Lancaster County meat producer installs solar grid

Ioannis Pashakis//May 29, 2019

Lancaster County meat producer installs solar grid

Ioannis Pashakis//May 29, 2019

Stoltzfus Meats’ Leacock Township, Lancaster County sausage and smoked meats processing facility powered on its solar grid this month. (Photo: Submitted)

Stoltzfus Meats in Leacock Township, Lancaster County finished installing a solar grid on the roof of its production facility this month.

The family-owned sausage and smoked meats processor decided to build the grid and change a portion of its energy use to solar after receiving a $60,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development in 2018.

The company expects to recover the cost of the 68.64-kilowatt solar system not covered by the grant in six years, according to Nate Hershey, project and facilities manager at Stoltzfus.

The cost of the grid was not disclosed.

The company also received a 30 percent solar investment tax credit from the federal government and tax savings on depreciation. The tax credit allows the company to deduct 30 percent of the system’s cost from its federal taxes.

“We felt great about that payback period, especially given the additional non-monetary benefits,” Hershey said. “A less quantifiable but key benefit is the opportunity to switch some of our energy use to a renewable source.”

The grid was purchased from and installed by Paradise Township-based Paradise Energy Solutions.

Construction of the project took two weeks and the system began operating on May 3. According to Paradise Energy, the system is expected to offset 50.7 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Sara Gambone, a spokesperson for Paradise Energy, said the company has seen growing interest in solar energy across Central Pennsylvania from manufacturers, businesses and homeowners.

“The price of installing solar is decreasing while the price of electricity from utilities is increasing,” she said. “That, coupled with the federal solar incentive tax credit, depreciation and other incentives, makes 2019 a good year to go solar.”