new coop, solar panels

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 95yj, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    We just built my mom a new coop for her laying hens, we wanted it to look really nice cause it's in the front yard (we used all the other spaces) and really tight so its predator proof and warm and not drafty (cause these are my moms little babies). This brings our total coop count up to 6 or 7, but whose counting (maybe the neighbors)
    heres the coop, it's got my mom's six 9 wk old barred rock pullets in it, and some of my broilers sleeping under it (little do they know that the coop is not in fact for them, and further more they will have little need of any coop after this saturday) but i digress. The coop is too far from the house to run a cable, i probably could but i really don't feel like it and we've maxed out the outlets on our house. So i was thinking about hooking up a photovoltaic panel, aka solar power. I know a little bit about this stuff, and i'm a pretty technical person, so i think with the right supplies and info i could do it. All i want to do is run a water heater and maybe some lights in the fall and spring to keep them laying. Does anybody know anything about this sort of stuff, can i get a small 1x1 or 2x2 ft panel in a kit or something? Any help would be great, thanks.
  2. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Sorry, I am no help to answer your question , but I wanted to say that you built a beautiful coop. I love that red barn color. Hope someone else has some advise on your solar panels. [​IMG]
  3. Hugerat

    Hugerat Out Of The Brooder

    May 14, 2010
    I have seen outdoor light that have built in solar panels but they are pricey, over $100. I am sure there are plenty of online kits for small PV arrays but again this would be pretty pricey just to plug in a light and keep water from freezing.

    Here is a DIY site for solar.
  4. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    thanks for the site, i'm also doing it cause i kinda want to play around with solar power, I'v seen solar powered walkway lights and they don't look to expensive, i'm wondering if i can't buy a few of those and tear them apart for the pieces or just reconfigure them.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You will need more than just panels -- you will need batteries (several, not one, deep-cycle not regular car batteries, and they will need replacing periodically) and a charge controller so the batteries don't overcharge from the panels. Unless you do something ultra clever with a heavily-insulated minimally-heated waterer, you are probably looking at $500+ to do this. You'd have to spec out your particular requirements, but in most cases unless money's really burning a hole in your pocket it is not worth it. If you truly truly cannot run electric out there, just a well-insulated waterer that you refill once or twice a day would be much more economical. And a headlamp so you can do chores after dark (or a *very small* solar shed light, although you won't be able to put it on a timer easily)

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

  6. Finn's Mom

    Finn's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    My husband just hooked up a solar panel to an 8x10 shed (experimenting in preparation for our chickens and guineas this winter) -- the panel is 20"x15" and it runs a gable fan and one low voltage light. The panel was $88 and the extras about $20 combined. You could definitely get decent light but I don't know about the draw of energy on a water heater. He went to, I think. Good luck and nice job on the coop!
  7. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    What are you using the solar panels for? Heat or light? Heat takes more energy (AMPS) to generate and maintain than just a simple lighting system like you have for walkway lights that they sell at say Walmart for $2.99 or so. Those lights do come off the stick thing's and work great for lighting a coop at night.

    If you want heat, are you using black piping for heating and moving water because last winter Rocket guy - I know that is not his name exactly but he posts some GENIUSLY simple and effective ideas like last winter when people were considering different types of heaters: His idea was to fill a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, with very very hot water and place the lid on the bucket and place it in the coop. Granted, I live in Jacksonville Florida but we had a number of freezing days (okay 9 or so....stop laughing!!!) I would put a bucket in the coop in the day time and refill it for the girls at night. It slowly cools and since the heat is trapped with the lid - the heat dissapates a little slower and it worked really well all day and all night. My girls were plenty warm. The only disadvantage was carrying the heavy buckets. I had to use smaller frosting buckets I got for free at Winn Dixie bakery department but my coop would not accomodate a larger bucket.

    I am very interested in tinkering with solar panels too, I had an estimate for my entire house ($70,000) it was not cost effective to use it for my house and I figured it would take 10 years before I was actually enjoying free power. ( That included not paying for the panels) I wonder how hard it is to make solar voltaic panels. There was a company in Frederick MD that was making them into roofing shakes but funny they got bought out by another company and are nolonger persuing that market. Hmmmm Funny how truly innovative and cost effective ideas are purchased by energy companies and disappear from the market. Oh the conspiracies....

    I will keep watching your post
  8. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    I was hoping to run some lights in the spring and fall and maybe a water heater. I knew that panels were pretty expensive but i think i can do it cheaper than$500. I know this is not the simplest solution, if i was going for simple i would just change their water a couple times a day, that takes all of 30 seconds, i just want a small project to play around with, but if its gonna be wikid expensive i might give up. But i think i can do it cheaper. As for actually making the panels, its pretty much impossible to do on a personal level, there are only a few components, but those components go together in very intricate ways using very very expensive equipment. However things may change in the future, there are several companies that are experimenting with new designs that can be produced much cheaper than current panels. I was aware that there were other components involved, i just figured that they largely fell under the umbrella of "panels"
  9. MoSo

    MoSo In the Wild Plum Yonder

    It's not impossible to DIY your own panel set-ups - it's just not very efficient or cost effective. A commercially-produced PV panel will be much more efficient for the same number and wattage components (in terms of coatings and epoxies). You'd be better off looking for a used solar panel. You will need a battery storage system, but fortunately it'll be small. If you go to the NREL pages, you'll get an idea of your winter insolation values and whether you average enough sun hours in the winter to keep the system charged.

    Most areas have solar groups, and a lot of people in those groups are really into DIY. You could probably contact them and get some valuable LOCAL info.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  10. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    Quote:you can make solar panels, thats insane, i'm sorry for spreading false information, i had no idea, i don't think that they would be terribly efficient or able to compete with pro made ones?... but thanks for your help

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