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Originally published on Wireless CCTV LLC

What Are Mobile Solar Surveillance Trailers?

If you have recently passed by a construction jobsite, a Walmart parking lot, or a vacant property, the chances are you have seen a solar surveillance trailer and wondered what it is, what it does, and how it works.

Solar surveillance trailers are a type of mobile video surveillance unit specifically designed for rapid deployment at locations that require temporary security coverage but lack the power and/or internet facilities to support a traditional security camera installation. 

They are equipped with solar panels that power internal batteries, security cameras that sit on top of a tall mast, giving users wide-ranging views of the properties or jobsites, and a range of additional security devices such as audio voice-down units, sirens, alarms, and flashing lights.

Mobile solar surveillance trailers deliver flexibility, autonomy, cost-effectiveness, and an environmentally conscious approach to security, making them top-of-class in modern surveillance technology.

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How is a Surveillance Trailer Different from a Security Guard?

Security guards are a commonly considered solution for security at parking lots, construction jobsites, critical infrastructure, and vacant properties. They are still widely used, but the days of security guards being the only option are long gone. 

So why are Surveillance Trailers starting to replace security guards? Well, there are several benefits of using surveillance trailers instead of security guards, which include:

Cost-Efficiency: Hiring a security guard has always come at a premium rate, and with labor shortages driving wage increases, these costs are only spiraling prohibitively higher.

The cost of hiring a surveillance trailer is significantly less than that of a security guard; in most cases, it can be as much as 88% cheaper to deploy a surveillance trailer than to contract a security guard.

Reliability: A solar surveillance trailer isn't going to be late for work, take a day out sick, fall asleep on duty, or turn a blind eye. Surveillance trailers, as we say at WCCTV, are always awake and on guard. 

Effectiveness: A surveillance trailer can do several things that a security guard would find impossible. Firstly, it can see in the dark. Bad guys tend to break into properties and jobsites between 10pm and 2am, but the night vision capabilities of modern security cameras prevent them from operating undetected. 

Secondly, a security guard can only be in one place at a time. Depending on the size of the location you're looking to secure, this could leave several blind spots that a guard can't cover. Want to eliminate those blind spots? That's going to cost you several thousand more dollars to hire more guards. Or, you could get a solar trailer. 

Proactiveness: One key reason people stick with legacy security guarding solutions is the belief that a guard can intervene and stop a crime from occurring, but a solar surveillance trailer backed by remote video monitoring does exactly the same thing. Once intruders are detected, a remote camera operator can issue live audio warnings and dispatch local police to prevent crimes in progress.

Documentation: Alongside live video footage, solar surveillance trailers store footage of all incidents that occur at your locations. So, if you need to send documentation evidence to law enforcement or insurers, you have a full archive of indisputable evidence rather than a potentially unreliable witness account from a security guard.

Your security depends on a solution that never calls in sick, never takes a break, never steals, deters crime, provides live response, and video documents all events at a reasonable cost.

Surveillance trailers deliver all of this and more, which is why demand for these systems is soaring - with the market for trailers estimated at $2.7b in 2024.

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What Industries Use Solar Surveillance Trailers?

So far, we have referenced a few industry sectors that typically use solar surveillance trailers for their security needs, but their use is growing exponentially across a whole range of businesses, including:

  • Police and Law Enforcement 
  • State, Municipal, and local government
  • Property management companies
  • Big box retail parking lots and strip malls
  • Surface lots
  • Critical infrastructure
  • Public works projects
  • Construction jobsites

So although you will likely have seen these across parking lots and jobsites, the use cases for solar surveillance trailers spans multiple industries and scenarios.

The thread that binds all of these industries together is their desire for one or more of the following benefits: temporary security, targeted surveillance, off-grid deployment capability, zero-maintenance requirements, and no upfront cost investment.

How Do Solar Surveillance Trailers Work?

Solar surveillance trailers combine video surveillance cameras and remote connectivity technology in a portable unit powered entirely by solar energy.

The video feed from the cameras on a surveillance trailer can generally be accessed remotely via cellular connectivity, meaning users can view real-time or archived footage directly from their phones or laptops.

Alternatively, the video streams can be sent to a remote video monitoring station where security professionals monitor cameras 24/7/365.

