Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC) and Tyson Foods have opened the largest stand-alone solar-powered poultry house to be operated completely off the grid.
The university says the 54-foot-by-500-foot poultry house is in Cullman County, Ala., and is capable of housing 36,000 broilers.
It will be one of two identical houses on a farm where 5.50-pound broilers will be grown. One house will be the control house while the other will be operated exclusively by solar power, also known as Stand-Alone Solar for Poultry (SASP).
“Auburn University’s NPTC will work closely with Tyson Foods and Southern Solar Systems to provide leadership in the application of solar power technology to broiler production houses,” says Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn’s College of Agriculture. “The research will provide important, new information on how solar power technology can improve environmental sustainability and profits for farmers.”
On-site researchers will compare its energy use over a 12-month cycle with the normal operation of the twin house next door.
The data and insights gleaned from this project will help identify sustainable practices and new forms of energy for the poultry industry.
“Electricity drives all functions in poultry houses and is the largest variable cost for poultry farmers,” says Dennis Brothers, extension specialist with NPTC. We believe this new system may reduce costs for farmers while increasing efficiency.”