Illinois hog farm commissions 3-MW solar project

One of the nation’s largest pork producers is offsetting its energy costs with a 3.06-MW solar project. Solential Energy began construction on the array at The Maschhoffs’ Griggsville, Illinois feed mill 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.

“In 2022 alone, we’ve seen our energy costs increase significantly, severely impacting our operating costs and threatening our competitiveness as well as the state of Illinois’s $1.1 billion pork producing industry,” said Chairman Ken Maschhoff. “Adopting renewable solar energy to offset rising energy costs is strategically necessary. The Maschhoffs have always been innovators, and we embrace the opportunity to transform our operation through more sustainable practices, take control of our energy production and costs, and do our part in reducing the carbon footprint of our operations.”

The Griggsville Feed Mill is the main feed facility for The Maschhoffs, which processes 350,000 tons of feed that accounts for roughly 25% 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 Gerry Daignault, VP of support operations.

“Our grain operations are critical to animal care, overall health and pork production. Energy availability and resilience are critical,” he said. “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.”

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 systems. Solential President Jim Shaw expects more farmers to turn to solar energy to ensure the economic and social sustainability of their farms.

“In the past, there was skepticism. As solar has become mainstream and upfront financing through government programs and private investors has become more available, adoption continues to grow,” he said. “Hopefully, the Griggsville Feed Mill is just one of many solar projects for The Maschhoffs.”

News item from The Maschhoffs

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