Solar incubator saves farmers when power outages occur

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Enkoho Kuku Farmers officer Silas Juma inspects a 48eggs capcity solar incubator at the Machakos Agricultural Society of Kenya Show on July 6, 2016. The incubator saves farmer from losses that my result from the common power outages. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

Chicken farmers facing unreliable electricity supply from the national grid can is install solar incubators to avoid loses to power outages.

Apart from supporting the hatching process, which must not be interrupted until the lapse of the 21 days incubation period, a solar powered machine cuts operational cost to farmers.

A farmer buys a solar panel, power storage batteries and the incubator. The solar panels harness the sun energy and convert it into power for storage in lead batteries before supplying it to the incubator.

Enkoho Kuku Farmers officer Gervase Waloki said if a farmer has high capacity solar panels and batteries, then they can revert to using the sun-tapped energy and only rely on the Kenya Power sourced electricity when the weather is unreliable. 

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Power outages in the country are common, and the effect is higher in rural areas where it takes hours running into days to b reconnected. 

Solar energy is reliable, given that Kenya lies within the topics, where the sun is available for about 10 hours a day all year round.

Silas Juma, who also works in the poultry equipment company, said the challenge is the purchase of the required equipment.

“Although it may be expensive to buy all these equipment at once, returns are high since there will be no losses. At the same time, the solar power can reduce the monthly power bill to zero when there is sufficient sunlight,” Juma said.

The company supplies solar incubators of capacity from 48 eggs to 5280 eggs. The incubators can run on direct current from Kenya Power or stored solar energy.

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A solar panel of 200 watts can convert enough power for a battery of 220volts to run a 48 eggs capacity incubator for 24 hours.

If a farmer uses the solar power for the 48 eggs capacity incubator, they can save between 40 watts and 80 watts per hour, translating to a bill save of between Sh500 and Sh1,000. 

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“The secret is having more than one big capacity batteries for back up. Losing eggs two days prior to hatching because of power shortage is disastrous. A supplier of chicks earns reputation when they deliver on orders on time,” Juma said.

The company sells the incubators from Sh19,000 to Sh350,000, depending on the egg capacity.

Juma can be reached on +254729659490 while Wakoli can be reached on +254727474045.