Delaware Governor Cuts Ribbon on Solar-Powered Poultry Facility

April 09, 2007

 Dean of University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and CEO of Allen Family Foods stand before a photovoltaic system for a poultry house in Delaware.

Robin Morgan, a dean at the University of Delaware, and Charles "Chick" Allen III, CEO of Allen Family Foods, stand before a photovoltaic system that will provide energy for a poultry facility.
Credit: University of Delaware

Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner and other dignitaries joined together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 4 for a 42-kilowatt (kW) solar system at a poultry operation in southwest Delaware. The system is the subject of a pilot study that aims to assist the U.S. poultry industry in determining how to best incorporate solar energy into its production facilities. The $500,000 system was partly paid for by a $250,000 rebate from the state's Green Energy Program, administered by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

The system supplies electricity to a poultry house for lighting, heating, and ventilation used to raise day-old chickens to maturity, and is expected to significantly reduce the facility's electricity costs. The system is connected to the grid to earn net metering credits from DelMarva Power. Solar electricity stored in batteries can be tapped if the grid fails, or used during periods when utility rates are most expensive. The project is located on a farm in Laurel, in the southwest corner of Delaware.

A research team composed of University of Delaware faculty, students, and professionals will monitor the house over 3 years to assess the system's efficiency in collecting and using solar power. Weather data at the project site also will be monitored.

"It is vital that we continue to explore ways to take advantage of alternative energy sources," Minner said at the ceremony.

John Hughes, secretary of the DNREC, said, "Delaware's poultry industry is very energy intensive. From this research, we will gain valuable information on the benefits of solar technology for the agriculture industry and for us all."

Other project partners include Allen Family Foods, Inc., which owns the poultry facility; WorldWater & Power Corp., which designed the solar system; GE Energy, supplier of the photovoltaic panels and a participant in the study group; and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Ray Angelini, Inc. of Sewell, New Jersey, assisted WorldWater with the installation.

WorldWater & Power Corp. performs solar electric engineering, water management solutions, solar energy installations and products. Its solar technology is installed in more than 20 countries around the world. GE Energy is one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies. Allen Family Foods has been in the poultry business since 1919 and employs more than 3,000 people in Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina.

For more information, see the Udaily April 4 article, published by the University of Delaware and the April 5 WorldWater and Power Corp. press release.

To read more information about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Delaware, see: