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Zoltenko Farms: A G-Max Success Story

Posted By: Schletter Inc. on March 20, 2018

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Zoltenko Farms Inc. is a family-owned and operated commercial boar stud company located in Courtland, Kansas. This hog farm was founded in 1917 and morphed into the boar stud business in 1998. Owned by James and Sherryl Zoltenko, this 1200 head multi-site operation is run by their son and partner, Lannin Zoltenko.

Farms like Zoltenko need a lot of energy to run at capacity, and that’s where Big Dog Solar—with the help of Schletter—recently came in.

An ambitious Big Dog Solar Project was designed to end power brownouts experienced by the farm. Schletter was pleased to provide its innovative racking solution to the project to ensure the whole thing become operational in mere weeks. Today, most of the electricity the Zoltenko company uses on their farm is produced by an agricultural solar energy system.


The Right Racking System Saves Time

“We had used Schletter on a 480 KW System install in Oregon about five years ago,” explains Kenneth Pfannenstiel of Big Dog Solar. “This project consisted of four separate systems. There were 1,164 GCL 325 Solar Panels with Fronius three-phase and single-phase inverters. Total capacity is 378.3 KW.”

Ramming the posts with the GAYK Hydraulic Ram distributed by Schletter was a huge time saver for the Big Dog Solar team. The biggest reduction in time involved setting the post for the system. It takes competitors an excessive amount of time to install posts because they need to drill each individual hole and set the post in concrete. However, using the GAYK to install Schletter’s ground mount speeds up installation time by 75%.

Agricultural Solar Energy Offers a Fast ROI

The Zoltenko Farms project included four separately metered systems that produced 325 watts apiece. The project build time ended up being 4-5 weeks, which was made much faster by the use of the Schletter G-Max Ground Mounting System. The project started in September 2017, the parts were delivered in December, and the whole system was operational by January 8, 2018.

Farming operations like Zoltenko can save a lot of money with agricultural solar energy systems. In this case, the expected return on investment should be just under 7 years, and the remaining life of the system will then provide an additional 18 years of cost savings. Considering the Federal tax incentives, extremely low maintenance, and the reliability of the sun’s power, a photovoltaic energy array is an ideal solution. The project is also expected to improve the condition of the power for the customer. Zoltenko Farms is at the end of a long feeder and experienced brownouts in the summer months. Big Dog Solar worked with the local utility to use this installation to help mitigate the effects they’ve been experiencing from brownouts.

A Successful Project, A Happy Customer

Ultimately, the project was a success, noted Pfannenstiel, because the customer is happy with the installation and Big Dog Solar was able to install everything in one-fourth of the time it would have taken to do a typical foundation ground mount installation. G-Max is extremely quick and innovative compared to other racking system options.

Check out G-Max online to watch install videos and see just how easy it is. If you want to learn more about G-Max installation and site workflows, register for our 4/4/18 webinar at 2 pm ET. Additionally, you can reduce post-installation time just like Big Dog Energy, and save on GAYK HRE 4000. Purchase for $99K through March 30, including free shipping within the United States and you will get the first set of maintenance filters for free, a $1000 value.

Contact the team at Schletter today to learn more about G-Max and GAYK, a winning combination.

“G-Max was really quick to install and it allowed for a streamline installation that saved time and money. Schletter makes the best ground mount for mid- to large-scale installations that we have found, and is very knowledgeable when it comes to design and installation of their system.”
- Kenneth Pfannenstiel

Project Information

  • Installer: Big Dog Energy
  • Distributor: AEE Solar
  • Project: Zoltenko Solar Farm
  • Location: Courtland, KS
  • System: G-Max Ground Mount System by Schletter
  • Ram Post: GAYK HRE 4000 Hydraulic Ram
  • Project Size: 378.3 kW
  • Project Kickoff: September 2017
  • Project Completion: January 8, 2018
  • Modules: 1,164 GCL 325 Solar Panels
  • Inverters: Fronius three-phase and single-phase inverters
  • Benefits: GAYK speeds up post installation by 75%. G-Max allows for quick installation and saves time and money. Mitigates brownouts for Zoltenko Farms.
  • ROI: Just under 7 years, and the remaining life of the system will then provide an additional 18 years of cost savings.

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