Electrical fences are frequently used for farms and any other properties to increase the security of the property against unwanted animals and intruders. In animal farms, electric fences are used to control the livestock. Solar-powered fences are a very good money-saving option for these farm owners or any property owners.
In this article, we will cover some frequently asked questions about solar-powered electric fences.
How does a solar-powered electric fence work?
A solar-powered fence consists of the following components;
- Solar-powered energizer
- Solar panels
- Charging controller
Most solar-powered energizers in the market come as a full kit with solar panels, a charge controller, and an inbuilt rechargeable solar battery.
When a solar panel is exposed to the sunlight it absorbs the energy of the sunlight. Then the solar panel converts the energy of the sunlight to electricity. The output of the solar panel gives a DC voltage.
This will store inside the battery. The charging will be regulated by the charging controller. Then the battery will supply the power to the energizer.
This energizer is grounded by connecting one terminal to a metal rod that is implanted to the ground. Then the other terminal of the energizer is connected to the bare wires of the fence which need electrical charging.
The terminal of the energizer which is connected to the bare wire will send a high voltage pulse along the wire by converting the power supplied by the battery. Most solar energizers send one pulse per second but this can be varying in different products.
When an animal or an intruder touches the charged fence and the ground at the same time, they will get an electric shock because the electric charge that flows along the fence will ground through their body. This shock is not lethal. But it depends on the voltage, energy of the pulse, degree of the contact, and the grounded route.
According to international regulations, this voltage is limited to a maximum of 10 000v. But this can be varying for special circumstances.
Advantages of solar-powered electric fences
- Do not have to worry about getting a grid power connection – using solar power to power up your electric fence will save you from lots of trouble. If you use grid power you need a power outlet to power up your fence. But with solar, you do not need to worry about installing a power outlet near your fence. This is more suitable for large farms as it is harder to get the grid connection to all the locations in a large farm.
- Gives more portability – by having solar-powered electric fences you can build your fence anywhere you want if there is good sunlight. You do not have to worry about not have power outlets where you want to build the fence. This is also very important for livestock controls. Also, this is a good and practical option to guard the animals in a carnival or an exhibition as you can fix this fence anywhere you want without worrying about having a grid connection.
- More security – if you use grid power to power up the energizer, then you have to supply power to the energizer by using extended wires from your home if there are no properly built outlets near the energizer. These extended wires can be dangerous if they are not properly installed. The reason is they carry the high AC voltage which can easily electrocute a person or animal in a case of a leakage. But by using solar-powered energizers you can avoid that as it does not need any grid supply.
- Can save money – even though you have to invest more money for a solar-powered electric fence at the beginning you do not need to worry about increased electricity bills. As the sunlight is free you get the energy supply for free.
- Save the environment – unlike grid power, solar power is clean and renewable energy. Production of grid power is mainly based on the burning of fossil fuels (which are not renewable and quickly depleting due to excessive usage). This production process releases many gases and substances that pollute the environment. This also leads to global warming, climate changes, and many more disasters.
- Does not need to worry about power outages – if you use a conventional electric fence you cannot use it in case of a power outage. Then you have to use a backup battery or a generator. Generators also use oils like diesel to get power. This will release more harmful gasses and also make lots of noise which can be a huge problem. But if you use a solar-powered electric fence you do not have to worry about power outages as it does not rely on grid power.
Disadvantages of using solar-powered electric fence;
- You can use these solar-powered electrical fences only in areas where there is good sunlight – to work properly solar energizers need a good amount of sunlight. Only if solar panels receive enough sunlight, can generate enough power. If you living in an area where there is frequent rain, snowing, or cloudy climates then solar power is not a good option for you. But you have more sunny days when compared to the days without sun, and then solar is a good option for you.
- High initial cost – most high-quality solar-powered equipment is expensive when compared to grid-powered equipment. So many people are reluctant to invest that much at first. So they prefer to use grid-powered equipment or they tend to purchase low-quality solar-powered equipment. But you should avoid purchasing low-quality solar-powered equipment as they do not work properly most of the time and has less a lifetime.
- Limited range – unlike grid-powered energizers solar energizers has limited range.
- Maintenance – solar-powered equipment requires regular maintenance, unlike grid-powered equipment. Especially you have to make sure solar panels are well maintained and there is no debris or snow accumulated on them.
Do solar-powered electric fences work at night?
Yes, they do.
As we explained earlier solar-powered electric fence system consists of a solar battery. This is an inbuilt solar battery that comes with a solar energizer. All the extra energy produced by the solar panels during the daytime will be stored in this solar battery.
This stored energy will be used during the nighttime to charge the fence. So the electric fence will work even in the nighttime. When purchasing the solar-powered energizer you have to make sure the battery capacity is enough to store extra energy to power up your fence throughout the whole night.
How long a solar-powered fence will last without sunlight?
This depends on the capacity of your solar battery.
Some solar energizer brands assure you that their energizers will last up to two to three works without sunlight. This depends on the capacity of the battery. Some energizers only last about one day due to low battery capacity.
Note – Just having a high-capacity solar battery is not enough. Your solar panels must be powerful enough to charge the battery.
What is the lifetime of a solar-powered electric fence?
The lifetimes of the components of the solar-powered electric fence are different from each other.
When we look at the solar-powered energizer, the solar panels will last about 25 years if you had purchased them from a high-quality solar equipment brand. But the solar battery will only last about 3 – 5 years.
The lifetime of the fence will differ according to the materials you had used to build it.
- You have to check from time to time that the energizer is stable and all the terminals are properly connected. Make sure that your energizer is properly grounded too.
- Make sure there is the proper voltage throughout the fence from time to time.
- You have to make sure that the solar panels are clean and not damaged to keep the efficiency of the solar panels.
- You have to check solar batteries for any damages or any leakages. Also, you have to replace them at the end of their lifetime.
- Make sure there are no plantations or weeds grow on the bare wires or the metal poles as they can cause electricity leakages.
Things you should consider before buying a solar-powered fence energizer;
- Battery capacity (Ah) – the battery capacity will decide how much energy your solar battery can store. If you have a high capacity that means your energizer can work more time without sunlight.
- Solar panels wattage (W) – solar panels wattage value shows how much power your solar panel produces per second under ideal conditions. Higher the watt value your panel will produce more power per second.
- Range – this will indicate how long your fence can be. This value should be selected according to your needs.
- Voltage – has to be between 2000v – 10000v.
- The energy of the pulse
- Durability – make sure your solar energizer is durable to wear and tear and extreme weather conditions a9weatherproof).
- Easy installation