Flipping the Switch to Sustainable Energy, U.S. Pork Producer Maschhoffs Commission Solar Array to Power Key Feed Mill

GRIGGSVILLE, Illinois (October 25, 2022) – – A hardy group of guests will brave brisk southern Illinois prairie winds on Thursday, October 27, when The Maschhoffs celebrates the completion of a 3.06-megawatt solar array at their Griggsville feed mill. The ribbon-cutting, speeches, lunch, and tours will mark the completion of an intense, three-year journey to secure reliable, more affordable energy to power the mill, which plays a critical role in the multi-state pork-producing agribusiness.

“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 CEO Jim Shaw credits The Maschhoffs with their vision and the Illinois Power Agency’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.”

About The Maschhoffs® – Progressive Farming. Family Style.
The Maschhoffs, LLC, is a hog production company headquartered in Carlyle, Illinois. The company has over 100 years of hog production experience and is one of the largest family-owned hog producer networks in North America, with 150,000 sows and market hog production sites in six states. The company has nearly 1,000 employees who, along with nearly 500 independent farms, focus on creating environmentally and economically sustainable hog production systems. Each year, the company raises enough hogs to provide pork to more than 14 million consumer households.  Learn more.

About Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE)
AGE is an energy management and solutions company, managing over 950 gigawatts of power and 300,000 therms of natural gas across nearly 70,000 residential households and thousands of small commercial and industrial customers as part of large commercial buying groups and government community aggregation programs. AGE’s focus is on economic benefits first and foremost, while maintaining a focus on sustainable energy solutions. Learn more.

About Solential Energy
Founded in 2009, Solential Energy is a comprehensive energy strategy firm that provides customizable solutions, leveraging insights gained from detailed energy audits and energy use analytics. Our suite of capabilities includes solar energy, battery storage, co-generation, microgrids, floatovoltaics, and comprehensive building infrastructure improvements. Solential is focused on serving the agriculture, correctional facilities, local governments, education, manufacturing, and water and wastewater processing industries. The company’s consultative approach to energy efficiency, affordability, and sustainability leads to collaborative partnerships with positive long-term impact. Learn more.