Last Updated on December 27, 2022 by Anne Brock
Tennessee technology expanded to meet demand in Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee and St. Augustine, Florida, February 28, 2022 – Powershed by Solar Alliance and ECHO Robotics is bringing the quietest, cleanest, and newest way to manicure green spaces into Florida communities. In St. Augustine, Flagler Power Equipment recently installed the state’s first Powershed system for the veteran landscapers of J.M. Baker Company to maintain grassy common areas for a housing development in the oldest city in the country. This follows innovation in Knoxville, Tennessee between the University of Tennessee and Solar Alliance to develop a standalone energy source to power outdoor equipment.
Get power anywhere the sun shines with Powershed, and avoid costly electrical conduit runs, labor shortfalls, and security concerns. St. Augustine landscaping company owner Jason Baker said, “Providing services with maximum productivity these days requires the latest tools. When Powershed and ECHO Robotics go to work for us, our people can be solving another landscaping challenge somewhere else.” Demand for self-contained power systems is not limited to the landscaping industry and spans a variety of trades. According to John Reynolds at Flagler Power Equipment, “The customers drive what we carry at our dealership and our clients are moving toward more electric power tools. We need the flexibility and independence that Powershed affords us. I think it’s going to be more popular as more people can see how much it saves them potentially in time and money.”
The ECHO Robotics’ mower keeps more than five acres of lawn trimmed without any noise pollution, and Powershed limits fossil fuel pollution while getting the job done. Power from the sun, harnessed by the uniquely designed array of CAT photovoltaic panels supplied by BOYD CAT is pending a patent by Solar Alliance and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.
The pairing of Powershed and ECHO Robotics’ mower has been tested for more than a year at UTK campus facilities where a collaborative effort has developed the system’s design, cost, and functionality. When UT Knoxville’s Matthew Layne served as Turf Manager for the campus, his search for a solution inspired Powershed. Vice President of UT Research Foundation’s Multi-Campus Office Maha Krishnamurthy, PhD, MBA said, “Our UT innovator Matthew Layne wanted to solve an increasingly difficult maintenance challenge: One area of the university’s campus was so tough to access that his staff had to scale down a wall holding weed eaters to maintain it — a time-consuming approach. A lack of available outlets in that area and his desire for a sustainable solution to this problem led Matthew and UTRF to search for a commercial partner to co-develop Matthew’s innovation about solar charging stations, specifically for small robotic mowers.
ECHO Inc. Vice President of Robotics, Benjamin Houssa explained, “The demand for professional landscaping services is constantly growing, with humongous acres of turf grass in the United States. ECHO Robotics is pleased to see the Powershed advantage for landscapers who need off-grid solutions to mowing challenges involving labor and location. Powershed untethers our market for more environment-friendly and sustainable sites. It also drives more opportunities for ECHO Robotics applications.”
Flagler Power Equipment is now able to offer Powershed systems featuring ECHO Robotics’ mowers for areas where electric power is inaccessible or where businesses want to leave a smaller carbon footprint. The system developed by the experts at Solar Alliance can be remotely monitored 24/7 while making lawn maintenance a hands-off process. Powershed’s technology is available to meet a wide range of needs in landscaping and beyond for private businesses and public spaces.
Krishnamurthy said, “UTRF is proud to partner with forward-thinking local partners, like Solar Alliance, to advance UT’s innovative solutions to the market. In spite of the pandemic, Solar Alliance is achieving our diligence milestones. With growing customer demand for sustainable solutions, Powershed will continue to gain momentum.”
“We are really excited about all the possibilities for Powershed! The more we talk to people, the more applications we realize there are for Powershed. If you have a campus that requires special security and limits to people, if you need landscape lighting in remote areas, the list goes on. As people make the decision move away from fossil fuels, Powershed offers a path,” said Harvey Abouelata, Vice President of Solar Alliance.
Solar Alliance provides skilled East Tennessee jobs while leading the way in commercial and residential installations and related energy monitoring. The Company is currently collaborating with Knoxville Utilities Board to build the city’s first Community Solar project in 2022. Solar Alliance also deploys chargers for homes and businesses in support of electrification and the growing need for electric vehicles. Solar Alliance operates in Tennessee, Kentucky, North/South Carolina and Illinois with an expanding pipeline of solar projects. Since its founding in 2003, the Company has developed $1 billion of renewable energy projects that provide enough electricity to power 150,000 homes.