Powered garage door openers can be tremendously useful when it comes to convenience and safety, but naturally they must draw their power from somewhere. Traditional powered garage door motors are generally powerful and robust, but they draw power from mains electricity and can add to your energy bills, particularly remote controlled models which require constant power.
Solar powered garage door openers can be a great alternative to this conventional options; powered by their own dedicated solar panels, they draw no power from mains electricity, and a well-installed model can be expected to last for years with minimal care and maintenance. However, proper installation of a solar powered garage door motor is key to effective functioning, so you should bear the following factors in mind:
The amount of power your garage door motor requires is based largely on how heavy your garage door is, and it's important not to choose an underpowered model which can burn out quickly under the excessive load. On the other hand, overpowered models are unnecessarily expensive, so it's important to match your motor's power to the weight of your door. Lighter doors made from epoxy or light woods can usually be powered with a simple, single-panel solar array, but heavy metal doors may require more extensive solar arrays and more powerful motors to function efficiently.
Solar panel positioning
Naturally, a solar powered garage door opener that cannot absorb sunlight is not particularly useful, and proper positioning of your solar panel(s) is vital. In many cases, owners of solar powered garage will position their panels under the eaves of the garages to make them easy to reach, but this can result in excessive shading and lack of power.
Ideally, your solar panel(s) should be pointed north to maximise the amount of sunlight they can absorb during the day, in a high position above shadows cast by buildings and trees. As such, the roof of your garage or a north facing wall of your home are usually good places to install your panels. The small panels used to power solar garage door motors do not necessitate reinforcement before installation, and angled struts are available for panel installation on flat roofs. If you have a large amount of obstructed land, you might even consider placing your panels at ground level, which can reduce installation costs and make cleaning and maintaining your panels easier.
Modern solar panels are far more efficient than the bulky panels of old, but they cannot provide immediate power and must be allowed to charge before your door motor can function. As such, many solar powered garage door openers are fitted with accumulators, devices which can store large amounts of power for use during low-sunlight conditions. You should try to match the capacity of your accumulators with the amount of power your door opener requires and the average sunlight conditions of your area, as overly large accumulators can be prohibitively expensive and can lose capacity quickly when consistently underpowered.