The popularity of solar energy and sustainable living has increased at a healthy rate over the past few years as an increasing number of people have become more aware of the importance of taking care of our environment, how much damage we are causing to the environment and in what way.
Solar power energy technology has been around for some time now and, though it has some drawbacks, it’s still one of the most effective methods of converting rays from the sun into functional energy.
Until now solar energy would benefit you through the form of solar panels which you would install on the roof of your house, however now you have another option, potentially more aesthetically pleasing and easier to install option; solar fences.
What Is a solar panel?
Solar panels are large, flat, rectangles made up of a metal frame, glass, and most importantly photovoltaic cells. These cells are made up of semiconducting materials such as silicon which absorbs sunlight photons and then creates an electric current when in contact with direct sunlight. This energy is then converted into electricity and is commonly used to power household appliances, electrical sockets, lights, heating and cooling systems and just about any power-generated tools in your home.
Solar panels have proven to be great for the environment as they produce clean and renewable energy which has zero emissions, greenhouse gases or pollutants. To add to this, they can also be a clever bit of money management if calculated correctly, as solar panels can help save households money by bringing down their electricity bills and in some cases, depending on if government incentives are benignly offered, they can actually earn the homeowner some extra income by net metering or selling any excess energy back to the power grid.
Why Use a Solar Panel as a Fence?
Solar panels which are fitted on a roof finally have an alternative. Like with anything, there are positives and negatives to everything, however, solar panel fences have been rising in popularity due to a number of reasons. Eco-conscious individuals now have the possibility of making use of solar energy with a much cheaper and easier-to-maintain option.
A big advantage of a solar panel fence is the purpose for which it is built. These fences are using the power of the sun and convert it into usable energy for your home, helping you to reduce your energy bills and even providing the opportunity to earn some extra cash. Whereas before your wooden fence would have no other use apart from safety and privacy, now in addition to that you can save and earn money as well. Another great positive of solar panel fences is that they provide extra security than regular wooden fences as they are more difficult to climb.
It is still a relatively new product however a big drawback of solar panel fences is the price. Similar to regular solar panels, which are also quite pricey, the solar panel fence and cost of installation can easily run into the thousands however where you live, what kind of solar panel you want, and the size of the area required to cover in solar panel fences will determine exactly how much it will set you back.
Advantages of Solar Panel Fences
When compared with solar panels which are placed on the roof, solar panel fences are much easier to take care of and provide maintenance for. For starters, with them being on ground level, it’s very easy to notice any damage they may incur relatively quickly, giving you the chance to nip the problem in the bud.
When needing to do any maintenance work, there is no need for big ladders and a technician to climb up to dangerous heights and work on uneven levels. They are also vertically installed, making them easier to clean and less likely to collect dirt and dust than the horizontal ones placed on roofs.
Traditional solar panels require significant roof space in order for them to be worthwhile. Having a single or a handful of solar panels doesn’t provide enough energy to save the property owner a meaningful amount.
Solar panel fences, however, can provide a practical option as they are an upgrade on a standard wooden fence. Your security needs are met as they act as a boundary, you have the space required for the panels to make a difference to your monthly bills, and they are also quite eye-catching and modern for passersby.
Local authorities and governing bodies have also been advised to use solar panel fences as noise barriers and integrate them into public places to make use of their duality.
Drawbacks of Solar Panel Fences
Less Sun Exposure!
Having your solar panels standing vertically will reduce their exposure to the sunlight – compared to panels “lying down” on a roof. There’s no doubt that such a configuration is less efficient, meaning it will take longer for solar panels to pay for themselves.
Where you place your solar panels has a direct impact on how much energy they produce. Naturally, the more direct sunlight the panels are exposed to, the more energy they generate. Solar panels installed on roofs maximize the amount of sunlight exposure as there are less chances of something there to block the sun from reaching the panel.
A big problem with solar panel fences is that they are installed vertically, which means that there is a strong chance they will only receive sunlight for certain periods of the day. This in turn will result in the panels not producing as much energy, being less effective and taking a longer period of time to cover their own costs.
Now this one is a bit of a double-edged sword as the installation of the solar panels as fences lead to much easier accessibility for both technicians and — vandals.
There is no need to climb up using a ladder and take all of your tools up there with solar fences. You can keep a much closer eye on them and keep them clean and maintained in comparison with when they are installed on a roof that you rarely visit.
However, depending on the area you live in, it might be advisable to install them on the roof where they are much more difficult to reach than on your garden or home fence. It may be advisable to get insurance on the panels or even install CCTV to keep an eye on your expensive, money-saving equipment and reduce the chances of them getting damaged or vandalized.
What You Should Consider When Planning on Installing Solar Panel Fences
Having searched the internet and spoken to experts and people who have already gone for the solar panel fence option, here are a few ideas that can improve your purchase.
These panels are a little controversial as some experts believe that there is no point in installing these and that they are not as effective as made out to be.
However, the technology can only improve, and the concept is one which can solve the problem of only getting sunlight from one side. Having panels on both sides of the fence means it doesn’t matter where in the sky the sun is, your fence will catch all the rays.
Rotating Mounted Solar Panels
Non-optimal angles can reduce your solar panel’s efficiency, but it’s not always possible to angle a solar panel so that it’ll collect rays for the entire day.
One of the most common problems pertaining to solar panels is that if they aren’t bi-facial, they can’t be manually nor automatically turned in a different direction with more sunlight. Therefore, potential buyers are encouraged to mount bi-facial panels, especially on fences so that the angle of the panels can be turned throughout the day by hand or via an automatic rotation device if nobody is at home.
For those residing in high-crime areas, mounting solar panels on fences may not be a good option due to security reasons. In spite of this, the solar panels purchased can be installed in such a manner that it creates a patio awning. However, if residents do not want outsiders to see the solar panels, they can still be installed on the inside of a secure fence.
Maintenance of Solar Panel Fence
In order to ensure that your solar panel fence system is operating properly, it is crucial to survey its voltage and current output on a regular basis. Since dirt, dust, grime, bird droppings and other debris tend to block sunlight and hamper the smooth functioning of solar panels, cleaning them regularly is a must to prolong the system’s efficiency.
Cost of Solar Panel Fence
Many factors come into play when discussing the cost of installing a solar panel fence. These encompass the size and type of solar panels, installation costs depending on the residential location of the customers and the experience level of the installer. These aspects help potential customers finalize the overall price of such an investment and if in using it they will get their money’s worth.
What are the advantages of sustainable living?
Sustainable living refers to a way of life characterized by decreasing your environmental impact by relying on renewable energy sources such as solar power which result in little to no waste production. The countless advantages of sustainable living entail low-cost energy bills, an improvement in the quality of the environment, less pollution, enhanced quality of life which is linked to better health and more economic security.
What are the benefits of using solar energy?
There is a long list of positives that come with using solar energy, and they include; no production of pollutants and greenhouse gases, low price electricity bills, increased home value, an enhancement in property aesthetics, better home security, a cleaner environment, less dependency on fossil fuels and more economic security.