Frankferd Farms Foods

Location: Saxonburg, PA
Grant: $19,500
Technology: Solar


A 2011 REAP grant of $19,500 helped T. Lyle and Betty Ferderber install their second solar electric system at Frankferd Farms Foods, a regional wholesale and retail organic food distributor.

Earlier that year, Frankferd Farms Foods completed a solar project to power their farm, farmhouse and what they believe to be the world’s first solar-powered flour mill. It didn’t take long for them to pursue their second solar project. “Our first two weeks of experience were so rewarding, we said ‘we’re going to go for it again,’” T. Lyle said.

With a REAP grant reducing the cost by 25%, they added a second solar array: a 16.1 kW, American-made system that powers the walk-in coolers and freezers, lighting and computers in their warehouse. The system reduces their monthly electricity bills by about 20%.

T. Lyle says he believes installing renewable energy systems helps demystify them to the public. “We’re here to say we can do this. It works. And if more people understood that, we could slowly but surely lessen our impact on the environment as a culture and society,” he said.

He sees their solar arrays as cost-effective, long-term investments that contribute to greater American security and energy independence, but T. Lyle said the sense of pride he gets from having the systems is of equal benefit.

“There’s a certain amount of peace of mind that comes with creating something of your own that benefits not only you, but the immediate area around you,” he said. “We lessen the impact of energy on all of our neighbors, and we do it in a very clean way.”