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Can I run a heater in an out building?

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  • Can I run a heater in an out building?

    Hi, forgive me for being a total newb on collecting natural energy.

    i have an aquarium in an out building and I run a 300w heater in it, over the winter months, this seems to run pretty constant.

    The question I want to ask is, is it at all possible to setup a solar panel system or a solar/wind system to power this heater?

    If it is a possibility, then I’ll have a good rummage around and do some proper research.

    apologies for my lack of knowledge on this subject!

    Any advice would be grateful, thank you

  • #2
    Welcome to the group. You ask a reasonable question. Unfortunately, the answer is a bit complex depending on your exact needs.

    You can get energy from the sun and use it to heat your aquarium. Depending on a lot of things, it could be complex, expensive, and difficult. Or it could be comparatively simple.

    Are you planning to completely remove the power mains, or just supplement the power mains to cut your bill? If you want to cut the wire completely, it is a very difficult challenge, because that means that you need both energy collectors (solar panels) and energy storage (batteries). Batteries are more expensive than panels and have a relatively short life.

    Without the power mains (aka: going off grid), you need panels, charge controller, batteries, and inverter. 300 watts is not a lot of power, but it is a lot of batteries, especially if you want to continue running during a stretch of time with no sun, such as a week of rain.

    If you just want to supplement the power mains, it's much more reasonable. You only need a few panels and an inverter. You also may need power company approval.

    Please tell us more about your thoughts and constraints, and we'll give you more details. Do you have an open exposure, or are there trees in the area that will shade the roof? Is your roof flat or angled - what angle? Or do you have a lot of land and plan to put the panels on the ground?
    7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV


    • #3
      While 300 watts is not a lot of power running it 24/7 will require a pretty big solar/battery system. Trust me when I say that running a large load from a solar/battery system will cost about $1500/kWh to build and even then it may not provide the power you need if you go multiple days without good sunlight. It may be cheaper to have grid power in the building or an emergency generator when the grid is down.

      I think you need to look at bob-n's post and think about what you need and what you can afford.


      • #4
        300w for 20 hr a day = 6000 watt hours
        a 12V 100ah car battery contains 1200 watt hours,of which only half is usable. So the battery bank to run for 24 hours would be about 10 batteries worth, wired into a 48V configuration, powering a small inverter. Expect cheap batteries from costco to last 3 years, maybe more, maybe less. Then there is the solar, needing to harvest about 10,000 watt hours in a 4 hour winter condition. That will be about 3000w of PV panels needed.
        For every cloudy day you expect, you would need another 10 batteries, or a backup generator. This is my weather right now, after breakfast I go run the generator for a while.

        Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
        || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
        || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A