Should you consider a solar energizer for your electric fence?
The advantage of solar is well known: When the sun shines, the solar panel recharges the battery which eliminates the hassle of carrying the battery to and from a recharger. Users like the “plug-and-play” simplicity of solar units—just place it on the ground next to the fence, drive in a ground rod and attach the leads.
How do solar units compare to other types of energizers?
- Solar units are very portable and quick to set up, operable in minutes.
- No buried lead-out wires or underground cables are required.
- Premier’s unique energy-saving energizers automatically reduce battery drain by as much as 70% when the fence is not in contact with green weeds. For even more efficiency, the panel on solar units can be adjusted to match the angle of the sun through the seasons.
- They’re larger in physical size (and heavier) than plug-in or battery only energizers—because of the battery, solar panel and case.
- They’re more expensive per joule of output—again because of the battery, solar panel and larger case.
- Limitations on output also limit the length of weed-laden fence that can be properly energized.
- For some reason solar units are attractive to thieves and vandals. Best to keep them out of sight.
- Solar units require more maintenance such as:
- Keeping the panel free of dust, debris, snow and ice.
- Keeping the panel fully exposed to the sun—unshaded by trees, grass, fence posts or buildings.
- Proper storage and maintenance of battery when not in use.
How much output do I need?
It depends. A good rule of thumb is to buy a larger fence energizer than you’ll think you need. When the fence pleases, most folks will buy more fence—and need additional output. More output also equals less hassle from weeds and ornery livestock. In most cases, a 0.60 joule unit will cover most needs (3-5 rolls of net).
We’ve compiled a list of common energizer questions to help you choose the right unit for your situation. Or call us at 800-282-6631. Our folks are used to helping in a soft, no-pressure way and have used many of the units we sell on their own farms.
Solar Energizer Comparison Chart
|Name||Output (in joules)||Cost||Cost (per joule of output)||Battery Size||Solar Panel Size||Should Power (rolls of net)|
|Solar IntelliShock 30||0.30||$223||$743||12 amp||5 watt||1-2|
|Solar IntelliShock 60 with Digital Tester||0.60||$285||$475||12 amp||10 watt||3-5|
|SolarStop 80 with Digital Tester||0.80||$294||$367||12 amp||10 watt||3-5|
|Solar IntelliShock 120||1.20||$369||$308||24 amp||10 watt||6-10|
|Solar IntelliShock 120X||1.20||$403||$336||24 amp||20 watt||6-10|
|Solar IntelliShock 180||1.80||$510||$283||35 amp||30 watt||9-15|
Looking for a solar energizer not featured here? Design your own system using our “DIY” solar panels and accessories.
Are they less expensive?
No. Plug-in units cost less because they don’t need a battery and energizers that only run off a battery don’t have the more expensive solar panel to recharge the battery.
When compared to our competitors, Premier’s solar energizers have a much higher pulse output—ranging from 0.30 to 2.0 joules. Most farmstore units are too weak to stop more than a horse or dairy cow—and often not even then if the fence happens to experience high weed contact.
Premier’s load sensing solar units provide enough power for all types of livestock, including sheep, goats, poultry and wildlife or for fences that experience heavy weed contact. And they cost less per joule of output than from any other source.
What powers a solar energizer at night and on cloudy days?
A DC battery. They all have one—even if it’s hidden inside a plastic case. Since it is common for cloudy weather to last a week the battery must be large enough to supply the energizer for several days. That’s why Premier’s solar fence energizers are sized to provide reserve energy for a minimum of 4 sunless days.
Correct placement of the energizer and solar panel is critical to the best operation of the unit.
- Position the energizer so that the solar panel faces due south.
- Determine the correct tilt angle for the solar panel. The sun’s position above the horizon will change from season to season. As a general recommendation, an angle of 50° is optimal for the longest use in most areas of the continental USA. However, the ability of the solar panel to recharge the battery can be maximized by making angle adjustments each season as shown in the illustrations below.
- Regularly remove all debris from the solar panel.
Note: In the northern USA from November until February, there may not be enough hours of sunlight to fully recharge the battery. You may be required to charge the battery externally.
How to convert to a plug-in (AC) unit:
Solar IntelliShock® fence energizers feature an external charging port which allows the unit to be operated without a battery and plugged directly into a 110V power source.
Place the energizer near an outlet and where the 110V power adapter will be protected from inclement weather. Do NOT use an extension cord as it may cause a decrease in voltage and expose the power adapter to the elements. (Not covered by warranty.)
Tip: If the fence is located away from the energizer, use insulated wire (ideally buried underground), which can maintain voltage across longer distances.
Winter Maintenance Tips
Properly storing your solar fence energizer reduces strain on the battery. Over time, batteries will drain their energy, even when not being used. Periodic recharging of the battery while in storage prevents them losing too much energy, thereby extending their lifespan.
When using a solar fence energizer in the winter, many find keeping an extra 12V battery on hand to be an effective strategy to maintain voltage on the fence during the low sunlight months. (Especially in the northern USA.) We recommend using a 2 amp battery tender when recharging the spare battery to prevent overcharging.
2 Year Warranty
When you buy an energizer from Premier, you purchase more than an energizer. You also obtain these benefits:
- Free technical support. We will provide free advice and support both before you purchase an energizer or fence and afterwards for as long as you wish our help. This also applies to energizer repair issues. If you are not sure how to replace a module, we will “walk” you step-by-step through the process via telephone.
- If an energizer fails within 2 years of its date of purchase and we’re unable to resolve the malfunction, we will replace the module or unit at our cost. Your credit card will be charged for the replacement but you will receive full credit when the failed item is back at Premier. Your only cost is shipping the failed item to us. If the original energizer is over 2 years old, we will repair and/or replace it, but you pay for the repair cost and freight. Note: Policy does not apply to failure due to abuse or neglect. Misuse and flood damage are not covered. Batteries have a 30 day warranty.
- Free next-day shipment of warranty replacement energizers. A unit can be shipped by 2 p.m. Central Time to be received the next day. (Calls on Friday after 2 p.m. will ship Monday.) If you think your energizer has failed, call us at 800-282-6631. We’ll help you test your energizer to ensure that it has truly failed. This is important because 25% of the units we receive back work fine. The fence was at fault instead of the energizer.
- Solar energizer packages. With larger energizers (over 1 joule), the panel, battery and energizer need to be correctly sized for each situation. We will do this for you at no cost if you call us.
- Five-year assurance against energizer obsolescence. Premier’s “contract” with our customers includes repair or replacement of any non-working units for up to 5 years whether the unit is “obsolete” or not. During the 2-year warranty period, Premier pays for the replacement cost.
Due to risk of fire, do NOT use continuous output fence chargers with electric netting or electro-plastic conductors such as rope, twine or tape. Use only with a low- or wide-impedance intermittent pulse energizer. (Fi-Shock™ brand energizers which are sold as low-impedance, continuous current output should NOT be used with electric netting.) All energizers sold on Premier’s website use an intermittent pulse and are suitable for use with electric netting.
In 1991 an accidental fatality occurred when a young child’s head contacted an electrified fence while the child was crawling on wet grass. The fence was correctly installed and functioning properly. The energizer was a UL approved unit. As a result, Premier strongly advises against allowing toddlers access to any electrified fences. Also, due to this incident and others, experts now suggest that human contact by an energized wire to the head and neck may be the most dangerous point of contact. We urge all to especially avoid this kind of contact.