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I enjoy mowing my rural lawn area - weeds and all.  I just resent having to use a noisy polluting machine to do it!  I learned that small gasoline engines like those in lawn mowers can pollute up to 7 times as much as vehicles because they have no pollution controls.

In June of 2005 I read an article in Home Power Magazine's June/July issue (number 107) by a guy who converted a standard gas lawn mower to solar electric powered.  Al Latham wrote the article and made it seem like a relatively simple job for the mechanically inclined guy.  This blog details my experiences and should serve as a more detailed cookbook than the article for those inclined to try this themselves.

If you have completed a conversion and would like to share your experience, then send me pictures and a description and I'll add you to the Gallery of conversions!
Guy Marsden

Clip from Popular Science mag., July 2008, p. 45My mower conversion was featured in Popular Science Magazine's July 2008 issue on page 45.  It is one of "10 Audacious Ideas To Save The Planet"

The article states that I will "convert a mower for you, for a little green of your own."  I have decided that I would rather let you do the work yourself - I have plenty of other things to keep me in trouble!  So that's why I put up these detailed instructions.  Go for it!

Mower plugged in to solar panels and charging from the sun


The project entails replacing the gasoline engine of a used 22" gas powered mower with a 12 Volt electric motor and battery - along with gauges, circuit breaker/power switch and charging connector.  Using 12 Volts keeps the design simple and relatively safe.

The solar charging system consists of solar panel(s) that are wired to a charge controller with an extension cord that connects to the mower.  Optionally, a standard AC powered automatic battery charger can be used.

The noticeable difference when mowing is the quiet!  The blades are spinning at about 1/2 the speed (1750RPM) of a gas mower (3450RPM) with a virtually silent motor, it sounds like a big fan!  With sharp blades it cuts just as good as my retired Sears 5HP mower.

Click here to review the parts list and price out the project.

Click here to get started on your conversion! 

Since I built my mower back in 2005 the world of cordless yard tools has expanded dramatically.  Now you can buy a really good 21" cordless mower for under $300, and smaller ones for under $200.  But beware - a lot of on-line sellers will show a price that does not include a battery, and batteries are quite expensive.  Battery life is an issue with many new cordless mowers only running 15 to 20 minutes on a battery.  Many manufacturers sell the mower with a small battery and then you find you need to upgrade to bigger ones to get the run time you need. 

Riding mowers
People have asked me about converting riding mowers.  A couple of folks have done this successfully, but it gets expensive, see the gallery section of my blog.  Edmund Electric in Ontario, Canada offer kits for converting riding mowers to electric, and just about anything else including boats.

Here's another option, look at restoring or buying a used 1970's vintage GE ElekTrak all electric lawn tractor.  Click here to learn more about these machines.  If you plan on restoring one, then here are some links that will help you with controls and parts:
Modern Electric Tractors
The Electric Tractor Store

The Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto claims that replacing half of the nearly 1.3 million walk-behind gas mowers used in the United States with electric mowers would eliminate the equivalent hydrocarbon emissions of 2 million cars.


The old vs the new!

The retired noisy, polluting 5HP Sears Craftsman monster next to my
quiet, clean, free energy Green Machine!


If you found the information presented on my web site to be helpful you can send me a donation to show your appreciation for the many hours I have invested in presenting my knowledge and experience.  This is NOT tax deductible and will show as a consulting fee on your receipt.

visits since 6/28/05