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The power of the sun's energy is that it's far-reaching. And with today's solar technologies, even rural areas can have access to electricity. However, it's not just large properties that can take advantage of a solar-powered electric fence. Home gardeners can reap the benefits too! Read on to see if this clean energy alternative is right for you.
What is a solar-powered electric fence?
A solar-powered electric fence is the clean energy alternative to a regular electric fence. Both are a means to deter livestock from leaving or entering a surrounded area by administering a quick yet effective electric shock. The shock itself is brief and will not cause any loss of life.
Typical voltage for these barriers is between 2,000 and 10,000 volts, with 10,000 volts being the maximum voltage allowed by law. For every 1 millimeter of hide on an animal, 2,000 volts must be used otherwise the animal won’t feel anything. It’s important to keep in mind that livestock fur will be thicker during winter months.
The advantage to any solar-powered electric fence is its great for rural areas that might experience difficulties with electrical connections. By using the power of the sun, light is converted into energy via a solar charger (a small PV panel). The charger then supplies power to the surrounding wires allowing livestock owners to protect their herd and their property without needing to rely on the grid.
How much do solar chargers cost?
Typical solar chargers cost anywhere from $100 to $500, but some can cost as much as $1,000 depending on the brand. The wire needed for solar fencing ranges from 0.10 to 0.20 cents per foot. Take a look at the table below for a price comparison of various solar chargers.
|Solar Fence Charger||Cost*|
|American FarmWorks 2-Mile Solar Energizer||$129.99|
|AgraTronix 15 Joule ULTRA-Low Impedance 12V Solar Energizer||$207.69|
|Deluxe Field Solar Pak 6 Charger||$209.99|
|Solar IntelliShock® 60 Energizer||$285.00|
|Parmak MAG-12-SP 12 Volt Magnum Solar-Pak 12 Charger||$309.99|
|Zareba® 15-Mile Solar Low Impedance Charger||$336.49|
|Gallagher S40 Solar Charger||$359.99|
*Costs are approximate.
How to Install a Solar-Powered Electric Fence
There are two options when installing an electric fence on your property. You can either install it yourself, or call an electrician for help.
If you're planning to put in the fence on your own, the gist of the setup process is fairly simple. It will require:
- Mounting the solar charger.
- Setting up posts around the perimeter of the property.
- Running the wire around the posts.
- Grounding the wire.
- Connecting the wire to the solar charger.
If any of the above steps sound like they’re outside of your comfort zone, call a professional to help with the installation. It is also a good idea to check local city laws to see if your town requires a permit for an electric fence.
The Benefits of a Solar-Powered Electric Fence
1. Multiple Applications
Beyond keeping livestock from being able to leave your property, electric barriers are also a great addition for your home garden. Instead of putting up an enclosure to keep a specific pest from enjoying your fruits and vegetables, a solar-powered fence will keep animals ranging from squirrels to deer out of your plants.
For health-conscious gardeners, this also means you won’t need to spray harmful repellants on your vegetation to keep unwanted visitors away.
2. Better for the Environment
A fence powered by the grid is a fence powered by fossil fuels. The solar alternative is instead charged by the sun, making it environmentally-friendly.
3. Ideal for Large Properties
Some land is so expansive that running electrical wires in far reaching areas doesn’t make sense financially. With a solar-powered enclosure, landowners are able to secure their land from corner to corner without all of the hassle.
Since the fence will be powered by a solar PV charger, land or homeowners can put their chargers anywhere they receive ample sunlight. Chargers can easily be moved to different locations as well for simple and efficient relocation.
5. Great for Temporary Fencing
If you’re on the road and need to set up a temporary pen, for example, solar fencing is an ideal solution given their flexibility and relatively easy installation process.
6. Power on Cloudy Days
When a solar electric fence is paired with a backup battery, the battery will store excess energy that can be used to supply power when sunlight is low.
7. Power During Outages
Probably obvious, but since solar-powered electric fences are powered by the sun, landowners won’t need to worry about a grid outage disrupting their fencing.
8. Lower Energy Bill
One great advantage of installing a solar-powered fence is that it won’t add more money to your electricity bill. While solar charges can be pricey up front, your bank account won’t be affected in the long run.
Where can I purchase a solar charger?
Fortunately for those interested in installing a solar-powered electric fence, accessing the necessary materials to do so is easy. Solar chargers can be purchased online, or at most local and big box hardware stores. A quick Google search for “solar fence charger” will be able to show you where you can find one near you.
A Solar-Powered Electric Fence is a Great Alternative
Like all things powered by the sun, a solar-powered fence is an environmentally friendly solution to keep property, livestock or a home garden safe and secure. Additionally, they’re extremely cost-effective, readily available and relatively easy to install. If you’re a farmer, landowner or simply a home gardener, an electric charger could be the solution for you.