Attendee gets a close-up look at the barn's solar thermal air heat system

Turkey farmers learn about solar air heating and LED lighting technologies for effective, efficient barns

Nearly 40 people, including several local turkey farmers from central Minnesota, gathered at Lake Region Electric Cooperative in Pelican Rapids on December 3rd to learn about LED lighting options, funding options, and solar air heating technologies. The event, dubbed “Toasty Turkeys” was a big success.

Forefront technology for making turkeys toasty

Jason Edens of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) first shared the basics on how solar transpired air works. This relatively low-cost technology can raise fresh air 20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit over the outdoor temperature. These systems have low maintenance and can last 30 years or more. RREAL partnered with a local turkey farmer to demonstrate this technology on an active barn. The results have been very promising so far. Download RREAL’s presentation >>

Making the case for LED lighting

Alexis Troschinetz with CERTs and Fritz Ebinger with The Minnesota Project, a partner of CERTs, presented on the results and findings from a recent Conservation Applied Research and Development grant project supported by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. “Switching from high pressure sodium or incandescent lighting to LED lighting offers about 80% in energy savings and 1000s in cost savings,” says Alexis Troschinetz with CERTs. Download CERTs’ presentation >>

Click to learn more CERTs LED lighting campaign

Alexis and Fritz with CERTs presented on how they are providing assistance to the turkey farming community through the Gobbling Up Savings – LED Lighting in Turkey Barns CERTified Campaign. In short, CERTs is helping farmers work their way through multiple funding options (electric utility rebates, USDA REAP grants and loans, USDA NRCS EQIP audit funding and project financial assistance, MDA Livestock Investment Grant) to make LED lighting retrofits possible in their barns.

Exploring utility rebate options

  • Dan Husted from Lake Region Electric Cooperative spoke about how turkey farmers can work with the Coop to access rebates. In 2015, farmers can look forward to the development of an on-bill financing program where poultry-specific lighting may be purchased direct through the utility and paid for on the utility bills.
  • Bill Klyve from Otter Tail Power Company spoke about valuable upgrades for barns in addition to lighting and the attractive rebates for retrofit lighting (some of the best in the state!).

Yum-yum, turkey

After a delicious lunch of hot turkey sandwiches provided by the Muddy Moose in Pelican Rapids, farmers had the opportunity to ask questions and talk one-on-one with representatives from USDA REAP, USDA EQIP, Lake Region Electric Cooperative, Otter Tail Power Company, RREAL, The Minnesota Project, and CERTs, plus check out a display of LED bulbs used in farm applications.

Seeing is believing!

Folks then drove to the barn of a local turkey farmer to hear his experience and get a ‘hands on’ tour of a solar air heat and LED lighting installation. This project is part of the “Toasty Turkeys” project of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), supported by the University of Minnesota’s Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Central RSDP) and CERTs.

The success of the solar transpired air system was demonstrated at the barn by turning on fans that draw heat from the transpired air cavity into the barn. A clear louvered panel opens with the fans on; attendees placed their hands in the stream of warm air pouring into the barn.

The barn also had a variety of LED light bulbs in use, including some of ONCE Innovations earlier generation of poultry-specific lighting and CBM’s UFO-looking bulb. The barn was still sealed up from a recent cleaning, so participants experienced the amount of lighting that might be present in the barn during dawn, dusk, or evening. The turkey farmer says the lighting hasn’t presented any issues for his birds and he has seen energy savings as a result.

Check out photos from the event!

We couldn’t have done it without… The event was co-hosted by Central Clean Energy Resource Team (Central CERT), University of Minnesota’s Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (Central RSDP), Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), The Minnesota Project, Lake Region Electric Cooperative, Otter Tail Power Company, and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. THANKS!


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