In late December 2019, Viking Masek flipped a big switch.
With that, their US headquarters in Oostburg, WI began officially generating power from the sun.
Their new state-of-the-art rooftop solar array generates 239.76 kW of energy with 648 solar panels, saving enough electricity each year to power 28 homes!
The journey to solar power
Admittedly, Viking Masek did not come to the idea of powering their business with solar on their own. After being approached by solar energy company Arch Electric in early 2018, company leadership began testing and feasibility studies. They soon realized an investment in a solar array would be largely beneficial: For the community, for the environment, and for their bottom line.
In August of 2019, contracts were finalized and installation of the rooftop array began. A few short months later, Viking Masek was ready to go live.
A prudent business decision
So why solar? Viking Masek’s executive vice president, Robb Leonhard, answers: “An investment in modern solar power was a decision we collaboratively chose to pursue to fulfill our energy needs here at Viking.” And not only is it a forward-thinking decision for the business, but solar helps the community at large. “There will be many days when Viking will produce more energy than we utilize and this energy goes to the grid. This is a win-win for everyone.”
In addition to environmental and community benefits, the decision to invest in solar energy was a no-brainer for the company's bottom line. Viking Masek’s COO Ty Weinhold explains: “The electricity generated from the array will reduce our monthly energy bills by thousands of dollars, and on days when we generate more power than we use, the surplus will be sold back to the energy utility provider.”
Government programs and initiatives also helped make the solar array more affordable by offsetting some of the project costs. Thanks to a Focus on Energy RECIP grant, funding through the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and tax incentives, Viking's out-of-pocket costs for the solar array were substantially reduced, shortening the return on investment period considerably.
"We expect the solar array to fully pay for itself in 2 - 3 years," comments Weinhold.
An investment for the future
Investing in solar energy also makes sense from a recruiting standpoint. With Sheboygan County being a top destination for young professionals, local employers are focusing more on offering unique benefits that attract emerging generations.
The Millennial and Gen Z workforce value modern innovations like sustainability and renewable energy, often looking for a values match between themselves and potential employers. "We're currently ramping up our recruitment efforts in a very competitive landscape, and the solar array differentiates us as an innovative employer in the eyes of potential hires," comments Weinhold.
Director of Sales Bryan Lacy agrees. “As a young and growing company, we are always looking for ways to challenge the status quo. As the rest of the world moves forward, packaging equipment manufacturers often hold tight to safe, established technologies. For us, committing to renewable energy is just another way to bring modern technological innovations to an established industry."