back to the solar charging station to recharge, then went out into the lawn to cut the grass when it was charged. It had a sensor so it wouldn't bump into children on things. One day we just sat back and drank beer while our kids played in the garden around the robotic mower. No labor at all... so cool.

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    1. Ah, cool!!! I love Germany, I hope to go back there, one day,

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