Ransomes Jacobsen have teamed up with a leading manufacturer of solar equipment to create a solar canopy for use with the all-electric version of their Jacobsen Eclipse 322 ride-on greens mower.
The new solar canopy, developed by Danish company SunDrive, uses the most advanced solar technology available with mono-crystalline solar cells placed in high-transmission 3.2 mm tempered glass. This, according to SunDrive, produces enough additional energy to increase the range of the Eclipse 322 by up to 30%.
Once the mower has completed its cutting cycle, it can be left outside to capture the sun's rays and supplement conventional charging. Studies by SunDrive have shown that leaving the machine outside between 10am and 5pm saves up to 35% of energy consumption depending on the prevailing weather conditions.
Robert Martin, head greenkeeper at the Timrå Golfklubb in Sweden made the switch to solar-powered mowing last year following the introduction of a new environmental policy at the club. "We decided to invest in the solar canopy for the battery-driven Eclipse 322," he said. "Given our location and the 15-20 hours of daylight we have during the summer period, this was a sound investment as it has increased the range of our mowers and helped reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact."
In Germany, Christopher Ramsen of the Hubbeltrath Golf Club commented, "We've seen a significant improvement with our solar canopy and can now cut 18 greens, the practice green and 800m2 of undulated putting green."
Richard Comely, Director of Marketing & Product Management at Ransomes Jacobsen, views this innovative solar canopy as another step towards enhancing the environmental goals of his company. "We see a significant benefit for our clients from these SunDrive canopies and are delighted to be the first mower manufacturer to introduce solar energy as a supplementary power source. There may be a slight reduction in the lifetime of the batteries, but this will be outweighed by the significant savings in energy costs over a three- to four-year period.
"With fuel prices rising and an increasing focus on the golf sector to reduce its environmental impact, we will continue to investigate ways to mitigate lifetime running costs for our customers, while acting in a responsible manner."
William Helmbæk, General Manager at SunDrive has been working with solar power for almost a decade and is delighted to see that the turf maintenance industry is beginning to embrace solar power as a viable energy source.
Commenting on the new solar canopies he said, "We have been installing roof panels on golf buggies, utility vehicles and shuttles for some time now and see this latest development as an excellent match between solar power and electric mowers. Our partnership with Ransomes Jacobsen allows more people and businesses to benefit from the huge potential of solar power, in both monetary and environmental terms."
Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc (NYSE:TXT) company and more information on the product offering can be found at www.ransomesjacobsen.com.