Solar-powered security cameras are powered by solar energy. When compared with conventional or grid-powered security cameras, these solar-powered security cameras are more reliable and more flexible. Using these promotes the use of green energy, so it will benefit both you and the environment.
What are solar-powered security cameras?
Solar-powered security cameras are powered by solar energy. They also work as conventional security cameras but give you much more benefits.
Mainly a solar-powered camera consists of;
- Solar panel
- Solar battery
- Charging controller
- Security camera
How do solar-powered security cameras work?
When solar panels are exposed to the sunlight, they will absorb the energy of the sunlight. Solar panels convert the absorbed energy to electricity. The output will be given as a DC voltage. This electricity will charge the solar battery.
The charging controller will control the charging process and secure the battery from overcharging. Then the power will transfer through the inverter. The inverter converts DC voltage to AC voltage. Then this electricity will power up the camera.
Advantages of using solar-powered security cameras (why you should buy them?);
- More reliable– unlike conventional security cameras, solar-powered security cameras do not rely on grid power. So you do not have to worry about any power outages. Conventional security cameras have backup batteries but they can power up the cameras only for a limited time. But with solar-powered cameras, it is okay if there is no power even for days.
Also, conventional security cameras easily get disarmed if someone interrupts the power line to your house. So intruders can easily get off. But as solar-powered security cameras do not rely on grid power, intruders cannot easily disarm them. So when compared to conventional security cameras, solar-powered security cameras are more reliable.
- Easy installation – solar-powered security camera kits are very easy to install. So you can install them on your own. Because of that, you do not need to pay extra to install these cameras like conventional security cameras.
- No need to worry about wires – with solar-powered security cameras, you do not need to worry about wires lying everywhere. As these devices are stand-alone equipment, they do not need any connection with power outlets. This is very important for your safety as these long wires can easily trip you off or electrify you in case of electric leakage.
- Good for large properties –you can install these solar-powered security cameras anywhere you want on your property as long as there is adequate sunlight. You do not have to worry about having power outlets nearby or about installing long connecting wires from the housing supply.
- Easy reinstallations- with conventional security cameras it is a lot harder to remove and reinstall them if you are not happy with the location. The main reason is the issues with the power supply. But you can reinstall solar-powered security cameras in any location you want without much trouble.
- Can add as many security cameras as you need – as you do not have to worry about getting a connection from the grid connection and having new power outlets you can add as many security cameras as you want to increase the security of your property.
- Environment-friendly option – solar power is a very environmentally friendly energy source. It does not produce any pollutants during the production process. But as most of the grid power is produced by burning fossil fuels, many pollutants are emitted during the production process. These pollutants increase global warming, acid rains, etc.
- Good for an off-grid living – rather than using convention security cameras that get power from house solar system, it is better to use these stand-alone solar-powered security cameras. It will help to decrease the workload of your house solar system, as these security cameras work 24/7.
Disadvantages of using solar-powered security camera;
- High initial cost – high initial cost is the major disadvantage for most solar-powered equipment. But you can get much more benefits from solar-powered security cameras when compared with conventional security cameras.
- Can only be installed at places where there is adequate sunlight – any solar-powered device need an adequate amount of sunlight to work properly. If the sunlight intensity is less the solar panel efficiency also is less (read more – “12 factors that affect the output of solar panels”). So if you are living in an area with lots of days without sunlight, we do not recommend using this product. Also, even if you are living in a very sunny area, you cannot install any shaded areas.
What you should consider before buying a solar-powered security camera (buyer’s guide)?
- Power of solar panels – the power of solar panels or the Wattage value of solar panels indicates how much output they will give per second. Higher the value, solar panels will work more efficiently. Your solar panels should be powerful enough to supply adequate power to your security camera.
- Battery capacity- solar battery is used to power up your solar–powered security camera when there is no sunlight. If the battery capacity is high, you can store more energy. So the security camera will work more time without sunlight.
- Memory storage – you can store the data on an SD card or cloud service. To store in cloud service your camera should be able to connect with Wi-Fi. If you store the data on a cloud service, you can access the data by any connection with an internet device by login into your account.
- Wi-Fi requirements- it depends on your needs.
- Resolution – resolution at least should be 1080p. Otherwise, it will be hard for identification purposes.
