Helping Delaware chicken growers go green

Poultry producers could soon get some help installing energy saving LED lights in their chicken houses.

In an effort to get chicken farmers to make the switch to the LED bulbs, the Delaware Electric Cooperative will offer the LED bulbs at a discounted price.  Normally, the high efficiency LED’s cost about $35 each, but under the Co-op program, farmers would be able to buy them for just $7.

“This grant program will provide a 75 percent discount to farmers looking to install energy efficient poultry lighting,” says Co-op president and CEO Bill Andrew.  “The LED lights can last up to nine years and will save growers money over the life of the lights.”

Only growers who are served by the Delaware Electric Cooperative are eligible for the reduced cost lights.  The Co-op expects interest to be high, so grant recipients may be selected by a lottery system.  Co-op leaders have set aside $75,000 for the program this year, with an extra $30,000 coming from the Delaware Energy Efficiency Investment Fund.

According to research by the University of Arkansas, growers could save nearly $1,000 per year just by changing out their lights.  The overall potential savings in energy and money is significant simply because the poultry industry in Delaware is massive.  According to the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., Delaware farmers produced more than 1.5 billion pounds of broiler chickens in 2009.

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