Hoping to take advantage of recent improvements in PV technology, our client approached us to see if renewable energy could generate a secondary income for his organic poultry farm or possibly reduce and stabilize the energy costs of his expanding business. Our answer was an enthusiastic yes….and yes.
To generate a second income for the farm, almost 500 PV modules were mounted atop the first organic poultry barn to create a 105 kW system and sell the energy on a long term contract at a fixed price. On the roof of the second barn, a 47kW net metered system provides for the energy requirements of the farm. The organic poultry operation is entirely powered by the sun and operating energy costs are stable for the life of the system (20 to 30 years). The array was designed to provide enough power for the current needs and the increased consumption of an upcoming expansion. By using high output panels, half of the barn roof still remains available for further expansion.
Both projects faced the same challenges: moving large amounts of material onto the barn roofs and the need for flexibility in scheduling construction and service to avoid disrupting the barns’ livestock. Given the large amounts of material, we used a telehandler to move full skids of modules from a storage trailer to any rooftop point from the eave to the peak. Scheduling was tricky but, with careful planning, we managed to get everything done with no ruffled feathers.