In Duplin County, NC, where chickens outnumber residents 150 to 1, House of Raeford Farms has stepped forward as a leader in renewable energy, significantly reducing energy costs and improving environmental performance with the largest solar thermal hot water system in the poultry industry, and one of the largest in the U.S.
“Solar energy is something that we had considered, but the economics were tough to justify. The opportunity FLS Energy brought to us, however, made it easy. We can now purchase domestically produced energy, reduce our costs and benefit the environment at the same time,” said Robert C. Johnson, CEO at House of Raeford.
House of Raeford contracted with Asheville, NC based FLS Energy to purchase thermal energy generated by the solar hot water system built behind the hatchery. The 208 panel system will reduce costs for heating water by greater than 40% and provide hot water 24 hours a day. Under the agreement, House of Raeford will provide the land and purchase all of the system’s output. FLS Energy will supply the solar energy generation technology, expertise and resources; and construct, own and operate the system. The solar system will offset almost 40,000 gallons of propane annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 290,000 pounds per year.
“This project is significant in that the economics show solar energy as a less expensive alternative than traditional fuels. This is a critical element in our mission to make solar energy mainstream for our country,” said Michael Shore, CEO of FLS Energy. “We are also excited to work with House of Raeford in contributing to the environmental sustainability of their agricultural business with renewable energy.”
The solar thermal panels for the project were manufactured by Alternate Energy Technologies (AET) at their manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Florida.