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How Much Sunshine is Required For a Solar Powered Gate Opener?

how much sunshine is required for a solar powered gate opener

A solar-powered gate opener needs about 8 hours of sunshine daily to function properly. This amount transfers approximately 8-12 “cycles” per day for opening and closing the gate.

Table of Contents

Solar-powered gate openers need approximately 8 hours per day of sunshine to provide about 8-12 opening and closing daily “cycles.” As a property owner, you seek tools that provide a better way to manage the entrance. A solar-powered automatic gate opener is one of the most useful modern conveniences of our time. It safeguards your property against intruders and provides maximum privacy without the need for electrical power.

What is an Automatic Solar Powered Gate Opener?

First, let’s discuss the fundamentals of this type of gate-opening system. An automatic solar-powered gate opener is a device that is installed on your gate, which functions with electrical power harvested from sunlight. It allows you to open and close your gate without manual effort. With the push of a button, you can command the gate to function as needed.

Some automatic gates that receive power from solar energy also work with rechargeable batteries. This type of system allows you to have an additional power source if you are not able to harvest enough sunlight. Another way to back up your energy source is by connecting your solar-powered gate opener to a hard-wired system to ensure you never have to completely rely on sunlight.

How Does AC Charged Systems Work?

Automatic gate openers that are AC-charged are made with a low-voltage transformer that connects to the system’s charge controller. This allows you to receive approximately operate about 575 cycles per day without the need for draining the battery power.

In the case that the AC power does not work or goes out, you will have enough power for the operator to function for weeks. That is the average for approximately 20 cycles per day or below. The accessories that are connected to the gate opener are essential for the whole system to function properly.

You must be sure to use accessories that are solar-friendly so that your system does not encounter battery failure prematurely. This is especially important when power outages occur in your area.

Knowing How Solar Charged Systems Work With Your Automatic Gate Opener

You can expect your solar-powered automatic gate operator to carry out a sufficient number of cycles per day. This is the case with most types of installations by a professional contractor. Your system is likely to work with only one solar panel installed. However, this one solar panel must be positioned correctly to ensure it receives enough sunlight each day.

If solar panels are positioned in a part of your property where they do not receive enough sunlight, it will not matter how many solar panels you install for your automatic gate opener. Additionally, for your solar panel to absorb sunlight properly, it must remain clean and free of obstructions.

You must also keep in mind that any accessories that are installed do not interfere with the solar panel’s contact with sunlight. This is why it is important to only use solar-friendly accessories to avoid premature failure of the battery. A knowledgeable contractor should be able to provide you with a list of solar-friendly accessories that are appropriate for the type of automatic gate opener you have.

How Much Can I Expect to Spend on a Solar-Powered Gate Opener?

The price you can expect to pay for a solar-powered automatic gate opener depends on the type of system you install. There are many variables when choosing a system, which means the prices will vary.

Since all gate openers are different, it is best to first decide which type of system is the most appropriate for your property. Then, you can shop around to compare prices and choose the one that fits your budget. Whether you choose to install a swing or sliding gate will also affect the cost.

In addition, the weight of your gate will dictate how powerful your automatic gate opener needs to be. You must remember that the gate opener is designed to be in use several times throughout the day and even more if it is on a commercial property. Most properties benefit from having a heavy-duty gate opener that is sure to last longer.

In general, you can expect to spend a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of around $5,000 for advanced installations. It is best to spend a bit more to have a professional installer complete the project. Although some people take on the task themselves, it is a DIY project that can get complicated and requires specialized knowledge.

Will Solar Panels Work Where I Live?

If you have some doubts about how well solar panels work where you live, you don’t need to worry. Even if you live in a region of the country where you don’t receive constant sunlight, there are ways to work around this problem.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar panels can absorb sunlight no matter the climate in which they are installed. However, it is important for solar panels to not be obstructed by trees or other structures.

Moreover, solar panels must be new because they deteriorate with age and are not able to absorb the same amount of sunlight. They must also be positioned in a place that does not receive much shade, which is why they are ideal on unobstructed rooftops.

Forbes wrote an article that explains how the use of a solar battery allows you to save extra electrical power for nights and cloudy days. They also mention the use of a net metering program, which is an electrical storage system provided by a municipal electric grid that also gives you credit from your utility company.

Sunlight Requirements For Automatic Gate Opener

The power needed for your automatic gate opener depends on the level of activity that occurs at your property. Depending on the amount it opens and closes per week, you may need either multiple panels at 10 Watts and up to an output of 20 Watts. If you have a heavy gate that requires a high amount of activity per week, such as in a commercial property, you will likely need a 30 Watt panel to produce enough electricity consistently.

What is the Required Amount of Direct Sunlight I Will Need?

On average, most automatic gate openers require solar panels to harvest about eight hours of sunlight per day. This quantity of solar energy is sufficient for most gate openers at a moderate rate of activity each week.

What is the Best Solar Panel Location for Maximum Efficiency?

For maximum efficiency, the solar panel that powers your automatic gate opener should be facing south, which is the path of the sun. The panel should be positioned in an area that is free from obstructions or shade. For ideal results, be sure direct sunlight is received for at least eight hours.

What is the Ideal Amount of Sunlight Per Day?

Each day, the solar panel should have at least eight hours of direct sunlight for most gate openers. This is enough energy to keep the battery charged each day considering the average gate opens and closes approximately 10 times per day.

What is the Power Consumption Needed For a Certain Amount of Cycles Per Day?

The average automatic gate openers for residential properties consume approximately 100 Watts of electrical power each day. If you have a more active gate, it can consume around 700 Watts each day. This is considering that the average opening and closing cycle takes about 20 seconds to complete in each direction, for a total of 40 seconds per cycle.

How to Deal With a Limited Amount of Sunlight During Winter

Winter months can have significantly less sunlight, which can pose a problem if your automatic gate opener relies on solar power. To overcome this challenge, you can ensure your solar panels are always clear from snow, debris, and other obstructions. In addition, you can also consider installing extra panels to help absorb more solar power.

The solar power will be stored in backup batteries that will provide power to your automatic gate opener on dark and cloudy days.

How to Determine How Many Watts Are Needed For Solar Gate Opener

The best way to determine how many watts are necessary to operate your solar power automatic gate opener system is to estimate the number of times the gate is used. You can observe on an average day to see the level of activity on your property. However, an easier way is to consider the market average, which requires about 10 to 20 Watts.

For a more active gate, consider a 30 Watt panel to produce enough electricity for a single open gate. Dual gate openers will require more Watts for every cycle it completes. It is a matter of assessing your particular situation, which can be done with the help of a professional contractor.

Choosing the Appropriate Battery Type and Size For Your System

A backup battery is essential for a consistent power source to keep your gate functioning. When choosing a battery, you must determine how much sunlight you can harvest where you live. If you live in an area of the country that doesn’t receive much sunlight during certain months of the year, you will likely need a battery with a more ample reserve capacity.

Most automatic gate openers work well with a battery that provides about 30 to 35 amp-hours. This type of power is enough for the gate to function for several weeks. It is the best solution when you experience a power outage.

How Long Can I Expect the Gate Opener Battery to Last?

You can expect the battery to last for three to five years with normal use. This is the case with most 12V batteries.

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Solar Gate Opener?

Statistics report that about 3.7% of homes in the U.S. use solar power. There are many benefits you can enjoy from your solar gate opener. These include:

Maximum Energy Efficiency

With the utilization of solar power, you can maximize your property’s energy efficiency. You will have a lower carbon footprint by not relying on the electric utility company. Compared to a gate opener that relies on the municipal electrical grid, a solar-powered system is much more efficient.


To help the environment without compromising convenience, a solar-powered automatic gate opener is the best choice for your property. It is a sustainable solution that will allow you to enjoy the convenience of an automatic gate opener responsibly.

Solar Saves Money

An automatic gate opener that is powered by solar-generated electricity will save you a significant amount of money in the short and long term. This means that you can count on your electricity bill to be less expensive each month compared to electric gate openers.

Remote Gate Operation

You probably can’t imagine the time when people had to open gates manually. Automatic gate openers are much safer to operate and provide the modern convenience every property should have.

Backup Battery Power

The great thing about solar power gate openers is that they will function even when sunlight is not available. With the help of backup batteries, you can continue the proper operation of the gate without interruptions of malfunction.

Helps to Increase Your Property’s Value

Properties that have an automatic gate opener are valued more than those that don’t have one. It is an easy way to enhance the real estate value of your property and offer features to buyers that could help your home sell faster.

No Need For Utility Connections

Having solar power is very liberating because you don’t have to rely on the utility company. Being independent from the electric company brings many advantages to property owners including not relying on power interruptions or elevated utility prices.

Capacity For Remote Monitoring

Most automatic gate openers are installed with various accessories that allow you to monitor your property. It is ideal for monitoring who stops at your gate. This system allows you to keep intruders out and enhance your level of privacy.

Easy Scalability

By having solar panels, you can scale the system very easily. You don’t need to do a complicated restructuring of electrical wires if you need more power. All you have to do is simply install more solar panels as needed.

Reduction of Noise

Solar panels are very quiet and provide a simple solution for your electrical power requirements.

