Looking for suggestions for Solar Powered Heat Lamps

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WinterSkyMoonRanch, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. WinterSkyMoonRanch

    WinterSkyMoonRanch Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 15, 2011
    Does anyone know of a Solar Powered Heat Lamp that I can use to keep my chickens warm this winter?[​IMG]

    PHILMAN Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    South Plainfield , NJ
    Quote:Please let me know what you come up with if anybody gets back to you , im sure they will .
    That sounds like a great idea!
  3. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Quote:Please let me know what you come up with if anybody gets back to you , im sure they will .
    That sounds like a great idea!

  4. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    You want to look into passive solar heating or at pop can solar heaters (these you can make yourself)

    You don't want a solar "heat lamp" (unless you want light, too). Generally solar lights try to be efficient and not put off much heat (so that they can have a smaller battery), and solar heaters go the other way and don't put off light.

    However... California? Unless you're way up in the mountains, your chickens will not need heat in the winter. Even if that's the case, they probably won't. I've never bothered with heat, and we dipped below 0 F a couple times in the recent winters. Others here have even worse weather and don't do heat.
  5. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I am a solar energy engineer and I don't believe this is practical IF you are talking about using solar ELECTRICITY as opposed to heating air, water or some other substance with the sun's heat directly.

    Here's some math that explains why I think the solar electric approach isn't practical:

    Say you want even a meager 100W heater for 8 hours overnight. You would need 8*100 = 800 Wh of energy.

    Say you get 3 sun hours per day in the winter- this is location and climate dependent. (I got this number from here: http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/pubs/redbook/). Say you have a meager 200W solar panel, this would be about 3'x5' and cost about $800-$1000. This would give 600Wh (200W * 3 sun hours) of energy and you'd lose maybe 20% of this by storing the energy in a battery during the day when the sun shines, and then taking it out of a battery at night. This leaves 480 Wh of energy - not enough for your meager 800Wh that you need to power a 100W heater for 8 hours. You'd need 2x as much solar capacity at least. That's maybe $1600 to $2000 just for the solar panels alone. I don't have expertise with batteries and charge controllers so don't know how much they'd cost, but I'd budget maybe $500 for those as a guess. And this is only for a 100W heater which is barely enough for a small coop.

    Disclaimer - the 20% battery loss could be overly optimistic so if anyone plans on doing this you should check this with a battery expert - I know a little about them but it is not my expertise.

    Another disclaimer - the 3 sun hour assumption in winter is a reasonable AVERAGE minimum, however with solar/batter systems, if you want to be absolutely sure you don't run the battery too low during a period of very low sun, most would assume that you might need to go 3 days with NO sun at all (3 crappy cloudy days in a row). In this case you'd size your batteries 3x larger than you would need for one night. This would be 3x the cost for the battery portion. Sorry I don't have cost numbers for that, but for one day you'd need about a 12V, 100 Amp-hour batter and for 3 days you'd need a 12V, 300 Amp-hour battery (these are rough estimates). Car batteries should not be used, but deep cycle, golf cart type batteries. You can get them at marine and RV supply stores.

    Bottom line: run an extension cord, and/or consider a passive solar design with well placed windows, eaves, and insulate well. Or, maybe you can find someone more clever than I who has figured out how to do this!

    If anyone wants to follow up with me directly with questions, feel free!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
    2 people like this.
  6. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    You do not need a heatlamp to keep your chickens "Warm". They come with their own set of feathered coverals, They don't need ANY artificial heating supplied from you in the wintertime. And don't tightly box them up in the winter either, If you do you are inviting a bunch of other problems. They need plenty of ventilation year round. Take a look at the coop below, The front is open year round. You do not need a heatlamp.
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I am a solar energy engineer and I don't believe this is practical .........

    I've seen this same question at least 50 times, and yours is undoubtedly the best answer ever given.

    Thank you​
  8. hispoptart

    hispoptart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    NW Colorado
    Quote:But what are your temps where you are at? Here in the NW part of CO, temps will be -20's with the high of zero for a month straight. I am also looking for a way to help keep them warm.

    PHILMAN Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    South Plainfield , NJ
    Well than I guess that answers any of my questions.
  10. longvalleyfarm

    longvalleyfarm New Egg

    Feb 12, 2012
    What if your just trying to keep the water from freezing? I have no electric and I need to keep refilling with warm water. Is there a way to just keep the waterer warm?

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