USA: Contractor Runs 5.46 MW in Poultry Processing Industry

The solar thermal plant at Prestage Foods Factory, a turkey processor in St Pauls, North Carolina, started operation in April 2012. It was built and is operated by FLS Energy as an energy service company (ESCO) up to the heat exchanger that transfers solar heat from the solar storage to the incoming water. FLS Energy, also located in North Carolina, offers turn-key solutions and owns commercial solar thermal and photovoltaics systems in the southeast of the United States.

The plant has favourable economic conditions: There is no pipeline available for natural gas, so solar competes well against propane. FLP profited from two different tax credits,  a 30 % federal tax credit and another 35 % state tax credit from North Carolina. Additionally, FLS Energy sells Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to the electricity supplier Duke Energy.

Heat from the solar field is transferred to the storage tank via a heat exchanger. At night, when the facilities are sanitised, the storage loop transfers the heat via a second heat exchanger to the incoming water. The incoming water is heated from 21 to 38 °C (equates to 70 to 100°F) or more, depending availability of solar heat. The boiler heats the water to the required 60 °C (140 °F) for the sanitation process. In addition to this process, Prestage food has made some chages to integrate solar heat into a hot water tank through which the birds pass through to clean them off before processing.

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Name of Project / installation site

Prestage Foods Processing Facility/ St. Pauls, 200 km south-east of Charlotte, North Carolina



Start of operation

April 2012


Solar process heat

Gross collector size

7,804 m2 of flat plate collectors, 5.46 MW

Storage size

946 m3

Supplied process

Hot water is used for sanitation in poultry processing  industry; the process requires a minimum temperature of 60 °C (equates to 140 °F)

Monitored specific solar yield per year

11.2 billion BTU (3,285 MWh) sold from ESCO to customer, equates to 421 kWh/m2

Predicted solar share in process

35 % of hot water demand, 22 % of total heating demand


Prestage Foods, meat processing company, USA


FLS Energy built and operates the plant as an Energy Service Company (ESCO), USA

collector manufacturer

AET Alternate Energy Technologies, Florida, USA


Prestage Foods, Inc., Michael Pope,
phone 001/910/596-5758
FLS Energy: Dale Freudenberger,, phone 001/828/3503993

More information,


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