Trailers can also be fitted with a range of customization options to enhance their security capabilities. These include devices such as speakers, sirens, lights, or specialized cameras such as LPR cameras and thermal imaging cameras.

Other camera technology that can be added includes time lapse video cameras, which are typically utilized at construction projects to document progress and record key milestones.

Trailers will have a distinctive telescopic mast that the camera equipment sits on top of, making them a highly visible security system for your locations.

What are the Key Features of Solar Surveillance Trailers?

To make sense of the key features of a solar surveillance trailer, the most logical approach is to talk through the setup from top to bottom:

Security Cameras: The security cameras are usually located at the top of the trailer unit and can offer functionality such as pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ), infrared (IR) night vision, auto-tracking, 1080p high-definition video recording, and edge-based video analytics. 

Cellular Connectivity: On a WCCTV trailer, the cellular connectivity (4G/5G) capability is built directly into the camera units using our in-house technology. Cellular connectivity allows users to access their cameras at any time from anywhere.

Trailer MastThe mast elevates the security cameras and other devices to heights of up to 20ft for optimal visibility and wide-area monitoring. The mast will be made of aluminum or steel with a weather-resistant finish. Masts can be manually or automatically extended, often featuring telescopic adjustability and stabilization systems to maintain steady operation in windy environments. 

Solar Panels: Solar panels are the main power source of a surveillance trailer. They convert sunlight into energy, providing an eco-friendly power source for the surveillance equipment. This eliminates the need for on-site electricity hookups or generators.

Battery Storage: Solar surveillance trailers have battery storage systems to ensure continuous operation, even during extended periods of limited (or no) sunlight. These batteries store excess energy generated during the day for times when sunlight is not available.

Mobility: Key to their flexibility is the ease with which a solar trailer can be transported and relocated. Most solar surveillance trailers can be hitched to a truck for long-distance transportation and easily repositioned around a site by hand using a drawbar.

 

Surveillance Trailer Benefits Graphic

How Much Does a Solar Surveillance Trailer Cost?

The cost of a surveillance trailer will vary dramatically by manufacturer, feature set, and build quality.

A Google search on surveillance trailer purchase costs will return results ranging from $13,000 to $50,000, depending on the country of origin, capabilities, and more.

At WCCTV, we recommend caution when purchasing a surveillance trailer. We suggest always seeking out trailers certified as Made in the USA, as cheap imports often suffer from reliability operations and can be dangerously under-specced. 

In addition to purchasing trailers, many manufacturers will offer customers the option to rent the equipment. In many cases, this may be a preferable option due to:

  • short-term requirement of security 
  • zero-upfront costs
  • guarantee of the latest technology
  • easier procurement process

We invite anyone interested in these units to review our guide on renting vs. purchasing solar surveillance trailers to ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision about what is best for them.

Are Solar Surveillance Trailers Monitored?

Depending on the deployment scenario, solar surveillance trailers can be backed by remote video monitoring services, where a team of security professionals watches the trailer's cameras for any criminal activity.

There are several benefits associated with remote video monitoring services, including crime prevention benefits and cost-effectivess compared to using security guards. 

In situations where remote video monitoring is not required, the user can self-monitor solar surveillance trailers via software and/or mobile apps. 

Most surveillance trailers will also have onboard video storage, which stores all images captured by the cameras 24/7.

LotGuard Mobile Surveillance Trailer - Retail Lot

Can Solar Surveillance Trailers Work Without Sun?

Solar surveillance trailers need sunlight to operate because they rely on solar energy to charge the internal batteries. 

Depending on the size, number, and capacity of the internal batteries, solar trailers can operate entirely on battery power in times of zero sunlight.

A WCCTV solar surveillance trailer delivers a minimum of 10 days of power autonomy for times of limited direct sunlight.

Depending on where you want to deploy a surveillance trailer, we encourage you to research the answers to the most common questions about powering a solar surveillance trailer.

How Can I Get a Solar Surveillance Trailer for My Site?

WCCTV is the USA's leading supplier of solar surveillance trailers.

We manufacture our trailer solution in the USA, meaning we can provide the highest quality equipment at a competitive price, with ongoing technical support from our US-based team.

Our solar surveillance trailers are available to rent or buy; just get in touch and let us know how we can help.

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