Illinois pork producer turns to solar as ‘most economically beneficial option’
Citing a need to diffuse accelerating energy costs and a desire to further sustainable farming practices, The Maschhoffs have broken ground on a new 3-MW solar array at its Griggsville Feed Mill.
Solential Energy began construction of the Griggsville Feed Mill array in mid-May. The project, encompassing 6,800 ground-mounted, fixed-tilt solar panels, will be fully installed and generating power by October 2022. The Maschhoffs anticipate first-year energy savings of $320,000 and 25-year accumulated savings of more than $11.3 million.
The Griggsville Feed Mill is the main feed facility for The Maschhoffs, which processes 350,000 tons of feed that accounts for roughly 25 percent of the 1.4 million market hogs and feeder pigs the company raises each year. It is one of the company’s most energy intensive operations, said Vice President of Support Operations Gerry Daignault.
“Energy availability and resilience are critical. Any interruption in power or loss of heat can alter the chemistry of our feed, which in turn impacts the growth of our animals and profitability of the business. Adding solar to our energy equation allows us to continue to optimize our grain processing and get the best feed to our animals without the stress of higher energy costs.”
Jeff Haarmann, managing partner of Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE), an energy management and solutions consultant to The Maschhoffs, commented, “The Maschhoffs asked us to solve the energy cost issue that was making the Griggsville Feed Mill noncompetitive. After researching multiple solutions for on-site generation, we ultimately recommended solar as the most economically beneficial option due to the incredible state and federal incentives available. Aside from the economic benefits, solar furthers the family’s sustainable energy goals. The Maschhoffs are an industry leader deploying the most technologically advanced and energy efficient management solutions in the market.”
The Maschhoffs selected Indiana-based Solential Energy to design, build, and commission the solar project. Solential has more than a decade of experience in commercial solar projects, microgrids and solar storage. Solential President Jim Shaw expects more farmers to turn to solar energy to ensure economic and social sus-tainability of their farms. “In the past, there was skepticism. As solar has become mainstream and upfront fi-nancing through government programs and private investors has become more available, adoption continues to grow. Hopefully, the Griggsville Feed Mill is just one of many solar projects for The Maschhoffs.”
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