Regarding Chickens November 02 2013
One of the fun things about designing and manufacturing solar lighting systems has been the interesting and often unexpected uses people have found for our products.
In that vein, there's been a lot of interest in solar lighting for chicken coops lately. We've had a lot of fun and learned as much from our customers about chicken coops as we have showed them about solar lighting. Here are some photos of recent installations (thanks again to Mia and Spence for the photos!):
Also, we've had pretty similar questions from a lot of people, so I thought I could just post the things here that pretty much everyone wanted to know:
Our recommendation for chicken coops is our LightPassage ($150) in combination with a digital programmable timer ($40). The LightPassage can do 400 lumens (about 1/2 the output of a 60W incandescent bulb) for 4 hours a day, given a good spot for the solar panel. If you need a bit more oomph, check out the LightPortal ($250), which has a larger solar panel and a larger battery, and can do 1600 lumens for 4 hours a day, or 800 lumens for 8 hours a day, given a good spot for the solar panel.
In addition, we can do custom work: the second LightPortal system shown above (second and third photos) was customized to have a low setting of 400 lumens instead of 800, which means it can run for 16 hours a day instead of 8 on the low mode. We are presently working with a client to design a system that includes a fan to keep the chickens cool in the summer.
A lot of people have also asked about running electric heat off of a solar lighting/power system. I like to use the analogy of burning copy paper to stay warm; it's possible, but not cost-effective. If you want more heat for your chicken coop in the winter, you could use solar heating, either solar hot water or solar air heating. You can buy devices, but if you want to save money you can also build them yourself from scratch, unlike solar electric power.
If you have further questions about solar for chicken coops, or custom needs, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.