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Solar-powered electric fencing

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Renewable resource

Listen to this radio story (MP3 download) or read below.

Radio interview source: Brad Collins, executive director, American Solar Energy Society

We used electric fencing around our hog lots when I was growing up. Ours was plugged in at the barn, but it would have been neat to have one charged by a renewable resource.

Some fence chargers save energy by using solar-powered batteries or panels. Brad Collins, the executive director of the American Solar Energy Society, uses this type at his place in Montana.

"A solar hot wire would be used to separate a field into various pastures," Collins says. "It's just a regular hot wire like you would have from an electric 110-volt circuit, but it's charged by a solar panel and a battery. The solar panel charges the battery, and the battery provides the electric shock for when the animal touches the hot wire."

How much power will you need? It depends on your livestock and general requirements, but a standard 6-volt model charges up to 25 miles of fence. You can purchase the charger unit alone, or with an installation kit that comes with all of the parts you'll need to install it. Prices start around $150.

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