Tyson Foods and Auburn University are building the first stand-alone solar-powered poultry house

Tyson Foods solar poultry house

Solar cells provide power for an off-the-grid poultry house in Cullman County, Alabama. Auburn University and Tyson Foods are partnering on a research project studying solar energy usage versus standard electricity usage by a normal poultry house.

Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC), a leader in poultry housing and associated technologies for more than a decade, and Tyson Foods Inc. are opening of the largest stand-alone solar powered poultry house to be operated completely off the grid. The 54-foot by 500-foot poultry house is located in Cullman County, Alabama, and capable of housing 36,000 broilers.

The poultry house will be one of two identical houses on Tim and Selena Butts’ farm where 5.50-pound broilers will be grown. One house will be the control house while the other will be operated exclusively by solar power, also known as Stand-Alone Solar for Poultry (SASP).

“Auburn University’s NPTC will work closely with Tyson Foods and Southern Solar Systems to provide leadership in the application of solar power technology to broiler production houses,” said Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn’s College of Agriculture. “The research will provide important, new information on how solar power technology can improve environmental sustainability and profits for farmers.”

The house’s power will derive from three components: solar, a battery set and a generator. On-site researchers will compare its energy use regularly with the normal operation of the twin house located next door over a 12-month cycle. The data and insights gleaned from this project will be an important next step in identifying sustainable practices and new forms of energy for the poultry industry at large.

“Ultimately, this project will allow us to identify how solar houses might improve farmer profitability and bring increased efficiency to the poultry industry,” said Chip Miller, vice president of poultry live operations for Tyson Foods. “Through our partnership with Auburn University’s NPTC, we are creating a model for the future of the industry—one that is more sustainable and brings critical value and insights, previously unavailable, to poultry farmers.”

“The combination of solar and batteries along with the other technologies are converting power to usable alternating current (AC) that’s identical to grid power,” said Dennis Brothers, extension specialist with NPTC. “Electricity drives all functions in poultry houses and is the largest variable cost for poultry farmers. We believe this new system may reduce costs for farmers while increasing efficiency.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Not a baaaad idea: Nexamp deploys 150 sheep to graze on New York community solar project

Nexamp Newfield Sheep 1

Community solar provider Nexamp kicked off a new solar grazing program recently with the deployment of approximately 150 sheep on its solar farm in Newfield, NY. The sheep, provided by a local sheep farmer, will be used to provide sustainable vegetation management at the site throughout the growing season. Solar grazing provides a variety of important benefits to the sheep farmer, the sheep, the community and the solar farm developer.

“Subscribers get involved with our community solar program for two reasons—they save money on their electricity costs and they support the growth of clean, renewable energy in their local community,” said Zaid Ashai, Nexamp CEO. “Because sustainability is such a key part of our DNA as a community solar provider, the ability to further reduce carbon emissions with solar grazing is very appealing. We no longer have gas-powered equipment running on the site and we are able to provide a steady stream of income to the sheep farmers while the sheep enjoy a safe, healthy environment in which to graze.”

More sheep are being placed at the 30-acre Newfield site as the season progresses. Nexamp also is implementing solar grazing with more than 40 sheep already at its site in Seneca, NY and soon will be starting the program at its Upton, MA location. With dozens of projects across the Northeast, solar grazing is poised to play a significant role in Nexamp’s plan for site maintenance in the future.

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Upstate New York sheep farmers Lexie Hain and Lewis Fox of Agrivoltaic Solutions are providing sheep for the two Nexamp sites. More importantly, the two have teamed up to co-found the American Solar Grazing Association, a group that will offer valuable resources and guidance to sheep farmers while serving as a connection point for members and solar developers across the country. According to Hain, “Sheep are very efficient eaters and are really well suited to this kind of application. They will eat almost anything that grows, maintaining an ideal vegetation height to prevent shading on solar panels. Existing perimeter fences at the solar farms protect them from predators, and the panels themselves provide shelter from rain, wind and direct sun on hot days. It’s a fantastic opportunity for sheep farmers to generate extra income in a mutually beneficial environment.”

Nexamp’s community solar farms produce clean power at a large scale that is fed to the local grid, generating credits that are allocated to subscribers and used to offset their monthly charges, resulting in savings of approximately 10%. By enrolling in the program at no cost, subscribers also play a role in advancing clean energy. Many consumers would like to participate in the growing solar market but are unable to do so because they may not have the right location, an adequate roof, resources to invest in a rooftop system or may not own the home in which they live. Community solar makes it possible for anyone to benefit from solar.

Solar grazing takes community solar to the next level by extending the benefits of the program beyond subscribers to farmers and their sheep.

“Putting a flock out on a solar farm means I can preserve my own pasture and stock hay for the winter months, lowering my overall costs at the same time that I am adding revenue from the solar developer,” stated Fox. “Working with Nexamp has been a good experience for us—we are all learning and building a strong program that will scale nicely in the future. Agrivoltaics is making it easier to maximize land for both clean energy production and agriculture. It’s a win-win.”

Nexamp will continue to expand the solar grazing program throughout 2019, developing agreements with local farmers in other communities to meet vegetation management needs in a sustainable approach with sheep.

— Solar Builder magazine

Not a baaaad idea: Nexamp deploys 150 sheep to graze on New York community solar project

Nexamp Newfield Sheep 1

Community solar provider Nexamp kicked off a new solar grazing program recently with the deployment of approximately 150 sheep on its solar farm in Newfield, NY. The sheep, provided by a local sheep farmer, will be used to provide sustainable vegetation management at the site throughout the growing season. Solar grazing provides a variety of important benefits to the sheep farmer, the sheep, the community and the solar farm developer.

“Subscribers get involved with our community solar program for two reasons—they save money on their electricity costs and they support the growth of clean, renewable energy in their local community,” said Zaid Ashai, Nexamp CEO. “Because sustainability is such a key part of our DNA as a community solar provider, the ability to further reduce carbon emissions with solar grazing is very appealing. We no longer have gas-powered equipment running on the site and we are able to provide a steady stream of income to the sheep farmers while the sheep enjoy a safe, healthy environment in which to graze.”

More sheep are being placed at the 30-acre Newfield site as the season progresses. Nexamp also is implementing solar grazing with more than 40 sheep already at its site in Seneca, NY and soon will be starting the program at its Upton, MA location. With dozens of projects across the Northeast, solar grazing is poised to play a significant role in Nexamp’s plan for site maintenance in the future.

Don’t miss our Solar + Storage issue in July — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

Upstate New York sheep farmers Lexie Hain and Lewis Fox of Agrivoltaic Solutions are providing sheep for the two Nexamp sites. More importantly, the two have teamed up to co-found the American Solar Grazing Association, a group that will offer valuable resources and guidance to sheep farmers while serving as a connection point for members and solar developers across the country. According to Hain, “Sheep are very efficient eaters and are really well suited to this kind of application. They will eat almost anything that grows, maintaining an ideal vegetation height to prevent shading on solar panels. Existing perimeter fences at the solar farms protect them from predators, and the panels themselves provide shelter from rain, wind and direct sun on hot days. It’s a fantastic opportunity for sheep farmers to generate extra income in a mutually beneficial environment.”

Nexamp’s community solar farms produce clean power at a large scale that is fed to the local grid, generating credits that are allocated to subscribers and used to offset their monthly charges, resulting in savings of approximately 10%. By enrolling in the program at no cost, subscribers also play a role in advancing clean energy. Many consumers would like to participate in the growing solar market but are unable to do so because they may not have the right location, an adequate roof, resources to invest in a rooftop system or may not own the home in which they live. Community solar makes it possible for anyone to benefit from solar.

Solar grazing takes community solar to the next level by extending the benefits of the program beyond subscribers to farmers and their sheep.

“Putting a flock out on a solar farm means I can preserve my own pasture and stock hay for the winter months, lowering my overall costs at the same time that I am adding revenue from the solar developer,” stated Fox. “Working with Nexamp has been a good experience for us—we are all learning and building a strong program that will scale nicely in the future. Agrivoltaics is making it easier to maximize land for both clean energy production and agriculture. It’s a win-win.”

Nexamp will continue to expand the solar grazing program throughout 2019, developing agreements with local farmers in other communities to meet vegetation management needs in a sustainable approach with sheep.

— Solar Builder magazine

ACES project in Utah to combine diverse mix of storage tech for 1 GW of capacity

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development joined Utah Governor Gary Herbert to announce the launch the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah. In what is being billed as the world’s largest project of its kind, the ACES initiative will develop 1,000 MW of energy storage.

In many parts of the western United States, there are times of day when demand for electricity is lower than the production of renewable power. This leads to curtailment of renewable generation and negative electricity pricing. Continued deployment of renewables will require that excess power be stored for later use. To serve the needs of the entire western United States, many gigawatt-hours of storage capacity are required.

Don’t miss our Solar + Storage issue in July — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

Initially developing enough energy storage to completely serve the needs of 150,000 households for an entire year, the ACES initiative will deploy four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. These energy storage technologies include:

  • Renewable hydrogen
  • Compressed Air Energy Storage
  • Large scale flow batteries
  • Solid oxide fuel cells

“Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100 percent renewable storage, is that next step. The technologies we are deploying will store electricity on time scales from seconds to seasons of the year,” said Paul Browning, President and CEO of MHPS Americas. “For example, when we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

Magnum Development owns and controls the only known “Gulf Coast” style domal-quality salt formation in the western United States. With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage and renewable hydrogen storage options. Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate seamlessly with the western U.S. power grid utilizing existing infrastructure.

— Solar Builder magazine

CIT Group leads $416 million financing for gigantic 379-MW solar project in Texas

Image-1-Phoebe-Solar-Project

Phoebe solar facility

Insert requisite “everything is bigger in Texas!” line here. CIT Group’s Power & Energy business coordinated a $416 million debt financing to support Longroad Energy’s 379-megawatt Prospero solar facility to be built in Andrews County, Texas.

Since its founding, Longroad has fully developed approximately 1,000 MW of wind and solar projects and currently owns a 700 MW operating fleet. The developer started construction of Prospero on May 16, 2019, with plans for commercial operations in 2020. Once built, Prospero is expected to be one of the largest solar farms in Texas, and even bigger than the nearby 315-megawatt Phoebe solar facility also developed by Longroad. CIT led a $366 million debt financing supporting the Phoebe facility in July 2018.

Financing details

CIT led a group of seven lenders for this financing. In addition to leveraging its financing and structuring expertise, CIT is also providing a comprehensive package of capital markets services and treasury management solutions.

Facebook will be the sole tax equity investor for Prospero, in its first direct investment in a renewable energy project. The electricity will be sold to Shell Energy North America under a 12-year power purchase agreement and both Facebook and Shell will share the renewable energy attributes generated by the project’s energy production.

Don’t miss our Solar + Storage issue in July — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

In leading this landmark financing, CIT extends its track record as one of the top renewable energy lenders nationwide by number of projects financed, according to market research firm Inframation, an Acuris company.

“We were excited once again to collaborate with Longroad in powering their business forward by leading the financing of this large-scale solar project,” said Mike Lorusso, managing director and group head of CIT’s Power and Energy unit.

Power and Energy, part of CIT’s Commercial Finance division, leverages its deep industry knowledge and expertise to offer comprehensive financing solutions for renewable and conventional power generation. The unit manages a large, diverse portfolio that includes investments in all asset classes across the energy sector.

— Solar Builder magazine