Disadvantages of Solar Powered Gates

Requires Significant Initial Investment

Although the initial investment is higher than other types of gates, solar power gates pay themselves off with the energy costs they provide.

Power is Dependent on Weather

Weather variations can be a problem for keeping a solar gate functioning with a backup battery. During winter and cloudy days, the performance will diminish in a significant way. They require a consistent sunny climate between 66°F to 90°F for best performance.

Requires Regular Maintenance

Solar powered gates have various components including expensive gadgets that require regular maintenance. A professional contractor should regularly inspect all components to ensure they are working properly. Additionally, the solar panels must be cleaned regularly to allow the sunlight to fully transmit power.

Battery Must be Well-Maintained

Solar batteries must be regularly checked for signs of corrosion. If you see any discoloration, it must be cleaned immediately with baking soda to avoid rust buildup. You must also check for odors such as a sulfuric or rotten egg-like smell, which indicates the buildup of hydrogen sulfite.

Specific Onsite Installation is Required

Solar gates require a comprehensive installation specially designed for your property.

Installation Can be Complex

Installing solar gates is a bit more complex compared to electric gates.

Compromised Performance During Extreme Conditions

The performance can be diminished if your area experiences a big storm or other types of extreme weather.

May Offer Limited Features

Compared to electric gates, solar power gates may have more basic features, which limit their functionality.

Must be Compliant With Local Codes and Regulations

You must pay attention to local regulations to ensure your property is compliant when installing a solar system.

Maintenance May be Difficult For Particular Systems

Depending on the type of system you have, maintenance can require extra effort.

Various Types of Solar Powered Gates

Swing Gates

Swing gates have a pair of wings that slide open and close when the sensor is activated by the push of a button, voice command, or other activation method. You frequently see these types of gates at train stations, airports, and some commercial and residential properties.

Sliding Gates

These types of gates have bottom wheels that allow the fence to slide side to side. They are easily combined with electricity and solar power.

Security Gates

These gates are specially designed to provide maximum security. Solar power allows them to secure a property even at night.

Customized Gates

You can order customized gates designed for your specific needs. There are many features that you can choose for the type of functionality and style you want.

Driveway Gates

Driveway gates can be parting, swinging, or sliding. These can be installed in an existing driveway gate or a newly installed gate.

Commercial Gates

Commercial gates provide maximum security and work well with solar power. They save energy costs and are a great investment for businesses.


How much sun does a solar gate opener need?

The solar panel connected to your gate opener needs approximately eight hours of unobstructed sunlight each day. This amount of solar energy powers about 8-12 opening/closing cycles daily.

Do solar power lights need direct sunlight?

Yes, for solar lights to work properly, the solar panel should receive unobstructed sunlight. It is important to ensure that the solar panel is placed away from shaded areas or trees that can block sunlight.

How far can solar panel be from gate opener?

The proper position of the solar panel can vary depending on the time of year. Generally, it is best to position it as close as possible to the gate opener. In most cases, the solar panel should be no more than 100 feet from your gate opener’s control box.

Do solar powered gates work at night?

Yes, solar powered gates work at night as long as you have a charged backup battery. The battery needs to store enough solar power for night and cloudy days.

Do solar generators work on cloudy days?

Yes, solar generators work on cloudy days and during winter months. However, the quantity of electrical power that is harnessed is less compared to sunny days.

How many hours will a solar generator last?

It depends on how much the automatic gate is used. Most homes run about 8-12 cycles of opening and closing per day. Consider the fact that it takes about eight hours of harvesting sunlight to power that amount of cycles. You must observe your habits to have a closer estimate.

Should inverters installed outdoors be kept out of direct sunlight?

Although most inverters connected to the grid are designed for outdoor installations, they must be mounted away from direct sunlight to increase their efficiency. It will also lengthen their lifetime.

Do solar gate openers work well?

Yes, solar powered gate openers work as well as those connected to a direct electrical supply line. As long as you can keep a backup battery charged, you will achieve proper function.

What is the temperature range for solar inverters?

For a solar inverter not to derate, it should be kept in a shaded area with enough airflow at temperatures below 45-50 degrees C (113-122 degrees F).

Do solar lights charge on rainy days?

Solar lights can charge even on rainy days, but they may not be as bright as when they are charged with full sunlight.

Do solar lights get brighter with more sun?

Yes, the more direct sunlight solar lights can receive, the brighter they will be. You will notice they become dimmer when they receive light during cloudy days.

How long does a solar gate opener battery last?

You can expect a solar gate opener battery to last an average of 5-15 years or approximately 250 cycles. However, these numbers change according to your actual usage and how well you maintain it.

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