Best Solar Panel For Fish House (Full Guide)

Solar panels are an excellent option for a fish house. They silently and efficiently collect sunlight to be converted to energy which is then stored in batteries for use later, in the evening, or when it is cloudy or rainy. With so many types of solar panels available, knowing which is the best option for a Fish house can be confusing.

Choosing the size and number of solar panels required for a fish house completely depends on what you need to run off the solar system. A 100-watt monocrystalline solar panel linked to a 50 amp hour battery will run a few LED lights for days on end without needing to charge the battery.

Although most fish houses will need more power to run appliances – we’ll look at our favorite later on.

Harvesting solar energy is a great alternative energy source for a fish house. Selecting the right solar panel for your needs is important to ensure you have sufficient energy for your fish house’s needs. Read on to see what the best solar panel is for a fish house.

Fish house with boats on a lake

What Are Fish House Solar Panel Options?

Two basic solar panel types are on the market today; these are polycrystalline and monocrystalline. These are again available in different offerings, such as Flexi panels and thin-film panels. Let’s focus on traditional solar panel offerings in Mono and Poly configurations.

Monocrystalline panels are generally slightly more efficient than polycrystalline panels. Thus, they have an edge in low light conditions in terms of higher energy production. For the average solar user, there’s no notable difference between the two-panel types.

Fish houses are generally used in very cold conditions where snow, ice, and rain can reduce the energy generation of a solar panel. Solar panels need light to produce current.

Solar panels work very efficiently in cold climates. The only prerequisites are that sunlight needs to shine onto the panel, and the panel needs to be clear of any obstructions to work effectively.

Sizing

Sizing the solar panel to your battery is of greater importance than deciding between mono or poly panels for the average fish house. A basic guide when sizing your solar panel to basic gel or lead-acid batteries is to have 1-watt solar panel power per amp hour of the battery.

A 100 amp hour battery will need at least a 100-watt solar panel to charge in 6 hours of useable sunlight fully. If your useable sunlight hours are 3 hours a day, double up on the solar panel size. If your battery is a 12 volt 200 amp hour battery, use a 200w solar panel.

When connecting your solar panel to the battery, the solar panel must run through a charge controller or sometimes called a regulator. The charge controller/regulator controls the charge running into your battery from the solar panel to ensure the battery doesn’t overcharge or discharge too much.

Solar Panel FAQ Video x
Solar Panel FAQ Video

Most charge controllers have a 12-volt output, positive and negative, to which 12-volt lights are connected directly. The installation process for lights is very easy.

Buying the best quality solar panels along with well-known brands will pay off in the long run in terms of the panels lasting their advertised lifespan.

Popular brand name solar panels also better the odds of the same panels being available in the future should you want to expand your system by adding additional solar panels.

Tier one rated solar panels are the best to buy.

What Solar System Do You Need For A Fish House?

Fish houses can vary substantially in size. Fish houses can range from small temporary structures containing the basics needed to comfortable to elaborate RV-type permanent fish houses.

Some reverse engineering is required when deciding which solar panel is the right one for your fish house. Start with the end in mind. Knowing what needs to run off a solar system determines the size of the system and components required, including the solar panel or panels.

When wanting to light up a fish house, you have two basic options. A 12-volt system that runs off a solar panel charged battery or a 110-volt system running through an inverter. Inverter systems are commonly available in the following sizes, 12-volt, 24-volt, and 48-volt. Inverter options are numerous, but they’re all either modified sine wave or pure sine wave inverters.

Should you need to run appliances such as a microwave or television in your fish house, you’ll need an inverter, batteries, and solar panels to charge the batteries.

For a fish house only needing lights and maybe small extractor fans, a 12-volt battery charged by a solar panel will work perfectly and is by far the cheapest option when starting on Solar.

Pros and Cons Of Solar Panel Generated Power Vs. Generator

The table below shows the pros and cons of Solar versus Generator energy generation for a fish house

Solar Panel Generated PowerGenerator Power
AdvantageDisadvantageAdvantageDisadvantage
Eco-FriendlyHigh initial costAvailable day or nightNoisy
No NoiseDoesn’t generate power at night or low light conditionsPortableHazardous exhaust emissions
Lasts for yearsBattery required
Burns petroleum or diesel
No fossil fuels

Needs refueling, manually
No emissions

Only 110V or 220V
12v, 24v, 48v, 110v or 220v options

Relatively short lifespan
Portable options are available

Requires maintenance
Virtually no maintenance


The greatest advantage of solar is its eco-friendly design, closely followed by the lack of noise created by a traditional generator. Sound travels far in quiet areas like lakes.

