Alternative Energy and Heating Sources for Swine Barns

Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight directly into electricity using solar panels. These systems can significantly reduce reliance on grid electricity, resulting in lower energy costs and reduced carbon footprint. Swine producers can install solar panels on barn roofs or nearby land to harness renewable energy efficiently.

Solar Walls

Solar walls, also known as transpired solar collectors, are a cost-effective solution for preheating ventilation air. These systems consist of perforated metal walls installed on the barn’s exterior. As sunlight heats the wall, air is drawn through the perforations, capturing solar energy to warm the barn’s interior. This reduces the need for conventional heating and lowers energy expenses.

Geothermal Systems

Geothermal systems utilize the stable temperatures below the earth’s surface to heat and cool barns. These systems involve the installation of underground pipes filled with a heat-conducting fluid. During winter, the fluid absorbs heat from the ground and transfers it to the barn, providing efficient heating. In summer, the process is reversed, and the system can cool the barn by transferring excess heat back into the ground. Geothermal systems offer a reliable and sustainable heating and cooling solution with significant energy savings.


Biomass energy systems use organic materials, such as wood chips, agricultural residues, or dedicated energy crops, to produce heat. Biomass boilers burn these materials to generate heat for the barn. This renewable energy source can be cost-effective and environmentally friendly, reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Biomass systems are particularly beneficial for swine producers with access to agricultural waste or byproducts.

Funding Opportunities

Various funding opportunities are available for swine producers to install alternative energy systems. Government grants, low-interest loans, and tax incentives can offset the initial costs of implementing renewable energy technologies. Producers are encouraged to explore federal, state, and local programs that support renewable energy projects in agriculture.


Implementing alternative energy and heating sources in swine barns can lead to substantial energy savings, reduced environmental impact, and improved sustainability. By leveraging solar photovoltaic systems, solar walls, geothermal systems, and biomass, swine producers can enhance their energy efficiency and take advantage of available funding opportunities to make these investments more accessible and affordable.

For more detailed information and to access the complete volume on managing energy costs in the barn, download Managing Energy Costs in the Barn, Volume 2.