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Solar powered heat lamps/lamps?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Has anyone had any luck using solar panels to power, heat lamps, lighting, etc in their coop? If so, is their a kit I can buy or a website that has directions? I've never worked with solar before so all of it is very new. The shed we are planning to convert to a hen house doesn't have any electric so I'm hoping to use some sort of alternative energy for extra heat in the winter and lighting during shorter days of the year. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated!!!
post #2 of 7

First of all WELCOME :welcome from the San Diego High desert.  It is dry but gets very cold in winter at night. 

 

I have heard of solar lights used in the coop for extending the light during winter... as well as to use at dusk while the chickens are deciding to go to bed...  if they get caught outside the coop some find that darkened entrance to be intimidating.

 

 

But as long as you have good ventilation you dont need heat.  The birds put out enough BTUs to keep them selves warm.  I know someone in Alaska that does not heat his coops.  and doesn't provide extraordinary insulation either.  Key is Ventilation NOT drafts.

 

For what its worth heating units draw A LOT of electricity. 

 

Best to use those creative juices in a method of keeping the water from freezing.

 

Check out the DIY thread  too.

 

deb

Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

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Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Deb for the input. I was definitely thinking solar powered heat lamp to create some kind of situation to stop their water bucket from freezing up. I've seen a few cinder block type platform constructions with a heat lamp inside that obviously heats the cinder block and in turn would stop the water bucket from freezing over, not entirely sure if this would work well or not!! I'll check out the diy section for sure! Thanks again smile.png
post #4 of 7

What you'll find is that there is a big difference in the requirements between just providing lighting, and providing heat.  Modern LED lighting uses very little energy.  However, heating a water bucket would take more energy, and running a heat lamp for chicks would take even more.  More power usage means you need bigger panels and bigger batteries.

 

One LED light bulb takes 8 watts of energy.  Several of the heated waterers I looked at were around 60 watts.  A baby chick heat lamp is 250 watts!!

 

If you are going to go solar, you need to be very clear about your energy requirements.

 

Although I don't have specific experience with this type of application, looking into solar for my camper, my gut feel is that solar will be pretty expensive for this type of thing.  Unless this is truly remote where running electrical there is prohibitive, it will probably be cheaper, easier, and more reliable to just run electrical.

2 black australorp pullets, 3 BA babies, and two border collies (one angel and one cute troublemaker chicken licker)
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2 black australorp pullets, 3 BA babies, and two border collies (one angel and one cute troublemaker chicken licker)
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post #5 of 7
Solar is inefficient and you get less energy back out of everything than you put in. A 16x48 panel can only soak up that much sun.
Bet it would be cheaper to have power run professionally than to setup a big bank of solar you would need for a heater.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawright View Post

Thanks Deb for the input. I was definitely thinking solar powered heat lamp to create some kind of situation to stop their water bucket from freezing up. I've seen a few cinder block type platform constructions with a heat lamp inside that obviously heats the cinder block and in turn would stop the water bucket from freezing over, not entirely sure if this would work well or not!! I'll check out the diy section for sure! Thanks again smile.png


By the way... it would help to know what kind of weather you get....  there are a couple of ways to keep water liquid with out electricity.

 

Passive solar is one.... Black container on the roof to heat the water and gravity feed.  They do make solar water pumps for fountains but they only run during the day.

 

Another way to heat water is to sandwich black pipe between glass panels and run the water through that.  Probably the most efficient.

 

There is  a whole set of engineering chriteria for it but I know some people use this to heat water for the house.  I am in the desert so this is where location is important.  Heating water is pretty easy.  even when its 30 degrees with a wind chill off the charts...  80Mph wind gusts....

 

deb

Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

Reply

Past poultry: Buff Brhama, EE, Barred rock, Wellsummer,

Bantam mixes, Araucana, Turkeys, & Guinea Fowl.

Future poultry:  Guinea Fowl, Sumatra, Wellsummer, Muscovy

"A dream without a plan is just a wish" Katherine Paterson

Regarding the horses in our lives

 

Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am in the South Okanagan, British Columbia Canada. Our winters are fairly mild compared to other parts of the country. I would say through our coldest months (November - January) is an average low of -15 degrees Celsius. Lots of snow and a pretty high wind. The shed that will be converted is in a really good spot for sun exposure which is why I was hoping to use an alternative means of energy but its sounding like standard electric might be the way to go. We'll have to wing it (no pun intended) the first winter and see what we can do. Worst case scenario, water changes happen constantly. Thanks for all the ideas guys, definitely have some research to do! :)

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