Imagine how much better your fishing experience would be if you didn’t hear a single generator running.

Do Solar Panels Work In Cold Weather?

Solar panels generate electricity very effectively in colder conditions. Solar panels become less efficient in power generation as the solar panel and the electrical components in the solar panel heat up in the sun.

Solar panels require sunlight to generate power and not heat, as is a popular misconception. Ideal solar conditions are cool, clear sunny days.

Solar panels are less effective in generating power on cold days due to the sun’s intensity is less in winter. Secondly, the actual solar panel surface is covered in a layer of ice or snow or even rainwater.

Obstructions such as snow and ice reflect the majority of the available sun rays of the solar panels’ surface before it reaches the solar cells of the solar panel.

In areas where low light conditions are experienced during the colder half of the year, increasing the size of the solar panel from 100-watt to 150-watt will assist in charging your fish house’s battery faster.

Attaching Your Solar Panel To A Fish House

In the United States, the best direction for a solar panel to face is the south. During the winter months, the available sunlight combined with its intensity can drop by as much as 60% compared to the summer months.

Attaching your solar panel is easier on a permanent structure than a temporary fish house. For permanent structures, the solar panel or panels can be mounted at the appropriate angle on the roof of the fish house or even against any south-facing wall.

Besides direct sunlight shining onto the solar panel, available sunlight will be reflected off the snow, which is an advantage. Solar panels can be mounted vertically against a wall and still work well in cold conditions, provided sunlight is available, and the solar panels’ surface is clear.

For temporary fish houses that do not have walls to attach the solar panel to, the only options are to prop the panel up against the side of the fish house or make a frame with folding legs that stick out behind the solar panel to prop it up.

The wind is, of course, a factor to consider as solar panels can be blown over or blown away by strong winds.

In areas where wild animals such as bears could be tempted to damage a low-mounted solar panel, you may need to bring the solar panel indoors if needed. In such instances, a quick-release mounting system may be useful.

How To Use The Frozen Lake Surface To Hold Your Solar Panel

The frozen surface of a lake can serve as a solid anchor to mount a solar panel temporarily. Below are a few easy steps to attach your solar panel as a free-standing unit attached to a vertical pole or post that is not attached to your fish house.

You will need a drill, pole, post, pipe made from steel, aluminum, or wood (8 feet long), brackets to attach the solar panel to the pole, and fasteners.

  • Select an appropriate section of ice that is thick enough to support a person’s weight comfortably and is close to the fish house.
  • The idea is to plant a pole vertically, so a hole of the appropriate diameter to accommodate the pole needs to be made in the ice. 12 to 15 inches deep is sufficient.
  • Push one end of the pole that you will be using for the solar panel into the hole in the ice, so the pole stands vertically. Allow the pole to freeze into position.
  • Now that we have a sturdy vertical pole, attach the Solar Panel to the pole as high as possible using the brackets and fasteners, vertically is good and facing south in the northern hemisphere. (The solar panel can be attached in portrait or landscape)
  • The Solar wires are then attached and run to the charge controller located in your fish house.

Make sure that the pole being used and that the attachment of the solar panel to the pole are suitably strong as strong winds could damage either if not suitably sturdy.

Popular Solar Panel Brands

The following solar panel brands are available in the United States and can be considered when buying a solar panel for your fish house. All are tier 1 rated and are readily available from reputable solar equipment suppliers.

  • Jackery
  • Renogy
  • SunPower
  • LG
  • REC
  • Silfab
  • Q Cells
  • Canadian Solar
  • JinkoSolar
  • Trina Solar

The size solar panel will depend on the battery that is being used. Sizes in output measured in watts range from 10 watts to 650 watts for some progressive manufacturers.

When sizing your solar panel, keep in mind that you’ll need 1 watt of solar power for every 1AH battery to avoid disappointment. That is, for a 100AH battery, you’ll need at least a 100-watt solar panel to charge the battery within a few hours fully.

