11 Pros and Cons of Solar-Powered Gate SystemsMarch 18th, 2021

Did you know that with driveway gates you have an abundance of options and features available?

In fact, you can really have just about whatever your imagination can conjure.

If you want to save energy and help the earth, you certainly can do that too. Just install a solar-powered gate opener.

But, is that really the decision you want to make?

Consider all the pros and cons of solar-powered driveway gates below before making your final decision:

1 ) Pro: Save Money on Electricity

Driveway gates do use their fair share of electricity.

Just as solar panels placed on your roof can take your electricity bills to almost zero, a solar-powered gate opener reduces the grid-based electricity your gate uses to practically nothing too.

2) Con: Possibly Slightly Higher Installation Cost

Unlike solar panels for your home which cost as much as a new car, a solar-powered gate opener doesn’t cost that much more than one powered with a battery and AC electricity.

Installation costs depend on the particular opener and its installation package.

But you can count on not spending a small fortune more for solar power.

3) Pro: Stay Safe During Power Outages

You can design your driveway gate to open manually. That keeps you safe during a power outage regardless of the type of gate opener you have.

It’s always better when you don’t have to think about yet another thing when something goes wrong in life.

A solar-powered gate opener will still have electricity stored and can continue to open should a power outage happen.

4) Con: Can Run Out of Electricity

At the same time, if you have a larger and heavier gate, or if you open and close your gate a lot, it may use all the electricity stored in the solar gate opener’s battery.

You can still have your gate designed to open manually. Or, you can also design it to operate on AC power as a backup option.

While you can run out of electricity, it’s more of a minor inconvenience than a catastrophe.

5) Pro: Feel Good that You Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Most of the electricity you use comes from fossil fuel sources (coal or natural gas) that spew vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

That heats up the earth and factors strongly into the rise in the world’s temperature, which then fuels many natural disasters, such as flooding.

Solar power emits no greenhouse gases whatsoever. So, you can feel good you’re doing your part to protect the environment.

6) Con: Your Property May Not Support a Solar-Powered Gate Opener

For a solar gate opener to work, it needs enough access to the sun for hours every day. And it needs to have adequate access all year long.

As a result, solar-powered gate openers don’t work for every property. Talk with your gate contractor to learn if your property will give a solar gate opener the access to the sun it needs all year round.

7) Pro: Can Save You More Money If AC Power Isn’t Available

This doesn’t happen too often in our modern world. But it does come up.

You could be in a location where AC power is either unavailable (way out in the country somewhere) or simply would cost far more than solar power to access.

With standard alternating current power, you have to dig down in the ground and run wires from the power pole to your gate. In some cases, that can skyrocket your installation costs.

In such situations, installing solar power may actually save you quite a bit of money.

8) Con: Weather Can Limit Availability

Let’s say you need to open and close your gate a lot at night. Or, perhaps you hit a relatively long streak of rainy and cloudy days.

Your solar gate opener doesn’t have the access to the sun that it needs to generate and store electricity.

If this happens, then you may not save the electricity you had intended.

While your savings may not be what you want, remember that you can design your gate to open manually or operate on AC power as a backup (as noted before).

9) Pro: Get Money Back from the Federal Government

Yes, the US Government still offers you money back when you install a solar-powered gate opener.

Currently, you can get 26% of your project’s cost back through the end of 2022.

This was actually signed into law by President Trump in December 2020. Previously, the credit was set to be 22% through the end of 2021, and would then disappear entirely in 2022.

But, you don’t have to worry about that happening for now.

10) Con: A Little More Maintenance

While solar-powered gate openers come with more maintenance, they fortunately don’t come with a lot more.

You’ll have to wipe down the solar collector itself a couple times per year. And you may have to trim back shrubs or trees if they’re nearby so they don’t block your solar panel.

But, that’s it!

11) Pro: No Sacrifice in Your Choice of Accessories

While solar panels can sometimes struggle to give you all the electricity you need, you don’t have to give up any accessories (keypad, eyebeam) for your gate.

Solar usually provides all the electricity your gate needs to do everything you hope it will.

And if there’s any doubt about its ability to do so, then you simply go with a standard AC-powered gate, or have a backup power option installed.

A Final Rule of Thumb

A solar-powered gate opener can power the typical gate enough to open it 8-10 times per day. It may only be able to open a larger gate 2-3 times per day.

But like we’ve said a couple times already, you can design backup options for opening your gate so you never have to worry about your gate not opening. And you can still enjoy the benefits of going solar.

What did you learn? Does a solar gate opener make sense for you?

Now you can make the right decision for yourself.