Solar power for coops

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Michael18415, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Michael18415

    Michael18415 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2014
    Damascus, PA

    I'm a newbie to BYC and delighted to have discovered it. I'm hoping to start raising chickens in the spring and have been doing a lot of research and reading. One concern is providing power to the coop for light, water heater, and automatic door opener. Our area of rural Wayne County, PA is fed by underground wiring that comes to the house; to run electricity into the field would be quite costly.

    On this site there are only three articles about solar power but do not go into much detail. I have viewed a number of You Tube videos on solar panels - systems available through Harbor Freight and some from Amazon and Home Depot - and the systems are used for sheds or plans to live off the grid.

    Has anyone had experience with using these small sized solar panel systems successfully for a coop? That is to provide light, power to run the automatic timed door opener and a water heater (it can get cold in northeast PA).

    Thanks is advance for words of wisdom and counsel.

    all best,
    Michael - Damascus PA
  2. Alex41

    Alex41 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2013
    Eastern PA
    Solar can be simple. You need a panel or two, a battery and a charge controller of some kind between the battery and panels. This keeps your battery from overcharging during a lot of sunshine and keeps your panels from draining current from your battery at night. This can even be as simple as a single diode if your panels are not too big for your battery to keep them from being overcharged.

    With the above said you can easily power some LED lights to keep your hens laying through the winter. Heating anything will be expensive because resistive loads, such as heaters and conventional light bulbs take a lot of current. You will need several large solar panels and a bigger battery to make it work. Also consider what happens if the sun doesn't shine for 3-4 days.

    I'm in the same boat you are. I'm in PA. I love solar, but it is too expensive to use it to keep my coop water from freezing. I think I'll just run an extension cord to the coop in the winter to heat my water. While the extension cord it there I'll use it for light also.

    Maybe some others have different ideas on applying solar, but my preliminary load calculations make the idea expensive. It's possible if you have no other choice, but expensive.


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