Using Solar Power With Electric Fencing

The decision to use Electric Fencing situated in remote areas has been at a disadvantage due to the necessity of a regular power source normally supplied by a 12v recyclable battery. When using the larger 6 joule energisers drawing up to 500 mAmps this may be as frequent as every two weeks. Even then, as the voltage in the battery drops so does that in the fence as the energiser is a complex transformer converting the 9v to the running 6000+ volts. During recent years the development of advanced solar collection systems has changed the attitude of suppliers to this form of energy. In the past a panel could convert less than 5% of the energy available. However the efficiency of the modern monocrystalline panels run at nearly 20% and are better able to convert ambient light as well as direct sunlight to electricity. As a result a panel is no longer only suitable in the summer months and may now be used in the winter period as well.

Solar powered electric fences work by first collecting and then converting natural sunlight through special paneling named solar PV panels. This energy is then diverted to power packs (batteries) ready to be released when the energiser draws power. The arguments for installing a solar electrified fence.

1. A solar powered electric fence is able to run without access to mains electricity, this allows you to erect fences where it would usually be tough or not worthwhile. Isolated areas such as mountaintops or meadows can be contained without needing to struggle up and down every few days to replace the battery. A solar panel will energise the battery by day and the battery will provide energy to the electric fence all the time.

2. Solar electrified fences are transportable Solar powered fence energisers are easy to move if you intend to relocate your fence to a different plot. This is particularly useful should you decide to relocate cattle to graze in different areas. Unlike mains charged fences which need to remain near to a power source, Solar powered electrified fences can be taken down and re-built anywhere they are needed.

3. A battery will last longer by not being constantly drained of its charge. A battery who’s charge is maintained will last longer than one that is constantly being drained and recharged.

4. Another common problem with energisers are power surges between the main source of energy and the fence system. Solar powered chargers just do not fail this way. They can’t because they are not hooked up to the main electrical energy source.

5. The longer the section of fence you want to energise, the stronger the energiser you will need. These larger energisers will create a greater draw on the battery so a larger solar panel will be required.

When selecting a place in which to use your solar powered electric fence it is important to put thought to where to put the solar panel for the best exposure to the sun’s rays. The rest of your fence can be blocked by cloud but the panel must have access to as much direct sunlight as possible. Once you have decided on the placement of your PV Panels stop and ask yourself whether this panel will have sunlight year round or could a switch in season stop its access to sunlight. For this reason it is also advisable to check your panels once a month to ensure that they are constantly angled at an appropriate angle. In order to insure that an Electric Fence will remain functioning during the long winter months it is suggested that a larger than required panel is used. All modern panels protect the battery from over charging. A reasonable rule of thumb would be a 10 watt panel for energisers under 3 joules, a 20 watt panel for energisers over this.

There are tricks available to increase the output of a solar panel. A mirror placed so that it reflects suns rays on bto the panel will boost output. Care must be taken as it is possible to burn out the panel.

Is An Electric Fence Safe For My Animals?

Electric fences are a widely used method of containment in the UK often used by farmers, horse and livestock owners. As a method of containment they are superior to your standard post and wire fence due to a combination of cost, ease of maintenance and portability, but those unfamiliar with electric fences often think of Jurassic Park and picture young Timmy flying through the air, this encourages the perception that electric fences are dangerous, even life threatening; but are they? Well, there are so many animal lovers now using them that they must be safe, right?

In order to answer this, lets first take a look at how an electric fence works.

Your standard electric fence will be constructed from a number of posts, some conductive wire, rope or tape and a battery or mains power supply. The fence will be earthed at one end thus creating an open circuit. An electric current is pulsed around the fence passing through the electric wire, rope or tape until an animal touches it. By touching the wire an animal closes the open circuit. The current then passes through the animal and gets discharged into the ground, resulting in a mild shock for the animal in question.

