The Green House

All information you need for a green house.

Pros and Cons of Solar Gate Openers

When installing an automatized device, you need to consider that it will require a power source. And with electric gates, this may not be the most at hand thing. As this is a relatively new thing, most homes aren’t built with external outlets or underground wires that can go as far as the gate needs them to be. So, if you are going to use a conventional AC power source, you will probably need to do some adjustments, maybe even dig a trench throughout your yard.

Solar alternatives, on the other hand, are easier to mount and will save you of this job. As the panel can be installed remotely and isn’t dependent of anything but the sun, all you need to do is pick a gate opener model that is compatible with this source of energy, which according to an Optima Institute study, is capable to operate oversized and double models, as long as the system is being used in an area with strong sun. This would imply using large-capacity batteries as well, which can store enough energy for the system to be used after sunset and even for several times during cloudy days.

But, are the advantages of going for a solar option instead of a conventional one higher than the disadvantages? In this article, we will explore all of them and present the situations in which choosing a solar model is a good decision, so stay with us to find out if this green-energy solution is the right one for you.

How Does a Solar Gate Opener Work?

 

Except for the energy source, the differences between a conventional and solar-powered mechanism are slim to none. If an AC power source is used, the system will be hard mounted or plugged in into an outlet, and it will draw energy until the battery is full. Then, it will use the energy stored in the battery to operate the gates. A solar model requires the presence of a solar panel, which will capture the sunrays and turn them into energy. From this point forward, things go the same. The battery is charged using this energy, and the system uses it every time it needs to open and close the door. The panel size can vary depending on the dimensions of the gate and the frequency of use. Thus, if you are operating the gate for 10 to 20 times a day, a 10-watt panel is enough, and this is usually a great fit for most residential models, but there are cases when a larger panel of 18 or 28 watts is required, as it needs to handle up to 100 cycles per day.

The Advantages of Installing a Solar Gate Opener

 

Solar energy isn’t only a trend but a reliable source of energy, which, combined with other alternative energy sources, can, in time, replace conventional energy sources, based on burning fuels or nuclear reactions, which are among the most significant roots of air, water, and soil pollution. This is truly the main advantage for the Earth, but the system can offer the users other benefits as well:

  • There’s no need for any costly or time-consuming pre-installation preparations – The panel can be set in any place, so you will only need to find the spot where it can capture the sunlight better while keeping it close enough to the opener’s batteries. As your system will no longer be dependent on AC power, you won’t need to ruin the landscape of your yard with a trench and spend money on electrical adjustments.
  • The use of the system will not reflect on your energy bill – You are no longer reliant on an electricity company, so the only restriction you may encounter are related to the solar panel and battery’s capacity. Solar energy offers you the advantage of not having to pay for it. The initial investment and potential maintenance works will be the only expenses you will make.
  • The system offers improved comfort and safety – Power outages will not affect it, which means that you will rarely find yourself in the position of having to leave the car unattended while manually opening the gate. This aspect should be considered especially if you are living in an area with high crime. The battery can store enough energy to keep the system working, providing up to 10 cycles, even in days with extremely poor weather conditions.
  • It can be easily adapted – If over time, your gate becomes more trafficked or you decide to replace it with a larger one, you won’t need to substitute the panel with a larger one. You can just add one more, and get the level of energy required by the new system.
  • You will benefit from the federal solar tax credit – This is offered for any solar-powered system you install in your home and means that the government will deduce 26% of the project’s costs. This is the way the state encourages its citizens to choose greener energy alternatives. By investing in a solar panel you will save money, get a discount, and help save the planet at the same time. Could it get any better?

Are There Any Disadvantages?

 

If the system is operated in the right area and mounted according to the instructions, the drawbacks are usually minimal, especially when it comes to residential use. However, in some cases, they can appear in the form of restrictions that can make the mechanism inefficient.

Here are the main cons of installing a solar gate opener:

  • The sun shines for a limited number of hours – This means that the panel will not be able to produce energy during the night. While it is true that the battery stores the energy produced during the day, it has a limited capacity, and, if the gate is highly trafficked during the night, the number of cycles can become insufficient fast. In this case, it is recommended to install a battery with a higher capacity and connect it to a larger panel, or a larger number of panels that can keep it powered.
  • The system will have limited efficiency in areas in which the weather is usually rainy or cold – If the clouds hide the sun for most of the day, the battery won’t get fully charged and this will reflect on the number of cycles the system can provide. You may have to open the door manually more often then you are willing to, a situation that would actually cancel the purpose of an automatic system.
  • More maintenance – You will definitely not need to open the panel apart and clean it, but you will want to wipe it twice a year with a cloth to maximize sun exposure. The job isn’t difficult, but it is something you wouldn’t need to perform if using a conventional energy source. However, if you take into account that you won’t need to pay for the electricity, this effort is probably worth it.

What Do You Need To Consider When Installing a Solar Gate System?

 

Solar models aren’t always the best idea. There are areas where would just be a bad idea to install one, just like other areas are not suitable at all for producing wind energy, for example. So, before investing try to calculate if the panel will benefit from enough sun in your yard to keep the gates running. First, assess the weather pattern. Is it raining often, even during the summer? This means clouds in the sky that block sunlight. Does the cold season extend on a significant part of the year? Is it characterized by abundant precipitations? Then it is not a good idea to mount a solar panel.

But if you are living in an arid area, with the sun blazing for most of the year, then you can rely on solar power to power other systems as well, not only the gates. The system is also compatible with areas with moderate climates, in which precipitations are present only for a few months per year.

Now that we have established in which conditions you can stop paying for electricity, it is good to know that the system will only function properly if you apply the following recommendations:

  • Pick a solar panel that can fit the size of the battery and the gates – Do not use small panels or you will remain without energy when you least expect. Even if you will pay more for it, it will produce extra energy, so, in the long run, you will actually gain more.
  • Pay attention to the place where you mount your panel – It needs to be exposed to sun rays, so you will want to keep it away from shades reflected by tall trees and buildings.
  • Invest in high-quality hardware – The panel can be heavy, so make sure the brackets that support it are made of heavy-duty stainless steel. They must support its weight and fight outdoor conditions, so you must be able to trust them not to drop and ruin your panel, as it surely isn’t cheap.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Now that we have taken a look at the pros and cons of these systems, are they worth the money? The answer isn’t simple. As you have seen, some criteria need to be accomplished for the solar-powered gates to operate efficiently, and the main of them is that your home must be positioned in a sunny area. The sun is your friend in this case and the clouds the last thing you would like to see when you know they are blocking your system.

Nevertheless, if you are lucky enough to be able to exploit sunlight, you shouldn’t hesitate to do it. You will contribute to the saving of the planet and save yourself good money, starting with the tax deduction offered by the government. Plus, this option is considerably easier to install, so you can automatize your gates with minimal effort.

Comments are closed.

Dog anxiety – how

One of the most challenging things about your relationship with ...

This is how you can

Can you be an eco-friendly pet owner? Absolutely! This article ...

Pros and Cons of Sol

When installing an automatized device, you need to consider that ...

Spotting signs of ca

Have you ever thought that your cat can experience anxiety ...

If you decide to bui

If you have a big yard, it is worthwhile building ...

Dog anxiety – how

One of the most challenging things about your relationship with ...

This is how you can

Can you be an eco-friendly pet owner? Absolutely! This article ...

Pros and Cons of Sol

When installing an automatized device, you need to consider that ...

Spotting signs of ca

Have you ever thought that your cat can experience anxiety ...

If you decide to bui

If you have a big yard, it is worthwhile building ...