Thinking of going green with some dog house solar projects? It’s always better than running an ugly extension cord across your yard. Especially if you have a lawn, you need to mow. Solar is efficient, free of energy, and there’s lots of it to go around. So why not take full advantage of you and your pooch?
I’ve scoured the net for the BEST dog house solar ideas and projects to bring them together in one place. I will share these ideas exclusively with you in this article.
With these excellent dog house solar projects, let’s dive into the beauty of solar.
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Introduction To Solar
In order to fully grasp the possibilities of what we can do with solar and our dog houses, we need to jump right into solar. I’m going to start by bringing it back to the basics.
That way, we can get an idea of what we can do here. After all, you don’t want to wind up needing a field of solar panels to power your dog house disco, right? So let’s start at the beginning and learn some basic principles first.
Dog House Solar Fundamentals
Solar systems are fairly basic electric circuits when we look at how they work. Here are the basic concepts and steps of a typical solar system setup:
1) The Sun rains down upon us with about 430 quintillion joules of energy at any given moment. That’s 430 with 18 zeros, according to the US Department of Energy, some of which hits your solar panel.
2) The solar photons are absorbed by individual photovoltaic cells that make up the solar panel
3) The photovoltaic cells send a direct current charge to the controller module.
4) The controller sends electricity to a battery to charge or use its power.
5) A load is attached to the controller, such as a light, fan, or something.
6) You might also have an inverter connected to the battery, changing the power from direct to alternating current. An inverter would be used when you have ac powered devices instead of DC-powered devices.
For example, your car uses DC current directly from your battery, and the alternator charges the battery. Your house, however, has circuits that run on AC power, not DC. This is because DC power loses power the greater distance it must travel down a power line.
AC power does not lose as much energy and thus makes more sense for a power grid than DC. But DC is ‘stronger’ energy and is used when a circuit is not concerned with voltage drop.
Dog House Solar Battery Or Not?
When working out the details of your solar project, you will need to consider one essential aspect of your system. Will you want to have power at night or during cloudy periods?
If you do, you will need to incorporate a battery into your system. If you don’t have a battery, then whatever load you put into the system will only run when the sun is beating down on the solar panel. This can make it difficult if your solar panel provides power to a heater. I think it makes sense to include a battery in your setup. Adding a battery will accommodate those times when the sun is low, but you still want power.
A Battery’s Purpose
The purpose of your solar design will determine if a battery is genuinely required. For example, if you want to have excellent lighting around or in your dog’s house that will light up at night, you need battery power to do that.
Batteries can be consumed over time and will eventually need to be replaced. It is the downside to having a battery as a part of your solar setup. Again, it depends on your intention and how your project will function. But enough of the dry, boring part of solar. Let’s jump into some fantastic (and hot) ideas.
Dog House Solar Fans
One of the most common and valuable solar ideas I came across is utilizing solar to power a fan to keep air moving in the dog house. A variety of small fans on the market seem to have mixed reviews. Many look like nothing more than a small computer fan connected to a small, cheap-looking solar panel. Well, I have a better idea.
Attic Fans and Dog House Solar
I found some cool solar-powered attic fans on Amazon that I think will work well, and they don’t even look bad, either. They’re a bit pricey compared to the smaller ones I found online that claim to be exclusively for dog houses, but I believe the reviews tell the tale.
I found that all the cheap, little fans that run on solar have pretty bad reviews. Many people complain about the fans not running well unless the Sun is in full bloom, so to speak. The other thought I had about these is that they appear cheaply made.
You Get What You Pay For
Why spend $20 on something that won’t work well and will likely break? It makes more sense to look at a product intended for a more reliable purpose. That’s why I believe the solar-powered attic fan is a really cool idea (no pun intended).
The fan is, after all, intended to be used on your home roof. Therefore it is designed with longevity, aesthetic appeal, and functionality all in mind.
People would get pretty upset if they installed a solar attic fan onto their roof to have it leak or not work after a short time. The companies selling these would be in trouble. I say go for the gold and get the right thing. After all, you get what you pay for, right?
