By Benjamin Ruiz

The integration of renewable energies in poultry farming goes beyond a fashion or lifestyle. During the Latin American Poultry Summit, Ing. Miguel Ángel González, general manager of REA Solar Panama, questioned: what is the reason for using renewable energies in production processes, in this case, in poultry farming? There are three reasons, according to González. The first is that the energy security of the process is increased, because, among other things, the dependence on fossil fuels is reduced by up to 80 percent. The second is that one of the main operating costs is reduced to the maximum, since electricity rates can average US $ 6 to US $ 8 per chicken. And finally, the carbon footprint is reduced.

Integrating solar energy presents several advantages for poultry producers. On the one hand, it is adaptable to the environment and can be scaled. For example, it can be put close to the productive process, as it would be in the farms. On the other hand, the technology has matured a lot and, thanks to economies of scale, today the cost of solar panels has been reduced by 50 percent. Another particular advantage that it presents is that it is possible to hybridize with other technologies, be it the use of batteries or diesel equipment. All these advantages have triggered the installation of solar photovoltaic capacity.

If a poultry farmer wants to incorporate photovoltaic solar energy, there are several aspects to consider for the viability of the project. González explained that one must be aware of the regulatory part, which varies from country to country. Then, to know well the environment and the climatology of the place where it is thought to install. The price of energy is of paramount importance, as the tendency is to increase and each time more is consumed and it costs more to generate it. And, finally, we must consider the financing of a project of this magnitude.

As an example, the Rea Solar executive presented the case of a Panamanian poultry company whose project cost US $ 150,000 of investment for three warehouses. Each house had a capacity of 30,000 chickens. The results of the return on investment have been evident and are projected to recover in six years, with a return of 13 percent, when they had thought it would take seven years.

«Photovoltaic solar energy is not an issue of the future,» said the expert from REA Solar. «There are already cases of success in poultry production and in Latin America,» and several of them have been put into effect by this company.

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