An automatic gate is one of the modern finishing touches you can give your home. It offers ease and increases the aesthetics of your home, but it also draws electricity from the national grid.
So, what could be better for the environment and your wallet than automatic gates harnessing the sun’s power?
Solar-powered gates are a new technology that supporters of the green movement love, and this article will discuss if they really work. Keep reading!
What are Solar-Powered Gates?
If you have a large property, a solar-powered gate is a more convenient way to authorize entry and exit and secure it.
Unlike the conventional automatic gates that require payment to utility providers before they function, solar-powered gates work with rechargeable batteries.
A solar-powered gate is a modification of an automatic gate. Solar technology allows property owners to safeguard their property without relying on the national electricity grid. Most solar-powered gates use batteries to store the direct current from the solar panels.
If installed with no shade or obstruction, the solar panel will trickle-charge the car battery or deep cycle battery for night use. But the sun will help you automatically lock and unlock your gate during the day.
Owning a property that spans acres and acres is not uncommon in Texas. There are many livestock and ranch farmers; manually opening and closing the gate can be an undesirable chore.
Imagine coming home after a long day and needing to alight at the gate to open it, drive in, and get down again to close it back. Who wants to do that?
A solar-powered gate is a cheaper and more secure way to grant entry and exit from your property. You only need to install a suitable-sized solar panel and connect the system to a car battery or inverter.
A car battery is preferable because it is pocket-friendly and will not leave you with a bunch of wires to sort through.
The average solar-powered gate will automatically open and close within thirty seconds, so security is not an issue.
Can Solar-Powered Gates Work?
If you have a large property to secure, you will wonder if solar-powered gates will work. Or, if you are operating a ranch, you do not want a gate that unwanted visitors can easily breach.
Solar-powered gates will work for your property. In fact, you need this advancement in solar technology if you are dealing with a large expanse of land. It is also the go-to solution for people who want to reduce their reliance on the national electricity grid.
You can buy a solar panel and car battery for your gate and have it installed that same day. As a garage door works, it will open automatically and close when connected to your gate.
As long as the solar panel receives adequate sunlight daily, it will charge the battery and function even at night. However, you must install the panels where they will receive sufficient sunlight.
Property owners are leaning towards solar gate openers because they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Despite the grandiose you may imagine when you think of a solar-powered gate, it can be a small and simple structure.
Of course, you will already have your gate in place; or you may choose to build and install it together. But essentially, you can install a small solar panel as much as fifty meters away from the gate structure.
Once it has access to adequate sunlight, it will work until you turn it off. The wires will be connected to the control box, which will be powered by sunlight during the day.
At the same time, the photovoltaic cells will work on converting photons to direct current and storing them in your battery.
You can open the gates with a remote, sensor, or keypad.
How Do Solar Gate Openers Work?
Every solar-powered device needs a solar panel. There are different types, but they must be able to convert AC to DC.
This electricity is then used to power whatever device is attached to the PV system.
A solar-powered gate works like an automatic gate, except it draws its power from the sun. When solar panels are installed and connected to the control box, the electricity needed to open and close the gate is converted and stored in a battery. Meanwhile, light energy powers it in the daytime.
A small solar panel is usually attached to the control box, with its collection of solar cells that capture photons, generate energy, and store half of it in the 12-V DC battery.
The battery can run for twelve hours without sunlight, so you can manually or wirelessly use it at night.
Essential components of a solar gate opener are the control box, a power pack, a receiver, a battery, a motherboard, and solar panels. They work together to give you clean, green, and affordable control over your property.
How Long Does a Gate Opener Battery Last?
A solar gate opener needs a battery to function; the last thing you want is your gates to hang open or stay smack shut when the sun goes down.
Solar batteries are just as pricey as car batteries, so it is natural to expect longevity from them. And you will get it.
The average solar battery opener lasts five to fifteen years, or about 250 cycles, give or take. However, the real duration depends on how you use and maintain it.
Let’s examine the factors that matter one by one:
Maintenance is everything, especially when dealing with expensive gadgets. The battery of a solar-gate opener is essentially a plastic structure with some fluids called electrolytes which exist to facilitate the movement of positively charged ions between the cathode and anode terminals.