Conditioned for Cool
I’ve looked everywhere online for solar-powered air conditioners, and here’s what I’ve found. Most true air conditioners that use a refrigerant and work just like your refrigerator use too much power for a solar dog house unless you have more than just the roof covered in panels.
However, I found an air conditioning unit that uses water, so you need to refill it from time to time. But it is 12 volts which are ideal for our solar setup. And it only uses up to 30 watts, which makes it reasonable to supply power to form the solar on the roof of your dog house as you can pick up a solar panel that runs around 50 watts, which is 26″ x 21″ roughly.
Air Conditioning Power Requirements
Two of these solar panels are on the roof, and you’ll have enough power to run this air cooling unit and some lighting as well, maybe. Not bad if you ask me. The reviews of the solar panel and the air cooler seem pretty solid too.
I’ve added links to these units on the recommendations page and in this article. If you want to check it out further, that is.
Keep in mind I only recommend products that I’ve researched, read all the reviews, and honestly believe are decent purchases. Anyway, having a cooling unit in a dog house is a cool idea. No pun intended; it will keep your pooch comfy on those hot days outside.
Dog House Solar Heating Things Up
The next thing I researched setting up was a solar heating pad. It is for inside the dog house to keep my dog warm during cooler times. I found a 9″ x 12″ heating pad intended for rabbits which state on the box that it uses 25 watts.
Again, this is well within our range for a solar panel like the one I mentioned earlier. I did look into other types of heaters, like the ones you might buy for your desk at work or for a home for a small room. The issue with these is that most draw far too much power.
The solution is to use a heating pad, which uses much less power. That and if it is intended for rabbits, who like to chew, then it is likely to be safe for your dog. The pad even has cord protection. The only issue I found was that the pad is 120V AC.
Compared to the 12V DC that we would prefer, used for a more straightforward electrical setup, the chew-proof feature sounds appealing.
So I suppose the catch is that you need a power inverter and transformer.
Due to cars being 12v, getting the power issues resolved doesn’t seem like a big deal, and it isn’t. After all, there are plenty of cars, so we should be able to fix the issue pretty quickly.
I found a bunch of inverters that all offer to transform from DC to AC and bump our voltage to 120V from 12.
I found one that was only $50 but also 400 watts and even has USB charging ports, but the availability wasn’t excellent.
Now I know it’s not likely your dog will need to charge a phone. But how cool would it be to have a small phone charging station mounted outside your dog’s house? You could hang out with your furry friend(s) in the yard and still have your phone handy while charging. I bet that’s one no one has pulled off yet.
I found that the easiest solution was grabbing a whole kit that includes the inverter. That way, everything is rated and tested to work together. All you need to do is follow their instructions and power your project.
On Down The River
At this point, I believe you must be primed to hunt for 12-volt things you can power with solar for your dog house. Well, how about a running waterfall or a drinking fountain outside? I was searching for ideas and saw a picture of an old mill on a river’s edge.
That made me think: “What if I had a small goldfish pond and waterfall on one side of the dog house?” That would make the area landscaped for a showcase event!
Fountains & Waterfalls
Then I remembered how my cat always needs to ignore her water bowl and meow at the tub faucet for running water. That reminded me that running water tends to be somewhat cooler than the atmosphere around it. It’s due to evaporation, which is accelerated by water movement. So you could run a waterfall or a drinking fountain for your dog and keep things cooler on hot summer days. That is if you set up the waterfall close to where the dog is relaxing.
Dog House Solar – Water Pumps
Marine water pumps are typically 12V, just like you have in your car, so we don’t need to use an inverter. I found a pretty decent marine water pump. The decent ones run from $30-50 and up, so it isn’t going to break the bank.
The water pump I found also uses around 35 watts of energy if my math is correct. Okay, so I double-checked the math, and we’re good. Again, a 50-watt solar panel could easily power a 35-watt pump.
I’m not sure how long the pump would run off a car battery, say at night, for example, when the panel isn’t producing any energy, though, so this is something to keep in mind that you may want to turn it off at night or install a timer. Once I’ve completed my solar dog house project, I’ll write another article with all the exact numbers. So make sure you sign up for my mailing list at the bottom of the page to get that update.
