"To dry the nuts, I need air that’s 110F, so if ambient is 80F, then I need a 30 degree heat gain. I’ve got 600,000 cu. ft./min. of air to heat, so at night, when things cool down here, I use a lot of natural gas! I looked for ways to reduce my energy costs and found SolarWall. Now there are times when I don’t need to run natural gas at all because I’m getting enough heat from the SolarWall panels on the roof to shut off the burners... What I like about it [SolarWall], it’s simple. There’s no maintenance, no moving parts. Once you set it up it’s real simple."
-Ron Keyawa, Keyawa Orchards
SolarWall® for Agricultural Applications
Agricultural and agri-food operators consume tremendous quantities of energy which represent a sizable proportion of their total input costs. Rising energy prices has been putting downward pressure on agricultural incomes, which is why solar energy represents a tremendous opportunity for the agricultural sector. SolarWall systems can be used for both animal barns and for
agricultural crop drying.
SolarWall® systems have been used on hundreds of agricultural and animal buildings for poultry ventilation, hog ventilation, and other forms of livestock ventilation. Animal barns not only need to maintain a very warm indoor air temperature (up to 85 F is common), but they also require continual ventilation air. This typically produces enormous heating bills, especially considering that many farms and nurseries use propane to heat the incoming air. (And maintaining proper ventilation is crucial in the production process because clean air is so essential to the health of the animals.)
The SolarWall technology is easily integrated into conventional livestock ventilation systems and pre-heats the incoming air by as much as 50°F (27°C) in these applications. SolarWall systems will accommodate up to 1.25 cfm per square foot of barn floor. (Minimum ventilation)
In poultry ventilation, SolarWall system can be designed to handle the minimum ventilation requirements for the winter, spring and fall months, as well as the first two weeks in summer for the brooding period. For poultry, the typical indoor temperatures begin at around 90°F (32°C) for the brooding period and are gradually decreased to around 70°F (22°C) as the chickens becomes bigger. This means that chicken barns (as well as other forms of livestock) can require heat for up to 10 months of the year. In these applications, SolarWall systems have been credited with decreasing the use of traditional fuel by up to 30%. This substantial – and ongoing - reduction in operating costs improves profitability, and illustrates why this solar ventilation technology is widely used in the chicken and hog communities.
As well, chicken producers have reported additional benefits of solar poultry ventilation in terms of decreased bird mortality due to improved indoor air quality. As well, cold drafts on chicken are eliminated because the metal SolarWall system provides an additional baffle that stops incoming cold wind.
The SolarWall system is also helpful for eliminating humidity and for drying nurseries after thorough cleanings.
Operation of the SolarWall® system during the heating season
SolarWall® Farm Installations Gallery
Solar Crop and Process Drying
The SolarWall technology is also used to displace expensive fossil fuels or wood in crop and process drying. It is suitable in either retrofit or new construction, and can function as the primary heater or in a preheating capacity. Using solar heating for drying has become popular because it is especially well suited for delicate crops and it helps to ensure a high quality yield.
As agricultural and other commercial drying operations around the world turn from traditional means of using the sun to more production-oriented methods, companies and cooperatives are seeking to reduce the additional energy costs that result. Even in established operations, companies are always looking to increase profits by reducing the use of propane or natural gas. SolarWall crop and process drying provides an effective solution in both cases.
Drying chambers can incorporate solar heating by covering the entire roof and walls of the chambers and productions buildings with the SolarWall metal cladding. There is no ongoing maintenance associated with the SolarWall system and each square meter of solar panel is roughly equivalent to a 500-watt heater.
Crop and Process Drying Applications
- dries all types of produce
- excellent for tea, coffee, fruit, spices, rubber, cocoa
- beans, rice, timber, nuts, manure
- wall or roof mount
- works with tunnel, trough, conveyor and other types of driers
For more information on solar drying and commercial drying operations visit our SolarWall process drying section.
View other SolarWall applications: