Illinois pork producer is turning to solar power as “the most economically viable option.”

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Citing a need to reduce rising energy costs and a desire to promote sustainable farming practices, the Maschhoffs have broken ground on a new 3MW solar array at their Griggsville feed mill.

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Solential Energy began construction of the Griggsville Feed Mill facility in mid-May. The project, which includes 6,800 ground-mounted, fixed-tilt solar panels, will be fully installed and generating electricity by October 2022. The Maschhoffs project energy savings of $320,000 in the first year and cumulative savings over 25 years of more than $11.3 million.

The Griggsville Feed Mill is the main feed mill for The Maschhoffs, processing 350,000 tons of feed, which accounts for about 25 percent of the 1.4 million market and finisher hogs the company raises each year. It’s one of the company’s most energy-intensive operations, said Gerry Daignault, vice president of support operations.

“Energy availability and resilience are crucial. Any power interruption or loss of heat can alter the chemistry of our feed, which in turn affects the growth of our animals and the profitability of the business. Adding solar energy to our energy equation allows us to further optimize our grain processing and provide our animals with the best feed 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 problem that was making the Griggsville Feed Mill uncompetitive. After researching several on-site generation solutions, we ultimately recommended solar as the most economical option due to incredible state and federal incentives. Aside from the economic benefits, solar energy supports the family’s sustainable energy goals. The Maschhoffs are an industry leader using the most technologically advanced and energy efficient management solutions on the market.”

The Maschhoffs selected Indiana-based Solential Energy to design, build and commission the solar project. Solential has over a decade of experience in commercial solar projects, microgrids and solar storage. Solential President Jim Shaw expects more farmers to turn to solar power to ensure the economic and social sustainability of their farms. “There used to be skepticism. As solar power has become mainstream and upfront funding through government programs and private investors has become increasingly available, adoption continues to grow. Hopefully the Griggsville Feed Mill is just one of many solar projects for The Maschhoffs.”

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Keywords: trade and industry
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