The poultry industry in Saudi Arabia is looking to reduce fuel costs and increase energy efficiency with solar-diesel hybrids. The industry believes it could greatly benefit from using solar-hybrid generators replacing traditional diesel generators. The technology was discussed in Riyadh leading up to the Desert Solar Saudi Arabia conference.
“Hybrid solar-diesel systems are an effective solution to provide power to poultry houses, many of which are not connected to the national electric grid. Solar-based solutions are well adapted to the Kingdom’s sunny conditions, and they can help reduce the poultry industry’s heavy reliance on diesel fuel,” said Mark Webster, agribusiness and food practice lead at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
As a result of the heavy dependence on diesel fuel, Saudi poultry producers, accounting for nearly 79 percent of the Kingdom’s poultry import, are incurring notably higher energy costs than Brazilian producers due to their heavy dependence on diesel fuel.
“Domestic producers are expected to double national poultry production in the next few years, creating even further pressure on the demand for diesel fuel. A hybrid solar-diesel system will help poultry producers remain competitive against imports by ensuring a secure and affordable source of power to cool their poultry houses,” added Webster.
At present, domestic poultry production accounts for only 40-45 percent of the Saudi market. However, the share is expected to increase to 60-65 percent in the next 5-10 years, due to massive investments in additional production capacities planned by the top Saudi producers. The solar hybrid solution will likely include the combination of existing generators and PV panels – and potentially, battery storage if needed.
For poultry producers in the U.S., the technology could qualify for the REAP program – a USDA program for agriculture producers to lower energy costs and increase energy efficiency through technologies such as renewable energy.