An automatic driveway gate opener is an invaluable tool for controlling access to and safeguarding your property. Many automatic gate openers are compatible with solar power, which is what we’ll be examining today. We’ll give you everything you need to know before purchasing a solar gate opener of your own.
What is a Solar Powered Gate Opener?
Let’s start with the basics – what is a solar-powered gate opener? Quite simply, it’s an automatic electric gate opener with solar-powered capabilities. Because gates are often installed far from a hard-wired power source, users need alternative methods for powering the gate for daily use. Solar is an effective method of power generation if the opener is in an area that receives ample sunlight.
Solar-powered gate openers can also work in conjunction with rechargeable batteries, giving you the option to recharge the battery backup yourself if the solar energy stored is inadequate for regular use. You can also use solar power in combination with a hard-wired gate opener to operate the gate in the event of a power outage.
Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing Solar Powered Gate Openers
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive deeper. Here are the factors you should consider in deciding whether a solar gate opener is right for you:
Frequency of Use
One of the most important metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of your solar-powered gate opener will be frequency of use. The size and efficiency of the panels determine the solar operator system’s effectiveness, along with the amount of sunlight it receives. For ideal efficiency, a solar panel should receive 8 hours of unobstructed sunlight per day. Most solar powered gate openers can transfer this energy into about 8-12 “cycles” (gate open/closings) per day. You’ll have to compare this against your personal usage habit to determine whether this is enough cycles for you.
It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change depending on the size of your gate. In other words, bigger or heavier gates will require more energy to open and close, which might mean you get even less use out of each solar charge.
Another benefit of solar electricity is that it will save you money in operating costs over the life of your gate. Solar panels use energy from the sun, so you don’t have to pay a utility provider for the generated power. Your operating costs are lower while the panels are in use, provided they are generating power efficiently.
Of course, you should balance these savings against the up-front costs associated with purchasing and installing the gate opener kit and panels and the costs of routine maintenance or panel replacement over time.
Solar power has always been a popular alternative for its environmental impact. Solar power indeed generates less harmful emissions than other sources of power due to its reliance on natural energy from the sun. Therefore, solar power is a good option if you’re looking for ways to lessen your environmental footprint, making it a choice you can feel good about.
A solar powered automatic gate opener won’t necessarily come cheap. These are quality components that you should expect to invest in. However, we are happy to report that quality solar panel systems are more affordable than ever. As solar technology grows and becomes more efficient, you can purchase quality panels for less than you ever could in the past.
Type of Gate Opener
Beyond the power source, don’t forget to focus on the gate opener itself. Many different gate openers are available, many of which have solar-powered options. Gate openers differ based on the type of gate (swing gate opener vs. sliding gate opener), length and weight of the gate, and more. Above all, you need a solar gate opener compatible with your gate and rated to handle its size. If you don’t purchase the proper opener, solar power will be the least of your concerns.
Energy generated by solar panels is stored in batteries until you need it. Typically, a solar-powered gate opener will require 12V, 7A rechargeable batteries. If solar energy is insufficient, you also have the option to recharge these batteries via a power source in your home.
What Type of Maintenance Can I Expect?
We won’t sugar-coat it. Solar panels do require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure efficient production of energy. That said, if you purchase quality panels, this routine maintenance isn’t very difficult. Solar panels are routinely exposed to harsh weather conditions and strong winds. Owners need to be sure to clear any debris that may be obstructing sunlight and be prepared to reconfigure their panels should they become dislodged by the elements. As long as you keep a constant eye on your solar panel system, you can keep them running efficiently for years.
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Solar Powered Gate Opener?
Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer to this question because gate operators are all different. The cost will depend heavily on the type of driveway gate opener you require, including whether you choose a sliding gate or swing gate. Those with bigger, heavier gates will need a more powerful gate opener. You can say the same for those who expect the gate opener to be used several times per day (such as for commercial purposes) and need a heavy duty gate opener. As such, the cost can vary quite a bit.
Generally speaking, expect to pay at least $1000 on the low end and as high as $5000 if you require an advanced setup. Installation costs may push the price higher if you aren’t capable of installing the opener yourself.
Thanks for reading our guide to solar-powered gate openers. As you can see, solar power is a great alternative for powering your gate opener, especially when traditional hard-wiring is unavailable. Use our guide to decide whether this product is right for you.