Solar Power with 12v heating element and heated water dish


In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 6, 2014
New Canaan,CT
I have a 100W Solar panel with batteries. I would like to provide a means of heating to just take the bite out of the cold air in winter on days and nights below 30, and would like to heat the water pan. Anyone know of a 30-60 watt heating element or frosted bulb that would do the trick? Also, would like to heat a water bowl using 12v as well. I really do not want to plug into an inverter.



7 Years
As someone who did a boat load of solar study when I considered taking my house off the grid, and being an electrical engineer by trade, let me say that solar power isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially on the small scale...

If the panel is rated at 100W, expect to get closer to 50W on your average day during peak hours... The specified ratings are with the sun directly over the panel, on a clear perfect summer day as the equator... Since few days are perfect full sun and the sun is only over the panel for a short time unless you have it track the sun across the sky you will get significantly less out of it for most of the day... Also consider that in the US during winter there is only 2-4 hours of 'good' solar sunlight a day... I don't know you location but here is a chart of optimal solar hours...

So pushing the numbers you 'might' get expect to get about 50W for about 3 hours out of that panel and a little bit extra as the sunrises and sets... So lets say averaged over a 24 hour period you might get about an average of 6.5 Watts an hour of usable banked battery energy from that panel... At the end of the day you are not even going to be able to keep most water unfrozen with that amount of juice per day, let alone be able to power even a 30-60 Watt heater for more then an hour or two... Even on the most perfect winter day I doubt you will seem more then 3 hours worth of 30-60 Watt heat out of that panel...

You would be better off investing in 4 more chickens if you want to go green heat, as they will give off about the equivalent of a 50-60 Watt heater in body heat lose...


6 Years
May 6, 2013
Hi. Did you find a way to make your panels work? I have a similar set up, but the panels are supposedly charging a 12v marine battery which runs the single low watt bulb I would like to use in a cookie-tin heater. It doesn't. I'm not adept at figuring out wattages/volts/etc and cannot understand why a huge marine battery when charged, will not keep a silly bulb on overnight. I do have a voltimeter and the battery is fully charged [well to about 11. something volts].

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