Solar Farm Mowing ... Anyone done it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by desii, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. desii

    desii LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    Looking at a large solar farm and wondered if anyone had experience doing these? Trying to figure out which is the safest / best / fastest / safest (yeah, I said it twice - its a glass house, kinda) way to approach this thing.

    The panels are only about 16-20" off the (sometimes uneven) ground and we have to get back about 3' or so under them. The rows are about 8-10' wide and at least 100 yards long.

    The dilemma: How to mow under (the low side), between (down the middle) and under the high side, without throwing a rock or breaking the panels, efficiently. They are at a fixed 30 degree angle. Like I sad, 16+" on the low side and 6' or so on the high side.

    I have a batwing, but there is no way it's going to fit under the low side. One small bump and there goes a few hundred dollar panel.

    Also, Round up isn't an option.

  2. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210 about the possibilities for some bad luck! Too many mirrors for me! :)
  3. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    I wanted to recommend using a flail mower, but I think that'd be more hazardous than anything. We just had a solar farm built on the north end of town within the last month. Rather curious to see how they maintain that area. I know which LCO is handling it, but I haven't seen them mowing through there yet.
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  4. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    Round up isn't an option? You seriously need to sell the property owner on putting gravel with a nice border (edge) or something in underneath these panels to minimize the maintenance. Inform him/her of the dilemma with the danger of the panels being so close to the ground, the reduced long-term maintenance costs, and the aesthetic improvement in general.
  5. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,637

    You're telling me that some engineer designed the layout of that solar farm, designed it to have growing plants under the panels, but never thought about mowing?!? Whoops!
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,718

    Maybe it's the 4th cup of coffee talking, but I'm making myself laugh as I imagine that that the solar panels are used solely as a power source for thousands of cheap, plastic landscaping lights that have their cables buried 1" below the surface, creating what could arguably be considered the toughest lawn servicing bid known to man.
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    How about using PGR's in some of the hard to cut areas? Do you have any picture of what this looks like? Is it full grass or a field with weeds? Fertilized or not? Expectations from the property owner? Dimensions? Acreage? Google Map?
    Sounds interesting and if the money is right I would figure something out.
  8. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,756

    I was thinking the same thing about the boom flail. Is there a company that makes a bush hog with a boom? Or how about one of those tow behind mowers that are offset to one side? If all else fails and you are making a good profit, just give a couple guys some knee pads and garden shears.
  9. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,141

    I am sorry but I would be all for convincing this customer that a layer of mulch over top of some weed control fabric would be the way to go because the risk of damage and the liability being so great you really want an area that is as relatively maintenance (and machine) free as possible, before mentioning any of it I would have a price already in mind so I can give them that as well and be prepared that it may not be the answer they want...

    And we take on all KINDS of work!
    But this is one I wouldn't want to play with.
  10. kawasaki guy

    kawasaki guy LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from NJ
    Messages: 14,572

    just use a walk behind or stand on. :)

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