Solar powered barrier provides vehicular access control to hospital

Warwick hospital is the first site in the UK to benefit from an access control barrier powered solely from solar energy.

Solar powered access barrier at Warwick Hospital

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Nursing and other personnel at Warwick Hospital in the UK have gained improved parking facilities for over 300 cars through the conversion of a disused site into a staff car park. As part of the conversion, facilities managers at the hospital needed to secure the car park to prevent unauthorised use by patients and casual users and therefore decided to control access using a rising barrier.

Since the location of the new facility had no access to mains power, the hospital decided to take advantage of solar energy as a source of electricity and approached Greengate Access Control to solve the problem of powering and activating the barrier. Using an O&O rising barrier as the basis, Greengate engineers calculated the number of activations required and the level of light available throughout the year in the UK and developed 24-volt solar panels of the required size to deliver the right amount of power without failure.

The barrier has now been operating for over a year through two winters at an operating rate of up to 300 times per day with a speed of 2.5 seconds for both opening and closing operations without any recorded failures.

Authorised users are provided with a key code for operating the barrier from their vehicles and the system is also equipped with a GSM intercom device to allow security personnel to operate the barrier remotely for visitors. The barrier has an integrated encoder as well as and underground induction sensor and infra-red beam to detect obstructions and ensure the safe operation of the barrier to ensure it doesn’t come down on pedestrians or vehicles that are under the barrier arm.

According to Greengate’s Neil Sampson, the use of solar power has been shown to be a viable source of power even in cloud-covered Britain, enabling facilities such as Warwick Hospital to reduce running costs and operate their security systems with a low carbon foot-print.

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