The quality of the sunlight will, of course, determine the rate of charge.

What Do You Need To Light Up Your Fish House?

Most fish houses are basically places to get out of the cold, prepare some food, relax and sleep fairly warmly between fishing excursions. Many fish houses require heating and cooking in the form of propane-based systems. Solar panel-based systems are great for lighting and ventilation of the fish house.

Modern LED lighting solutions are extremely efficient, deliver great bright light, and are amazingly reliable. Linking the 12v LED lights to a battery ensures days of quality lighting in your fish house, big or small, without having to start the old generator.

Small computer-type fans are extremely efficient in removing built-up CO2 and other harmful gasses from your Fish house. Linking the fan to a battery, charged by solar power instead of starting a generator, is the right thing to do.

Small Fish House

For the average-sized permanent fish house running on a 12-volt circuit, you’ll need a 100w Solar Panel, 1 x 100Ah Gel, Lead Acid or AGM battery, and a 20Amp charge controller and solar wire of the appropriate diameter and length. Some TVs even have a 12-volt input which would make a great feature in your fish house.

For temporary fish houses where only one or two LED strip lights are needed, a small battery such as a seven amp-hour, connected to a 10 amp charge controller and a 20-watt solar panel will work great.

This small solar panel system and its battery can easily be moved and stored. The solar panel can hang on the exterior of the fish house.

This solar panel from the well-respected manufactures Renogy offers all that is needed for a fish house. The portable and waterproof design gives you flexibility. When you’re away from the house, you can unplug and store away.

SALE
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller
1,663 Reviews
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Off Grid Portable Foldable 2Pcs 50W Solar Panel Suitcase Built-in Kickstand with Waterproof 20A Charger Controller
  • Adjustable, Corrosion-Resistant aluminum stand as well as a heavy duty handle and latches for longevity. Folded size: 19. 9 x 27. 2 x 2. 8 inches. Ideal output: 500 Watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability)
  • Compatible with gel, sealed, Lithium, and flooded batteries. Charge controller with LCD display for displaying operating Information and data
  • 20A built-in 5-stage Solar charge controller provides overcharge protection, reducing Fire risk.Operating Temperature: minus-40°F to plus-185°F

These calculations are for when you can guarantee strong sunlight and clear days – this is never the case, especially for fish houses. This is why it’s important to level up the watts far beyond what you expect to need or produce.

Best Solar Panel For Fish Houses – Lights and Appliances

Lights only require a small amount of power, but when you need power for appliances to heat water and power your phone you’ll need up to 1000 watts.

It’s better to buy a well-powered solar panel and battery initially instead of regretting it when you run out of power. Then, you’ll need to buy another set of what you already have – which makes for a messy setup.

Our favorite solar panel for a fish house is the highly-rated Jackery Solar Generator will supply you with enough power for the day which is supplied through multiple outlets. The portable design of this system will allow you to be free to have power on the move. And when the fishing season is over, you can take it with you.

SALE
Jackery Solar Generator 1000, Explorer 1000 and 2X SolarSaga 100W with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping
1,284 Reviews
Jackery Solar Generator 1000, Explorer 1000 and 2X SolarSaga 100W with 3x110V/1000W AC Outlets, Solar Mobile Lithium Battery Pack for Outdoor RV/Van Camping
  • ENDLESS SOLAR POWER: This Solar Generator 1000 set features the a Explorer 1000, pairing with 2 SolarSaga 100 solar panels. Unlock the true solar power, and experience the energy from mother nature while at your road trip, camping trip, RV, and over-landing
  • QUIET, CLEAN, EASY TO USE: Unlike gas generators, the Solar Generator is clean. The Solar Generator produces almost no noise, and it features an on-button design for easy use. It is powered by solar energy, providing a green and sustainable solution for our living condition.
  • MASSIVE CAPACITY & IMPRESSIVE ENDURANCE: The Explorer 1000 is geared with a massive 1002 Wh capacity and 1000 high running wattage to power your full-size refrigerator, TV, heater, electric grill, blanket, and more for your outdoor and home needs.

Whilst a basic solar panel, control panel, and battery are great for a basic setup, there’s no doubt at some point you’ll need that extra power. The Jackery is the all-in-one solution.

References:

Solar Panels Brands FAQ

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