358: Poultry farm, free-range and solar powered


Traditional poultry farms can use almost four times as much energy usage per live weight poultry (20 to 83 kWh/1000lb) to power lighting, ventilators, heaters, coolers and automated feed lines.


Based in Mogumber, Western Australia, Western Riverlands Poultry, the nation’s largest free-range chicken farm occupying 42 free-range sheds and about 10 million birds are turned over each year, is leading the transition to clean energy with one of the largest Agricultural Solar PV projects in Western Australia.

With the support of $1.3 million in state government funding, Western Riverlands owner AAM has added 1.4 megawatts of Solar Choice PV panels to the farm sheds and installed five Tesla batteries.

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 Solar PV system to maximise economic return and carbon offsets.

Through a National Solar Tender process, Solar Choice was able to help the Mogumber Poultry Farm beat the current market price for solar by over 10%, while delivering a high quality solution which surpasses industry standards for warranties and performance guarantees.

The 340kW Solar PV system utilises Fronius Inverter technology and Trina Solar Panels with both roof-mounted and ground-mounted arrays.

Construction of the new installation by Santrev – a leader in poultry shed construction reached completion in June 2019.
During its lifetime the project will prevent over 17,000 tonnes of carbon emissions and save over $1.5million in energy costs.

West Riverland is also turning straw and manure from chicken sheds into profitable compost. After a few months of monitoring and turning, the raw material is converted into a nutrient-rich compost which is then available for purchase.

More than 50,000 cubic metres of soiled straw and manure comes out of the sheds each year. One South Australian winemaker Michael Bruer has been spreading the compost at two of the family’s organic vineyards.

AAM believes the Riverlands sustainable model can be rolled out to all areas of agriculture.

Discover Solution 359: Insect food for animal and human consumption

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