Need advice on lighting for stable/stall interior.

I am renovating a five stall barn and would appreciate advice on lighting for isles and stalls. Does anyone use solar panels to provide power to their barn?

it can be done, even easier these days with LED lights (just remember to switch the positive feed for on/off)

Back in 1995 my company was asked to install an automatic gate system in the middle of an airport, nearest power was over 10,000 feet away. The system had to be set up completely on solar. We ended up with an array that measured about 10 feet by 30 feet that charged a battery bank which then supplied power to the system 24/7

This was a power hog of a system but worked (and still works) without issue…so if that could be done, lights in barn can be also

Solar panel cost has dropped considerably, but even so there are Federal Tax Credits available that are uncapped …if done this year I believe i is 26% of cost, next year drops to 22% (I believe) . So, whatever your system costs to setup you would get about a quarter of its cost paid back to you be the Federal Government as a bottom line tax credit … just consult with your tax advisor or read up on the Federal Alternative Energy programs

No solar here.
I put up cold ballast fluorescent fixtures in barn & attached indoor.
I disliked the buzz of halide & time it takes to fully light.
Fluorescent is Instant On.
My mistake was not using enclosed fixtures.
Barns are dusty by nature, mine is never fully shut off from the elements & ballasts have suffered. Damp/humidity also makes the lamps finicky about going on.

Nowadays people use LED & I’d switch if I could.

As for positioning:
I have 2 banks of 2 fixtures - 8’ tubes - running parallel to each other in my 36X36 pole barn.
One bank offset to one side of the center aisle, 2nd bank set over the stalls.
Stall bank is hung so fixtures are not placed directly over where a rearing horse could come in contact, but still light each stall.
Each bank on a separate switch, so I can light the aisle & leave stalls dark.

No solar here either, but I covet separate switches so you can turn on one light, or a section of dim lights, without flooding the whole barn in instant light. Which is great for checking on a horse at night and not having to wake the whole barn, early chores if you’re shipping and don’t want everybody full awake wanting food, etc., or leaving a bit of light on for yourself for a late night return without keeping everyone up. (and frankly, sometimes my eyes don’t want full blown lights at certain wee hours of the morn) Every time I try to use a flashlight to check on a horse at night, I end up scaring the crap out of somebody and the whole barn ends up woke anyway.

but I covet separate switches so you can turn on one light, or a section of dim lights, without flooding the whole barn in instant light.

that is the only thing I like about compact fluorescent bulbs that they are not suddenly on…and if cold take more than a few seconds to fully brighten. I have a few on a seperate night light circuit

Otherwise we switched everything to LED lights

As for OP… you can do the lighting using solar (also might want to at least look at a small wind generator to supplement the solar for winter use) …both qualify for the Federal tax credits in the US. Just be sure to switch the positive power feed on/off if you are using a negative ground system.

We went solar and are happy. I started with one 5000 lumen Barn light, just to see if I we would like it. Barn is still under construction so power had not been trenched in yet. That light not only lights up the feed room, but the pretty much the whole barn and the whole barn area. We have pretty consistent power loss and having solar is great. Power goes out, I can go clean the tack room. Yes, it was more $ but no wiring, works all the time. We are planning on putting a second at the other end of the main barn. Solar also allows us to put lights into the run in shed and hay barn ( no need to trench in power). Mine has a remote that we just put in a zip lock bag, attached to the wall and use it like a light switch. I am also thinking of another for a lighted out door riding area. Even when we run power to the barn I think we will still keep the lights solar.

Would you have a link to which kind of solar lights?

We have fluorescent lights in the aisle and the stalls, wired separately so that we can light one or the other, or both. There are light switches at both ends of the aisle, so that we can turn them on/off from either end of the aisle, instead of having to walk down the aisle to do so.

My main piece of advice, in regards to stall lighting, is to have the fixtures installed to provide side lighting. We did so because horses are large animals that cast large shadows when a stall light is centered over the stall. Having light coming from the sides provides more even lighting in which to work, observe the horse, etc.

In our barn, there is light coming from fixtures at both the stall sides, and the back wall of the stalls, plus the light that comes from the aisle when those fixtures are also turned on.

