Solar-Powered Tractor

This solar-powered tractor design works well for small farms and homesteads.

| December 2013/January 2014

Solar Tractor

An Arkansas couple retrofitted this 1950 Ford tractor with solar panels and eight batteries.

Photo By Kathryn Griffin

A little more than a year ago, my husband, Terry, started talking about building a solar-powered tractor. Because we were planning to move to a 30-acre farm in Arkansas, the tractor would have to be the workhorse we expected we would need, rather than simply a conversation piece to show off in parades. The original “antique tractor” — and I use that expression loosely — was a 1950 Ford bound for the scrap-metal pile.

The finished solar-powered tractor will run for nearly two hours with eight batteries. The power capacity is the same as a typical gas or diesel tractor. Terry has graded our rough driveway, slashed the weeds in a field and tilled our garden. The tractor requires eight to 10 hours for a total recharge, so farmers who spend all day on their tractor would probably not be able to use only a solar tractor. For our small-farm applications, however, the solar-powered tractor is perfect.

To see how we made the solar tractor, view more photos and watch videos of it in action, go to Our Solar-Powered Tractor.

Kathryn Griffin
West Fork, Arkansas

clyde pennington
11/6/2013 8:48:24 PM

IMHO a better use of funds would have been to buy a working 2n, 8n or Jubilee for two grand and use the remainder on solar panels for the home. One would expect the year-round savings on electricity would far exceed the savings in fuel for the tractor and would allow unlimited use of the tractor. I am a bottom line person and my belief is that my way will save money and result in a lower overall household carbon footprint. JMHO

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