Tyson Foods Inc. and Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC) have announced plans to develop the largest standalone solar-powered poultry house.
The house, one of two in Cullman County, Ala., will be 54-feet by 500-feet and will hold 36,000 broilers. Researchers will compare it to the regular-energy use in the normal operation over a 12-month cycle.
The poultry house’s power will come from three sources: photovoltaic (PV) panel or solar cell, a battery set and a generator.
“The combination of solar and batteries along with the other technologies are converting power to usable alternating current (AC) that’s identical to grid power,” said Dennis Brothers, extension specialist with NPTC. “Electricity drives all functions in poultry houses and is the largest variable cost for poultry farmers. We believe this new system may reduce costs for farmers while increasing efficiency.”
Tyson said the data and insights obtained from the project would identify sustainable practices and different forms of energy to share throughout the poultry profession.
“Ultimately, this project will allow us to identify how solar houses might improve farmer profitability and bring increased efficiency to the poultry industry,” said Chip Miller, vice-president of poultry live operations for Tyson Foods. “Looking ahead, we are eager to evaluate the efficacy of the solar house and its impact on farmer profitability. We expect this pilot to be the first of many, as we continue to leverage the power of collaboration to drive progress in the poultry industry.”