The effectiveness of solar is going to depend on so many variables. Most importantly, where you are. In near coastal New England say, in an area with a lot of evergreen trees, solar is going to be a challenge. Not so much in an flat area with fewer trees and better climate. If you do go solar, your test question should be: after three cloudy days and regular use of the lights, near the winter solstice, I have a colicing horse. I need to have the barn well lit for an entire night. Can I do that with my solar power? If the answer isn’t a solid yes, have a back up plan. that though, is my opinion, I’m a paranoid, perfectionist, pessimist :slight_smile:
On lights, nothing has made me happier than a cheap switch we did this year. It won’t last forever, but we scored some good quality but cheap LED light strips that could daisy chain together and plug into old incandescent light sockets . Amazing how a cavernous old post and beam barn can go from ‘dim’ to ‘we can see!!!’ Also, no worries about the heat of an incandescent creating a fire hazard.


I agree, that was why we tried the one. The solar panel is mounted on the barn roof. The light is in the inside eave. It was easy to install. We thought the power/light would limited, but it will blaze bright all night. We tried it to solve temporary problem but found a long term solution. After using the solar it is a wonderful solution to remote buildings and as a back up for regular electric or as just dependable farm lighting. We are in SC but I do have a lot of trees and still have power after a week of rain…

Thank you very much!

I have the exact same light in my hay shed. It works beautifully and lights up the whole thing very well.

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@four2farm or @Bluey can you type out the name of that light? I cant read it on the posted photo. TIA

We just put up a solar system in our barn (36x36, center aisle). 3 solar panels, 2 batteries, a marine switch box, and LED strip lights run along the joists. My husband planned out the system & we installed it ourselves. I think total cost was around $1200. It’s incredibly bright and the light is even everywhere. There are no shadowy dark spots like you can get with regular light fixtures. The aisle, tack room, & each stall can be lit up individually.

Eventually I still want to run full electricity to the barn so I have outlets for fans & other things, but for now this is working beautifully. Our barn is way back from the road, so we’re looking at close to $5K to run electricity back. Between my solar & a small generator, I can do whatever I need to.

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Tera Light- Uranus 5000 lumen on Amazon

Here is the link:

My husband did solar! We put a panel up on the broadside of the barn, where sunlight is completely unblocked. Then he wired it to a “inverter?” Not sure of the actual term. Anyways, it stores the solar energy and it’s hooked to two golf cart batteries in covered boxes to keep dust from sucking out the distilled water. The box has two outlets and we have five bar lights connected on one cord that plugs into my solar box. I turn the box on, and then flip the switch. The box is really for night or cloudy days, I guess. I can also run my clippers from it or a radio or a kettle, anything. I can get specifics from DH if you’re interested. The barn lights amazingly and I think everything was 600 bucks. I have photos too! Of finished product and all specific setups.

As for me would be better to install solar panels in your house. Like in this review

Warning: this is a bit of a tangent from the topic of stall lighting, but since we are talking solar: I love the idea of using a wall for solar panels. If you have the right siting for solar gain and are in a region where that will work, or if you install additional panels to accommodate less solar exposure it seems like a great idea.

I would like to install solar but there are several problems and worries I have with solar panels on the roof of my house.

  1. Installing something on top of my roof tiles can interfere with the integrity of the roof, especially if the installers are not careful or knowledgable.
  2. Along the same lines as the first issue, getting up and down off the roof for maintenance creates an opportunity for a broken tile or other roof damage every time someone gets up there.
  3. It’s dangerous. It would be a tragedy if someone fell off the roof, and it is a liability issue.
  4. Not only is access hard on the roof, but it is difficult and something I can’t do by myself for routine maintenance – don’t those panels need to be cleaned off occasionally? It would be easy to hose down and squeegee a series of panels on a wall. Even if they are hung high you could use a handled cleaning tool.
  5. Because the panels are on the roof, I wonder, how often they are damaged by hail in regions where you get that kind of weather? If they are under an eave and on a fairly vertical plane, they must surely be more protected from all but the most sideways-driving hail and sleet.

I realize that the roof offers an ideal spot for most homeowners to place solar panels but I sure would like to avoid it.

How large is your horse stall? There are many lighting ideas such as

  • Gooseneck barn lights
  • Recessed lighting
  • Chandelier (with fan?)
  • Cage lighting
  • Solar string lights

I think gooseneck light is widely used in horse stable, you may take a look
They are not so expensive.

It is recommended to read this site as it provides many information about riding arena lighting ideas and solar lighting tips