Walt Shafer, a leader in Virginia’s farming community and one of the leaders responsible for Costco’s recently announced chicken complex in Nebraska, has made a personal investment in solar energy, and he hired Sigora Solar to install a large system on his own home and poultry farm.

Already considered one of the most innovative poultry farmers in the nation, Shafer’s investment shows his personal and professional commitment to the belief that clean energy is the future of the farming industry. The photovoltaic system is now operational.

“Walt Shafer is clearly recognized when it comes to the use of technology and poultry farming. His investment in solar sends a clear signal to the agribusiness industry that clean energy makes good environmental and business sense,” said Logan Landry, Sigora Solar’s CEO. “Walt’s leading the way as the owner of one of Virginia’s largest agribusiness solar energy production units. We’re confident that those who follow his renewable energy lead will take an important step to the kind of business success Walt Shafer enjoys. We’re proud to call him a customer.”

Shafer was recognized by Costco because of his success as a poultry farm executive, and for his clean practices and focus on processing technology. Located outside of Harrisonburg, Shafer’s Willow Oaks Farm produces more than 800,000 chicken broilers per year with 170,000 square feet of chicken housing.

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“I’m a fan of innovation. This is a significant personal investment and I believe solar energy makes good business sense for any kind of farm,” Shafer said. “This new system by Sigora Solar is a great start. I’m looking forward to the savings the system provides my farm, and family.

Sigora Solar installed 504 solar modules on the Shafer property. A 171kW system on Shafer’s poultry houses will produce the same amount of electricity as 17 homes. It will offset 100 percent of his lighting and climate control energy costs, while reducing 157 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. It’s also the equivalent of 185 acres of forest CO2 sequestration. The 10kW system on his house will dramatically lower his personal utility bills.

In recent years, Shafer worked with chicken complexes whose farms were recognized by the US Poultry & Egg Association’s Family Farm Excellence Award for environmental achievements.

Shafer’s farm joins other recent Virginia agribusiness solar investments with Sigora including the Rockbridge Vineyard and Glass House Winery.