What Size Solar Panel for Gate Opener

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What Size Solar Panel for Gate Opener

A gate opener can be used for many different applications, from residential to commercial!

They can also be powered by solar power, which can help to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your home or business energy costs.

However, you will need to know what size solar panel will work for the gate opener that you have chosen.

Read on to learn more about solar gate openers, as well as how to calculate your solar panel requirements!

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What Is a Solar Gate Opener?

A solar gate opener is, essentially, a gate opener that runs on solar power, rather than regular electric power. Gate openers can of course be powered with regular electricity, too, but solar power can be more cost effective and is also more eco-friendly. Gate openers can come in a wide range, with many different features. For instance, smart gate openers are one of the current trends. They also come in different sizes and can be used for light commercial, residential, and barrier applications. 

Solar gate openers work with solar power, as can be gleaned from the name. That does also mean that the energy can only be generated in sunny weather or during the day when the sun is shining. However, many solar gate openers can store solar energy to be used later, in the event that you need to use your gate opener when it is not sunny out. 

How Do Solar Gate Openers Work?

Gate openers can work a few different ways, depending upon their design. For instance, they can be battery powered, electrically powered, or solar powered– they can also be a combination of these power options. If they are electrically powered, for example, they are fitted with electrical components that connect to your home’s power supply. The gate will then run on electricity and will be able to function as long as your power remains on. If your gate is too far from the house, however, electrically powering your gate opener may not be a viable option. 

For solar power, however, the gate opener is powered by either a built-in solar panel or an exterior solar panel that it must be hooked up to. In the second case, you will have to purchase the solar panel separately, as it is unlikely that a solar panel will be included in the kit. As long as your gate has access to sunlight, solar power is a great option. The higher the output of your solar panel, the more times your gate will be able to open and close. If you are only opening your gate a few times a day, a solar-powered gate is fine, but if you will be doing so much more frequently, electric or battery-powered gate openers are typically the best option. 

Solar-powered gate openers do need a battery as well since they can only run on solar power when the sun is out– unless the model allows you to store and convert the solar power that is collected during the day. Usually, this is done with a battery. That way, you will still be able to open your gate in the evening and nighttime, as well as on gloomy days when the sun is not shining. Many solar gate openers will come with batteries, too, but if they do not, you will need to find one that is compatible with your solar panel and with your gate opener’s system. The larger your solar panel, the higher the battery’s 

When Choosing a Solar Gate Opener

When you are doing your research and looking into the different solar gate openers out on the market, there are a few things that you should take into consideration. Most importantly, you should determine whether or not the gate location is even suitable for a solar-powered option, or if the battery or electric power might be a better bet. You should also take into account the gate size, as larger gates require more power to open.

Look into gate opener options that come with everything you need, so that you can save yourself the hassle of buying additional parts, cables, or tools. This will also save you money in the long run. Solar panel and battery inclusion in the kit is something to look out for, too. It will prevent the headache that comes with finding compatible products and ensures that you are choosing the right panels and batteries for whatever gate opener you end up selecting. Warranties and safety features are important, too– do not make a purchase before looking into this, as gate openers can be stressful and expensive to replace!

Calculating Your Solar Panel Needs

When you are purchasing a gate opener, you may luck out and find an option that works for you and also comes with everything you need– including your solar panel. Some models have built-in solar panels, while others may come with a compatible panel and battery so that you do not have to work out the calculations yourself. If, however, you do not have a kit complete with your required solar panel, it is still possible to calculate the size of the solar panel you’ll need. You can likely find calculators online where all you have to do is plug in a few numbers to get your answer, but we have included the calculations below, too. 

What Size Solar Panel Do I Need for Gate Opener?

If you are calculating the size of the solar panel you need, you will need to know a few things about the gate and gate opener that you have chosen. Firstly, you can look for a gate opener kit that supports the weight of your gate, and shop for your solar panel that way!

Another way to determine the required size of your solar panel is to take a look at the daily kWh energy requirement, and then divide that by your peak sun hours. You will then get your kW output. Once you have your kW output, divide that by the efficiency of the panel you are looking at– this number will then tell you how many of those panels you would need. 

Benefits of Solar Power

Why should you choose solar power over electric or battery power when it comes to your gate opener? Solar power does have some unique benefits, such as energy and cost efficiency. The location of your gate also has a say in whether solar power makes more sense. For example, if your gate is in a very sunny spot, there is plenty of solar power for you to harness to power your gate opener. If the gate is far from the house, it may also be unable to hook up to the electrical system of your home, making it either impossible or very expensive to install a gate opener that runs on electrical power. 

Solar power is eco-friendly, too, and helps us to fight climate change. If you are environmentally aware, this can be a large draw to implementing solar power into your day-to-day life. Even if you are not particularly focused on reducing your carbon footprint, solar power can help make a dent in your bottom line, too. Using the sun as a free resource to power your home can be more cost-effective in the long run and can be more energy efficient. You are using fewer fossil fuels, which will decrease your energy bill and allow you to save money– or just spend it elsewhere!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much power does a gate opener need?

If you are installing a gate opener, it is important that you make sure that you have enough power to make it work! A gate opener will need either 115V or 230V 1 phase power. This is enough for a residential, barrier, and light commercial gate opener applications. 

How do I calculate what size solar panel I need?

When calculating your solar panel needs, you will first need to know your daily kWh energy requirement. You should divide this kWh energy requirement by your peak sun hours in order to get your kW output. Then, divide the kW output by the panel’s efficiency to get the estimated number of solar panels that you will need for your system. 

What will a 300-watt solar system run?

A 300-watt solar system will run a constant AC load of 270 watts, as long as the system is at full irradiance. This calculation also takes into account potential inverter losses of 10%. This system would be able to run a small fridge with a 120Ah lithium battery, or other small appliances like desktop computers or treadmills. 

How many amps does a mighty mule gate opener draw?

A Mighty Mule gate operator is a low voltage automatic gate opener. These gate openers are operated by a 12-volt battery that has 7 amp hours– the battery can double as a battery backup during a power outage, too. 

James from the Privateers Garage
About the author

Lucas is one of the core writers and researchers for the Privateers Garage. He lives in Canada and Arizona and has two Garages. He loves writing about garage living, tech and getting stuff done. He is also a professional musician and sound guy.

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