So there’s the science, now what about the strength of that shock? Is it the kind of shock that could drop a cow? Well, the voltage of an electrical fence can be tempered to suit the size and strength of your animal. So for instance, it is safe to have a fence of 3,000 volts for a horse whereas anything up to 5,000 volts is safe for sheep or goats. Either way, the shock delivered to the animal is designed to teach that animal not to touch the fence again, not to harm it. The sensation delivered to the animal is unpleasant but not painful or overly powerful, farmers wouldn’t use an electric fence if it gave their sheep an afro every time they brushed against it. In fact, an animal is far more likely to hurt itself on a traditional post and wire fence than on an electrified fence.

Now for the other side of the story, yes its true that if the fence isn’t managed responsibly it could deliver a heftier charge, but a responsible and knowledgeable fence owner will not want to injure their animals any more than a human, and electric fence controllers are very easy to operate. In fact, the vast majority of electrified fences are even safe during rain storms. Strict safety standards also ensure that fences are safe to use.

So to summarise, electrical fences deliver a brief, safe shock that will not injure your animal, but will teach it to respect and avoid the fence thereby making it easier to contain. The same applies to any vermin that attempt to breach your fence in search of a meal. Most fences are built to strict safety standards and will not harm humans or animals.

For information’s sake, here is a list of guided voltages for different types of animals:

  • Horses: 3,000 Volts
  • Cattle: 3,000 Volts
  • Pigs: 3,000 Volts
  • Deer: 3,000 – 4,000 Volts
  • Sheep / Goats: 3,000 – 5,000 Volts
  • Bulls: 4,000 Volts

What to Consider When Buying Electric Fencing For Your Property

Electric fencing is used as a barrier to prevent animals or even people from escaping a property and also stops them from entering. The shock voltages of this kind of fence can be classified as moderate, painful and lethal. A person that owns this kind of fencing should get a proper permit from the local office and have it properly inspected and classified. The energiser can convert low power to generate it into a bigger quantity that radiates an electric shock on animals and humans. An electric fence, by rule of thumb, should not kill people or animals. Its main purpose is to shock them and keep them away from the property. The advantage of an electrical fence is that it can be seen, therefore giving advance warning. Moderate electricity and in some cases, an alarm, is also provided.

Your fencing efficiency depends on how much knowledge you have in regards to installing any kind of fence, if you are choosing the DIY option. Human error is the most common reason these electric fences fail to work. Plan ahead and make detailed references on the materials you need to use. Power cords, ground circuits, wiring and all other material installation should get proper attention. Bad weather can contribute to its inefficiency. The design should cover endurance in changing climates and wind movements.

There are three classifications of the type of fencing that provides a shock of electricity. They include the following:

Agriculture – Electric fencing that is used in agriculture is a simple standard smooth wiring that is installed all around the field. The disadvantage of this kind of fence is its potential to lose the whole units shock, if the current is disrupted. Unsuspecting individuals can also be a victim of this kind of fence.

Wild animals – An electric fence for wild animals is very useful. They’re normally found around airports, preventing animals from crossing the runway, or private properties where you need to fend off trespassers and animals that are potentially harmful to your crops and livestock.

Security – An electric fence that is used for security is classified into two stages, namely lethal and non lethal. A lethal fence is necessary on closed borders and in high security prisons that keep potentially high-risk prisoners. Non lethal types provide protection that prevents trespassers on government properties, warehouses, military bases and properties.

An electric fence is not only beneficial for the shock it provides, but they may also be useful in order to detect intruders. Many of these fences have warning signs and warning signals that will sound to alert the presence of the fence and the potential of danger.

In order to make your electric fence last, make sure you protect it from possible lightning flashes. Lightning protection does not offer one hundred percent immunity, rather, it minimises shock damage caused by the currents from lightning. Lightning strikes are severe and can be very damaging.

Electric Fencing can disrupt nearby telephone communications and this can cause static performance of data connections. Charged wires should be kept away from touching shrubs, leaves or trees to keep its “shock” efficiency. Proper installation should start from your ground circuits. If you would rather leave it to the professionals, then consider looking for a reputable installer.