As security becomes an increasing issue in today’s world and gates become an ever more popular measure to protect homes, continued solutions must be developed to allow them to become useful additions to the property rather than cumbersome obstructions. Installing an electric gate opener greatly increases their usability, however many homeowners are discouraged from purchasing such a device because supplying power would be difficult or impossible. A common and effective solution to this obstacle is to use a solar powered gate, which can be operated regardless of distance from the nearest power source.
Most gate openers rely on 12 volts of direct current to operate. This makes them ideally suited to be used with common car batteries, which are both cheap and readily available. The batteries must be replenished from time to time, though, and because taking the battery out of its fixture and into the house every time it needed charging would be an unnecessary hassle, most opt to install a battery maintainer (distinct from a battery charger in of that it stops charging when the battery has reached full capacity) in conjunction with a constant power source. This can come in the form of the houses native 110V AC or from a solar panel.
A major reason for installing an entrance gate is to increase the aesthetic appeal of a property, and many worry that choosing a solar powered gate will detract from this goal. However, the system does not require a large amount of power since the battery is constantly charging so a relatively small panel can be used. The panel can also usually be placed in such a way that limits visibility while still maintaining a steady stream of sun. Another common concern is that the solar panel will significantly increase the price of the system. The panels themselves can cost as little as fifty dollars and Mighty Mule’s Solar Panel Kit retails for about one-hundred and thirty dollars. Though this may represent a significant percentage of the total gate opener cost, particularly with cheaper models, in situations where running power to the gate would require an extended trench or similar undertaking, the convenience and potential savings on electrician fees can more than offset the price difference.