Dog House Solar Lights, Camera, Action!
Adding lights is one of the more apparent projects to add a level of awesome to your dog house. As we are talking about solar power being the energy source, I recommend we look at LED lighting. I found some cool 12V LED light strips that are intended to be used for cars to make some cool lighting effects.
It would work great again with our solar project, as we don’t need an inverter to run these lights. The other great thing about LED lights is that they use minimal power. It is suitable for your dog house solar project because it would be easy to add some lighting. I will keep this section short because you can only do so much with lighting. I will throw out a few decent ideas, though.
You can add one or more exterior spotlights. Maybe they focus on a water/food dish. Or maybe you mount them on the side of the dog house, focusing on some planted gardening surrounding the dog house.
Under Fascia Mounted Lighting.
Under that edge of the roof that I assume protrudes from the edge of the dog house is the fascia. It is a great place to mount some LED strip lighting and looks cool.
Spot Deck And Floor Lighting
If you’ve made a porch extension to your dog house, a neat concept is to install some recessed lighting. It can be installed on the deck of the porch. The look is very modern and gives a professional look to the dog house.
Adding colored light to the inside of the dog house can look fantastic as it floods out of the door. It tends to look best with colored lighting.
Jetson, Is That You?
Adding automation to a dog house is the ultimate solar project. This concept is to add automation to your dog house solar project.
Imagine you had a door that would open when your dog walked up to it. You could use a pressure pad, so if the dog stands close to the door, it will open. Likewise, you could also use motion detection to activate a door or the lighting.
You can use a 12v linear actuator to make the door move or add other movement automation. I came across this concept a few years back when I had a pickup truck. I purchased two 12v linear actuators and used these, along with a switch and some wiring to make my tailgate automated.
I had a switch in the cab and another in the truck bed to control the tailgate. Of course, I disconnected the locking mechanism as the linear actuators held the tailgate.
Using the linear actuator gave me ideas like having an automated sliding door on your dog’s house. Have you ever seen the show Star Trek? You know those doors they have on the ship that WOOSH open or closed? Wouldn’t that be the most remarkable thing about your dog house?
Another neat idea would be to add a rotating statue on the roof or something along those lines. Or you could go all out and have a built-in waterfall watering dish fountain that rotates and has built-in LED lighting. Now we’re cooking with gasoline!
Dog house solar projects can add that immensely cool look and feel to your dog house. Also, they make for fun projects. That project is fantastic for saving the environment. You could brag to friends about your ‘green’ dog house, and it will feel great. A solar dog house project is an excellent way to bring your dog house into the future.
If you like the ideas I’ve shared here, look at my recommendations page. I’ve compiled all my researched solar items for your reviewing pleasure. Thanks for reading; I hope you’ve enjoyed the article. Add yourself to my mailing list to stay up to date.
Dog House DIY Articles
- Dog House Size Charts – 440 breeds with recommended minimum sizes for your dog house, including doorway size and floor space.
- Making a wood plank dog house – the video and article
- Wood plank dog house plans – free for you and all
- Wood Materials for building your dog house – Know which woods are bad for your dog and which are safe.
- Best Solutions For How To Insulate A Dog House Cheap
- Dog House Building Materials Basics
- Roof Guide – Roof Types, Roof Materials, And More For Your Dog House
- Dog House Air Conditioner Guide
- Waterproofing Your Dog House
- Dog House Recommended
- 10 Best Dog House Door Ideas
- Dog House Types And Considerations When Buying
Dog House Videos
- Mobility – Dog House Reno – Episode 1 – Enter The Mobile Dog House – How to install a set of wheels on your dog house to make it mobile.
- Insulating – Dog House Reno – Episode 2 – Insulating a Dog House – How to install a double layer of insulation and an all-weather carpet to make the dog house warm and cozy for your dog.
- Strip-Curtain Door – Dog House Reno – Episode 3 – Making a Strip Curtain Dog House Door – How to make a double layer strip curtain for your dog house door and install it.