Solar Farm Mowing ... Anyone done it?

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

  1. desii

    desii LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    I think I may have found something that could work. I'm just not sure about the dimensions (height wise) and it's overseas. :-(

    Down one side and back the other and much less weed eating, if it'll work.

    There's a real good look at it in action on youtube.

    Swing arm mower images-rfmwr-20-250x250.jpg
  2. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    Find a tractor with a sickle bar mower mounted on the side (town or county auctions, or Ebay) then run a 3pt rear discharge finish mower on the back. Then take some old truck mud flaps or conveyor belting and bolt it to the back with as much material as possible is dragging behind the mower. That should keep the rocks from flying.

    Sort of like this one

    Or just take one tractor and bring two mowers with you, a sickle bar for under the panels and a rear discharge finish mower for everything else.
  3. Gilmore.Landscaping

    Gilmore.Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 645

  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    From the picture, it looks like the support columns are in a single row. In other words, the panels are cantilevered off the single support.

    If this is the case, then there is a free clearance from the low-side, over to the row of columns. A sickle bar extending over the columns makes this a simple pass to get the area between the low side and the column row.

    On the backside, there is a different problem. Yes, a sickle bar can be used, to only to the row of columns. This would leave a strip of uncut grass. The width would be a matter of how close you wish to cut from either side. I would presume the columns are steel, so hitting them with a sickle bar would be catastrophic. Another mower that was able to go in/out between the columns could cut the remaining strip. A w/b, with mulching kit (to minimize flying debris) would work, but the task would be tedious and laborious.

    Also, the strip down the middle would also need to be cut. A sickle bar unit at the front of a machine could do this task.

    From what I can see, multiple machines may be needed to get this job done. Covering 100 A would seem to be nearly a full-time job for a crew, that is, by the time finishing at one point, the area where the work started would be ready to cut again. 100 acres with small equipment, and with tedious maneuvering, is a very intensive undertaking. I don't think the OP stated how often the mowing needed to be done. Maybe it is a one-time per year task,....?

    Interesting to think about, but undoubtedly far more difficult to execute a plan.

    P.S. These solar farms are ugly, ugly, and more ugly. There is a contradiction on the part of the advocates because they are the first ones to talk about preserving the landscape. Wind farms fit into the same contradiction.
  5. desii

    desii LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    Yeah, the sickle bar hitting one of the posts would not be good. That's what I liked about the swing away.

    The frequency would only be two or three times a year. So, tall grass and weeds would be the norm.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that at the end of every third or fourth row there is a "panel" that makes it even more narrow.

    One dilemma with the sickle bar mower is that once you "go in" there is no way to lift it up to do any maneuvering at the narrowed end.
  6. wall

    wall LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    Gang-type reel mowers behind hydro tractor.
  7. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    He said this would be cut two or three times a year, reel mowers don;t do real tall grass.
  8. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    Most sickle bar mowers are built with a "break away" in case you hit something, after you back off it swings back into place.

    That orchard mower you found a pic of would be the only other option if the clearance would work out.

    I'm still in favor of the sickle bar, its about the only thing that is guaranteed to fit under those panels without the risk of breaking one if you hit a bump.

    Alamo Industrial makes one that mounts on the side of a tractor with a choice of 5' or 6' cutter bars. So if got a 5' bar that should give you enough "wiggle room" at the narrow ends.
  9. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    I know this is kind of a dead subject here but I was looking around on Youtube and found this

    add some chain gurads and mud flaps to the back you should be all set
  10. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Two thoughts:

    1. If you have a chain skirt several inches away from the mower, you reduce the chance of a thrown rock to almost zero. That's what JD bush mowers use.

    2. Would it be possible to use a sickle mower? They don't kick up rocks at all, and are only about 3 inches high.
    The advantage is that it just lays the grass down, and then it acts like mulch to restrict the growth of grass and weeds.

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