- Night vision – your security camera should have night vision if you want to monitor the area during nighttime. Security cameras use either IR or star vision.
- Motion sensor – if your security camera has a motion sensor then you can save your battery life as it only triggers when there is a motion in the range of the camera.
- Weatherproof/waterproof – all the solar panels and the security cameras have internal electrical circuits, which can easily be damaged by water. So the camera and the panels must be weather/waterproofed. So make sure that the product you are purchasing is weather/waterproof.
- Range- Range is the area that will cover by your security camera. Most cameras have about 33ft of range. You have to decide this based on the location and the area you want to cover.
- Manufacturer- like many other electrical devices, there are so many less-quality products available in the market. Usually, the products that come from well-known manufacturers have good quality. When compared to the less-quality products, these high-quality products are expensive. But they have more lifetime and higher efficiency.
- Warranty and after-sale service- the most well-known manufacturers will offer you a good warranty and after-sale services either for free or for a less price. So when purchasing products try to compare different brands to get the best offer.
1. Are solar-powered security cameras worth the price?
Yes, they are.
Even though solar-powered security cameras are expensive than conventional security cameras, they benefit you more. Make sure to purchase all the products you need from a well-known high-quality brand to get all the benefits.
If you purchase less-quality brands because of the cheap price tag, it will be a waste of money as most of these cheap brands will not give all the benefits of solar-powered security cameras.
2. Do solar-powered security cameras need direct sunlight?
No, they don’t.
Even though a solar panel work at a higher efficiency when it is exposed to direct sunlight, still it works under low light conditions too. Solar panels do not need direct sunlight to work. But they should receive an adequate amount of sunlight to work properly.
3. Can solar-powered security cameras work without sunlight or at night time?
Yes, they can.
Most solar-powered security cameras come with in-built solar batteries. The extra energy produced by the solar panels during the daytime will be stored in these solar batteries. When there is no sun, a solar battery will power up the security camera with stored energy.
4. How long do solar-powered security cameras last without sunlight?
This depends on the capacity of your solar battery.
You can decide the capacity you need for your battery by simple calculations. Let’s say your security camera power consumption is about 10W and the voltage value is 12V. To power up the camera for 15 hours only by the battery (without any production from solar panels), solar battery capacity has to be;
(10W*15h)/12v = 12.5Ah.
5. Do solar-powered security cameras work in winter?
Yes, they do work in winter.
There is sunlight even during winter. But solar panels efficiency can be less due to;
- Short day-time
- Snow accumulation
But the cold temperatures are good for solar panels.
Even though the efficiency can be less compared to sunny days if you maintain your solar panels properly it can produce enough power to power up the camera without any problem.
6. Are solar-powered security cameras water and weatherproof?
It depends on the brand you purchase.
When purchasing the products, make sure that they are weather/waterproof. Keep in mind that when purchasing these items you have to choose a well-known high-quality brand. There are many less-quality brands available in the market. Even though these brands state that these products are weather/ waterproof that can be false.
7. Do solar-powered security cameras need frequent maintenance?
They do not require frequent maintenance.
But, solar panels require cleaning from time to time, as debris like fallen leave, bird droppings can be accumulated on them. This debris can shade the panels and decrease the outputs. Especially in the winter season, snow accumulation on the panels can decrease the output drastically.
You can use clean water and cloth to clean them. But you have to be careful not to damage the panels. If you think you are not competent, hire professionals to avoid damages.
8. Do solar-solar powered security cameras need Wi-Fi?
No, they don’t.
Not all solar-powered security cameras require Wi-Fi. You can use an SD card to store data and inspect the data by reading the SD card.
But if your solar-powered security camera has Wi-Fi, then it will send you instant alerts, live feed and you can access the data through cloud service anywhere and at any time as long as you have an internet connection.
9. What is the average lifetime of a solar-powered security camera?
The average lifetime of a solar-powered security camera is around 10 years.
This depends on the quality of your solar-powered security camera. Normally high-quality solar panel’s average lifetime is about 25 years. A high-quality security camera will work finely for about 10 years. Some even work more than that. But the average lifetime of a solar battery is only about 3 to 5 years. So you have to replace the solar battery 2 – 3 times depending on the lifetime of the other components.