To maintain a solar battery, check the terminals for signs of corrosion and clean them with baking soda. You can also put your nose to work by sniffing the air around the battery for any rotten egg-like stench, which indicates an accumulation of hydrogen sulfite.
No one wants to return home to find their gate half-open, but that is likely to happen if your battery develops a fault. So, always check the aforementioned areas. You should also maintain the liquid level, and you can do that by replenishing it with water.
2. The weather
The weather is not particularly friendly to any battery. Least of all, a solar inverter.
If you leave your solar battery outdoors during winter, the performance will diminish significantly. Coupled with the lower intensity of the sun, expect even less performance from your solar tech.
The ideal temperature for solar batteries is between 66°F to 90°F; anything above or below reduces your battery’s capacity.
3. The recharge voltage
Another factor affecting the number of cycles your battery offers is the recharge voltage. The recharge voltage for a gel battery is between 14.1 to 4.4 volts, lower than AGM’s 14.4 to 16.6 volts.
A multimeter is an essential tool for gauging battery voltage.
The factors we have explored above may seem like a lot, especially since it is just solar-powered gates. However, they are an easy chore once you do them regularly, which may be the bane of owning a solar-powered gadget.
Types of Solar-Powered Gates
You may not have seen a future where your gates would be powered by the sun, but it seems the tech geniuses are not taking a break anytime soon.
Now, there are many types of solar-powered gates to choose from. Your options include:
1. Swing gates
Swing solar-powered gates are units with a pair of wings that slide apart when you press a button, speak, or activate a sensor. It is popular in shared facilities like airports and train stations, but home and commercial property owners also use it.
Like every other solar-powered technology, swing gates rely on solar cells for activation.
2. Sliding gates
A sliding gate is a gate with wheels at the bottom that help the fence slide sideways. Combine it with solar technology, and you can open your gate with the sun’s power instead of electricity as automatic units require.
3. Security gates
As the name suggests, solar security gates are gates designed to provide maximum security without sacrificing versatility and functionality. They employ solar technology to ensure that your commercial or residential property stays secure even at night.
4. Custom-made gates
Custom-made solar-powered gates can be customized to your taste. It is possible if you want a sensor, voice control, or a button to control the opening and closing of your gate.
GPS or Wi-Fi can also be included, and you can decide if you want swing gates, security, or the other types in this article.
Custom-made solar gates allow you to exercise more control over the design and functionality of your gates.
5. Driveway gates
Driveway gates can be swinging, sliding, or parting; they are automatic light-energy-powered gates for your driveway. The solar panels can be installed and connected to a new gate driveway or affixed to what is already erected.
6. Commercial gates
Commercial properties stand to gain the most from solar power. It is a cheaper and greener energy source that provides maximum security.
It is particularly great for big ranches. Commercial solar-powered gates can help you cut back on electricity bills; you just need to invest a little more, and you can have automated gates controlled by a solar panel.
Pros of Solar Powered Gates
It helps you save money
This is the primary private benefit of solar-powered gates. The cost of installing a solar-powered gate is favorable in the long run. You get to reduce your electricity bill without sacrificing your safety and the security of your property.
It offers all-round security
There is a battery affixed to a solar-powered gate, and as long as it is not damaged or bad, it will work all night!
During the day, you can open and close your gates automatically, and you can still trust that security at night.
In most cases, you can install only solar panels to an existing gate. So, you do not have to compromise on security in any regard.
It is environmentally sustainable
An environmentally sustainable way to use automatic gates is to invest in a photovoltaic system. It utilizes sunlight to generate electricity and is, therefore, better for the ozone layer and biodiversity.
Cons of Solar Powered Gates
It is reliant on the weather
Sunlight is the most potent source of energy for a solar-powered gate. So, if you live in a climate where the sun doesn’t shine as much, you may make the wrong choice by investing in a solar-powered gate.
Maintenance is sometimes a hassle
Solar-powered gates need regular maintenance. You must check the battery, control box, and solar cells to ensure they are fully functional.
Solar-powered gates work and can help you save a ton of money. Not to talk of protecting the environment too.