Anyone using Solar or Wind Power?

bibliophile birds

10 Years
Oct 4, 2009
Great Smoky Mtns, Tennessee
We want to pasture run our chicks so we are building our coop on an old hay trailer we had sitting around. This way, we'll be able to pull up the run posts and move the whole thing anywhere on the farm!

The only problem we're having is how best to get electricity to the coop to run an occasional light and the electric net fencing. Does anyone have experience with using solar or wind power for their coops?
The fence I would just buy a solar fence charger.....
The lights? I would use a car battery, a solar trickle charger($20) an a 112V camper bulb.

If you want to use it a lot I would step up to a 6 amp solar cell($40) an deep cycle battery.
generaly wind turbines need to be mounted high and tethered to the ground (there are exceptions) So solar may be a better bet. You'll need to figure out how long you want the extra light to be on, multiply the number of hours by the wattage of the bulb(s) that will tell you how many amps your panel and battery will need to supply (best to double it) If your only requirement is light then things will be a bit cheaper because you can run it all at 12v and not need an inefficient inverter
If money is a concern and you dont care to do a little soldering, you can visit this site
and purchase the individual solar cells and build your own solar panel.

It really pretty simple to solder the cells together to create just the voltage and watts you need to run a few lights and an electric fence. You can build a pretty big solar panel for a fraction of the cost of buying a similar premade panel. Of course if you just want to buy a ready made panel, this site has pretty good prices on those as well.
A proper solar or wind installation will cost *much more* than anyone in their right mind would want to spend on a recreational chicken coop

Fortunately, it sounds to me like all your needs can be fulfilled by off-the-shelf items, two of them pretty inexpensive and the third not all that bad compared to buying solar panels and batteries and stuff.

If you want to extend daylength for egg laying reasons (which is not always worthwhile, and even in the situations where it *does* give you more winter egg production, there are still pro and con arguments) get yourself the cheap little solar path lights on stakes. Set one up (may or may not require some minor disassembly) so that the solar panel is outside the coop facing S, and the lightbulb part is inside the coop. These are pretty cheesy products, and tend to produce only somewhat dimmish light (fortunately that's all you need) and only for some few hours after sunset, so they will "turn off" automatically each night when the battery charge poops out. You may need to experiment with exactly how it is mounted, and a large coop may need more than one, but in most cases this will do the job fairly effectively for cheap when there is no electrical mains service available.

If you don't care about extending daylength, just want to be able to turn on a light and SEE when you go out there after dark, your two best options would be a headlamp (very useful) and/or a solar shed light from Home Depot or wherever. The latter is decently bright; however I have yet to see anyone who's figured out how to put a timer on one, hence my recommending it for chores but not for day length extension.

For running electric fence, all you need is to buy a solar powered fence charger
Yes, they are disproportionately expensive, and be aware you WILL have to replace the battery periodically just like in a battery-operated one (the battery keeps the fence going at night and in very cloudy weather, do not let any idiots tell you that solar fence chargers don't have batteries or that the batteries don't go bad). But certainly in terms of *simplicity*, if you are going to have to buy a fence charger ANYhow, just buy a solar one and there ya go.

Good luck, have fun,


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