W.A. chook farm goes solar, in partnership with poultry shed business

A chicken farm in Western Australia is set to save more that $1.5 million on energy costs, after investing in solar through an innovative renewable agriculture venture.

The 340kW rooftop and ground-mounted PV system, brokered by Solar Choice at Western Riverlands Poultry’s Mogumber Poultry Farm, came about through a partnership with a poultry shed construction company called Santrev.

Santrev last week revealed that it had added a solar division to its business, to address the industry-wide problem of power bills that have “gone through the roof.”

In an interview with Poultry Digest, Santrev managing director Luke Trevanion said the move had been inspired by more and more poultry growers showing interest in taking back control of their power bills through solar self-generation.

“Through the use of solar energy solutions, Santrev Solar and its partners are able to tailor optimal solar systems and designs that best match the farm’s current or future load energy requirements to the system’s energy generation capacity, to ensure that the best investment payback is achieved,” he said.

“Investment payback periods of 3-4 years are frequently attainable, equivalent to an internal rate of return of 25-30 per cent, compared to major bank cash investment returns of 1.5-2.5 per cent.

“Once the solar system has paid for itself in three to four years, it generates free energy for a farm, for the life of the equipment, which is up to 25 years for tier one equipment.”

In the case of the Mogumber project – in the town of the same name, north of Perth – Solar Choice says it managed the tender process to deliver a high quality rooftop system for 10 per cent below current market prices.

“Solar Choice’s engineering team analysed 30-minute interval data to understand energy consumption through bird cycles and weather seasons, and to design the optimal … system to maximise economic return and carbon offsets,” the company said.

The 340kW system uses Fronius inverters and Trina solar panels, with both roof-mounted and ground-mounted arrays.

During its lifetime, Solar Choice says the solar system will avoid more than 17,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, and save the poultry farm more than $1.5million in energy costs.

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