News

York College student harnesses the sun to power lawn care business

Written by Paul Kuehnel/The York Daily Record | Jul 18, 2017 2:27 PM
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Brad Lockwood at his York Township home with the charging station that supplies power for his mowing business, Lockwood Lawns LLC. Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record

(York) -- Brad Lockwood wants to change the way commercial lawn mowing companies use the sun to grow their business.

The 20-year-old York Township man has earned money mowing lawns since he was 9. Now, he's channeling his role model, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame, to run a landscaping business that draws all its power from solar energy.

 "Energy is one of the biggest challenges that my generation will face in the future," the rising junior at York College said. 

He specifically admires Musk's way of changing the way a car company and its customers look at powering vehicles.

He taught himself about solar power beginning with a solar charger he made for his mobile phone that charged from his dorm window. Lockwood, who is also completing a paid internship at American Hydro, figured that he could make a larger solar charging station to recharge the batteries that power his mowers, grass trimmers and other power tools. 

This man who has a love of climbing and backpacking says that people might call him an environmentalist, but he describes himself as "just a person like any other organism that cares about its surroundings and how it affects it ... and how it affects other people."

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Brad Lockwood with an electric mower, string trimmer and blower that he charges with the solar charging station behind him. (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

The solar charging station Lockwood built creates enough power to allow him to cut four lawns a day, or about 10 acres a week. He currently has nine customers for his business, Lockwood Lawns, which he recently registered as an LLC.

Two customers sought out the solar lawn company because of Lockwood's renewable power source.

Lockwood said his goal isn't to steal customers away and make the competition angry, but rather it's to make a zero-emissions method of doing things more common.

"I want a zero emissions lawn service to become the norm in 10 years," he said.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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