All About Solar-Powered Security Cameras
Solar-powered security cameras have appeal on many levels, from eco-friendliness to cost savings. However, they may not be right for every home. Before investing in one as part of your security arsenal, consider the pros and cons of this sun-powered security option.
How Do Solar-Powered Security Cameras Work?
Solar cameras are nearly identical to standard cameras. The only major difference is how the camera gets its power.
Security camera systems use either hardwired (Power-over-Ethernet or PoE) cameras or wireless cameras. PoE systems transmit both electricity and data via ethernet cables. By comparison, a wireless camera uses a battery as a power source and transmits data via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. When the battery runs out, the property owner must charge and replace it.
Solar power changes this equation slightly. Like all solar devices, solar-powered security cameras use photocell panels to capture sunlight and convert it into stored energy. This energy is then transferred to the camera’s battery. Ideally, this continually recharges the battery and eliminates the inconvenience of taking the camera’s battery out and replacing it.
It’s an elegant solution that some homeowners love. But will you?
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar-Powered Security Cameras
What should you consider when weighing an investment in solar security cameras? Here are some important factors.
Solar-powered security cameras often appeal to homeowners for the cost savings. Powering hard-wired cameras or charging batteries adds to your electric bill, but you don’t have to pay for sunlight. This cost-free energy source can add up to measurable savings over time. It’s not a huge amount, but if your property needs a lot of cameras, you might take an “every little bit counts” approach to saving money.
However, there’s a small caveat. Solar-powered cameras can cost more upfront. If you can swallow that, you’ll recoup the difference over the long term.
Solar-powered cameras tap into the power of the sun for their “fuel.” It’s a renewable resource. Plus, it doesn’t require costly infrastructure like some other energy sources do (e.g. windmills, turbines). As a result, ongoing use of a sun-powered camera doesn’t leave much of a carbon footprint. If going green is part of your lifestyle, solar cameras fit right in.
Pro: Good for Remote or Large Properties
If every spot on your property isn’t conveniently located near a reliable electricity source, solar-powered cameras can be a great option. Even if you have access to electricity, solar and wireless cameras eliminate the need for running a lot of wiring, which saves time and money.
Compared to hardwired cameras, solar-powered security cameras are easy to scale toward a full-fledged security outfit. You can keep adding more and more cameras for better and better coverage without doing any additional electrical work.
Pro: Easy to Install
Because there isn’t that extensive wiring required, solar-powered cameras appeal to the DIY-er who appreciates simplicity. In most cases, all you have to do is attach a solar panel to your wall or siding and connect it to your camera. Some camera models may even have a solar panel built into the camera’s casing, which eliminates a few steps.
In addition, because they’re so easy to install, you can avoid the cost of professional services. Win-win.
Con: Less Installation Flexibility
It’s an unavoidable fact: these cameras need the sun to operate. As such, positioning some locations doesn’t make sense. You may need to forgo solar cameras if you’ll need cameras under eaves or overhangs, in shaded areas, or indoors.
Con: Not Great on Cloudy Days
A solar-powered camera needs several hours of sunlight to get a full charge, but the sun isn’t ever-present in some climates. While Anchorage, Alaska, tops the charts with 239 cloudy days a year, it’s not the only sun-deprived city. Portland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Seattle aren’t far behind. On the flip side, Phoenix, El Paso, Las Vegas, and a variety of cities in California and Florida get more than enough sunlight to power a camera.
Before you make a purchase, think about how often and frequently you get sunshine. Do some sleuthing to see what the National Weather Service says about the climate in your location. And it’s not just clouds and rain you should worry about—the further north you are, the less sunlight your home sees during the winter months.
Even in areas that typically have a ton of sunny days, Mother Nature is still in charge. In these scenarios, a camera may not have access to the “juice” it needs to function at full capacity.
Possible Solution: Backup Power
Solar-powered cameras typically have built-in batteries. These batteries are what the panels are actually powering. In addition, a high-capacity battery can serve as a backup plan in the event the sun doesn’t make an appearance.
However, these batteries require ongoing maintenance and periodic replacement. Take this cost and effort into consideration.
Con: Less Compatible with Power-Draining Features
Many special camera features, like night vision and floodlights, require extra power to function. If you have a gloomy day and your camera can’t get a full charge, you might not be able to use these features. That’s one reason why some solar cameras forgo extra features—including features you might really want.
Deep Sentinel Solar Camera and Accessory Options
If your needs are solved by solar power, look no further than Deep Sentinel for your solution. We offer security camera accessories that enhance your system, including solar panels for our wireless security cameras. And, for locations where limited sun comes with lower temperatures, try our extreme temperature kit. This option can withstand harsh winter weather, even as low as -40° Fahrenheit.
With these accessories for your security cameras, you never have to equate cold, gloomy days with weak security. You’re one (very affordable) upgrade away from consistent, low-effort, eco-friendly protection.
Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Call 833.983.6006 for your free security consultation.