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Sunshine Coast Chicken Farm - Queensland Farmers' Federation
Energy Savers
South East

Sunshine Coast Chicken Farm

Energy Savings
Drip, Micro irrigation
Solar Photovoltaic
Capital Cost


This case study summarises the outcomes from an audit conducted on a poultry farm with an energy consumption of 387,000 kWh at an annual cost of $85,000. Energy savings from the solar PV solution implemented have been estimated to be 32% and cost savings around 14%.

Redcliffe Chicken Farm Wamuran SolarPV

The farm produces chickens for meat sales with seven on site chicken sheds, an office and a residential house. The sheds have approximately 13,360 m2 of usable floor area for poultry production with capacity for around 223,000 birds. Each shed has tunnel and cross flow ventilation fans with winter heating provided by LPG recirculating heaters. Auger feed vat systems supply feed to the birds. 

Two dams provide for the farm water requirements with an on-site filtration and treatment facility. 

The site energy consumption currently consists of: 

  • 266 70W incandescent lights. 
  • 99 ventilation fans ranging between 0.75 and 1 kW each. 
  • 14 0.75 kW evaporative cooling pumps. 
  • 21 auger feed vat motors at 0.75 kW each.
  • 21 LPG recirculating heaters for winter heating.
  • 2 centrifugal dam pumps (one 4 kW and the other 15 kW) transfer water to the treatment facility for use on site. The 15kW pump is a transfer pump lifting water between two dams and currently runs during the day. 

The farm total energy consumption is 387,000 kWh at an annual cost of $85,000, to improve efficiency the energy audit recommended a number of measures listed at Table 1.  

Table 1. Audit Recommendation and Resulting Savings.  

Solution  30 kW Solar PV  Power factor correction 

Pump timer 15kW pump 

Annual energy savings (kWh) 



Annual operating cost saving ($) 

8,800  7,600 


Annual emission savings (tCO2-e) 



Estimated cost to implement ($) 

54,000  25,000 



Of the energy saving opportunities evaluated, three initiatives were identified with potential energy savings of 11% of the site total and a combined payback period of 4.8 years (approx.). 

The energy audit also recommended a change in energy retail contract to realise potential savings of $5,700 p.a. 

The initiatives identified in the audit report included installing a power factor correction unit, a pump timer to the 15 kW dam pump and a 30 kW solar PV system. The pump timer would ensure that pumping took place overnight during off-peak periods. 

The tunnel ventilation fans were measured and together with manufacturer’s performance data compared with market alternatives. The fans used on site were considered to be efficient and not in need of replacement though fans that are more efficient have been identified should any of the existing fans require replacement. 

Following a review of the opportunities identified, the farmer proceeded with the implementation of a 99 kW single axis tracking Solar PV system between two of the sheds. Actual savings from solar PV production are conservative estimate only as since completion of the energy audit total site consumption has markedly increased, as can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2. Potential Savings for Implemented solution  


Energy Savings (kWh)

Operating Cost Savings ($) Cost to Implement ($)

Emission Savings (tCO2-e)

99 kW Solar PV

126,062 11,977 244,372


With the implementation of the 99 kW Solar PV system a 32% reduction in energy consumption and consequent emissions will result, with a 14% cost saving.

An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great first step in moving a business towards a more efficient future by reducing energy use, costs, and carbon emissions onsite. 

An energy auditor will review your past energy bills, your equipment and the way your business operates. They’ll show you where you’re using excess energy and explain what you can do about it. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE. 

See our range of agricultural energy efficiency case studies HERE and Subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE  

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at  

The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.