Solar Guidelines for the Australian On-farm Chicken Industry

GHD Pty Ltd

  • Project code: PRJ-009278

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, February 28, 2014

  • Project completion date: Friday, May 16, 2014

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 3-Contributing to efficient and secure chicken production systems


On-farm energy costs for the Australian Meat Chicken industry have increased significantly in the past seven years. There are significant opportunities to reduce energy costs through energy efficiency measures in both fans and lighting which account for over 80% of farm energy use. Despite these efficiencies many farms cannot significantly reduce their energy costs as a portion of the energy bill is based on regulated charges including network charges and government schemes which typically average 30-50%% of the total energy cost.
This situation provides a strong commercial incentive to look at on-site generation such as Solar-PV to offset the energy consumption for the chicken meat farming sector. Commercial solar applications work best at facilities that have higher energy use during peak periods (day time), sites that require constant load and operate seven days a week, energy tariffs per kilowatt-hour greater than 20c and operations with adequate roof space. These factors predominantly apply to the chicken meat farming sector.
To assist chicken meat farmers evaluate the viability of on-site solar generation installations we are proposing a two stage project to undertake a business case assessment on a representative site and then following this develop an industry guidance document for evaluating solar application.
By undertaking this project we will be able to provide valuable guidance to chicken meat farmers to assist in evaluation of solar options and provide clear guidance on key issues. The analysis will assist farms make informed decisions to improve cost competitiveness or avoid investment mistakes.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

GHD Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

The primary objective of the project will be to evaluate through the Business Case assessment all the key commercial criteria that would need to be considered in installing solar roof top generation on chicken farms. This information will be then developed into the Industry Guidance Document and cover key areas such as;.
-Energy load profile considerations for effective solar installation
– Estimate the potential size of the solar PV system based on the siting, orientation, available area and roof structure specifications (including safety)
– Solar resource assessment procedures (including consideration for climatic zones)
– Connection and inverter considerations (metering configuration)
– Review the tariff structures and payback periods
– Supplier options and approaches
– Finance, grant and incentive scheme options (state by state basis)
The Business case assessment will evaluate specific issues that are common in Chicken meat operations and will also involve consultation with relevant industry experts.
The industry guidance document will be prepared as a user friendly tool to inform farmers and respond to a broad range of common questions and issues that will be considered in evaluating the commercial viability of a solar installation.