We've been trying to come up with different ways to use less electricity. Especially where lighting is concerned. We tried using gas lamps when we had work to do outside and in many situations they worked fine. It wasn't too hard to milk at night and see what we were doing with the lamps, but sometimes we needed better light. If an animal was in one of the barn stalls and giving birth, the gas lamps didn't give us the best light to monitor progress. We tried flash lights, and still use them when going from place to place at night, but using them in the barn was a nightmare because we needed both our hands to work. We didn't want to use extension cords running to the barn and chicken house and running electric lines there was a definate no. So we looked into solar.
The chickens need 16 hours of light to lay eggs properly. So, Pa got a light, attached it to a battery, attached that to a timer, and runs it all off a solar panel. It works great. The light comes on when the sun goes down and turns off at midnight. Happy chickens make yummy eggs.
We also needed a reliable light source in the barn. Pa did close to the same thing. We have a light that has a switch so we only turn the light on when we need it. The light is very bright so it covers the whole barn. We use it when we milk at night. The lighting system is powered by a solar panel.
We got both solar panels at Tractor Supply in the Clearance Section.
Now I know I'm not being very specific about the type of panel and light, but I hope you get the gist of it. If you'd like specifics, let me know and I'll ask Pa. The point of this post was to give you a chance to see some of the innovations we are using and hopefully you will start thinking of ways you can make your life simpler as well. Sometimes it just takes a different way of looking at a problem. Here's a picture of Pa on the edge of the bucket of the tractor while putting the solar panel up. A big thanks to our neighbor, John, for not dropping him!