The Australian Chicken Meat industry has continually reviewed opportunities to improve production efficiency and reduce production costs. Energy consumption comprises a significant percentage of on-farm costs and these costs have increased substantially over the past seven years due to a number for factors, primarily in the electricity sector. As a primary cost of production this has a significant impact on the profitability of farms.
The electricity load profile for meat chicken farms appears to correlate well with electricity generation from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (i.e. electricity loads during daylight hours are higher than night time loads). Solar PV generation may therefore be suitable for meat chicken farms to reduce electricity consumption from the grid, reduce exposure to increasing electricity tariffs, and improve profitability.
The (RIRDC) Chicken Meat Program engaged GHD to undertake a business case assessment for the installation of rooftop solar PV for two meat chicken farms (available in the supplementary files or at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/14-106 ) , and to develop some industry-specific resources to assist farmers assess the feasibility of solar PV energy projects.
These Solar guidelines for Australian meat chicken growers (Guide) provide an introduction to rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation as it applies to meat chicken farms.