Rising energy costs pushed an American feed
producer to go solar. The Maschhoffs announced that its main feed mill adopted
solar energy to meet electricity needs.
“In 2019, we were facing an incredible dilemma,” recounts The Maschhoffs’ Vice President of Support Operations Gerry Daignault. “Griggsville is our main feed facility, processing 350,000 tons of grain each year to feed more than 25 percent of the company’s pigs each year. The mill is one of the company’s most energy intensive operations, and rising energy costs were something we could not absorb and remain profitable—and that was before 2022 when energy costs really took off. We needed to do something.”
The Maschhoffs tasked energy consultant Jeff Haarmann, managing partner of Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE), who has advised The Maschhoffs on energy matters for years, and Indiana-based Solential Energy with finding a solution. After months of due diligence and energy modeling, renewable solar energy was deemed to be the best path forward. The determining factor came down to federal and state incentives. One program in particular, Illinois Shines, provided financial incentives in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that compensate solar array owners for each unit of energy produced and sold back to the state.
Solential Energy determined the solar project would offset about 56 percent of the Griggsville Mill’s energy consumption, with projected first year energy savings of $320,000. With the Illinois Shines Program’s SREC incentives, the annual financial impact will increase to about $700,000. With federal tax credits and depreciation, Solential anticipates the array will pay for itself in roughly five years – and have another 25 to 35 years of energy generation to power the Maschhoffs’ mill.
Ken Maschhoff serves as Chairman for the family-owned business that spans six Midwestern states. “The family and the leadership team reviewed AIG’s and Solential’ s energy strategy carefully. We were pleased to see that generating our own renewable energy onsite at the Griggsville Feed Mill would provide the reliable, affordable energy we needed for our operations. It also supported our corporate commitment to adopting more sustainable practices such as solar energy that reflect modern agriculture and also what consumers want from companies producing the world’s food.”
The Maschhoffs broke ground on the Griggsville solar array located on 11 acres adjacent to the mill in mid-May 2022. Solential and mechanical subcontractor A to Z Solar completed the installation of 6,800 ground-mounted, fixed-tilt solar panels on October 21. BK Electric and Illinois Electric Cooperative oversaw the grid connection.
Commenting on the project, Solential Sales Director Corey Miller credits The Maschhoffs with their vision and the Illinois Power Authority’s Illinois Shines Program’s SREC incentives for the success of the project. “Rising energy costs are challenging everyone these days. Fortunately for The Maschhoffs, they were ahead of the curve by committing to this project three years ago with help from Illinois Shines. With the commissioning of their solar array, The Maschhoffs can focus on their core business of being one of America’s top pork producers, enjoy greater control over energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.”