Waseda Farms plugs into solar power
Waseda Farms has created a unique footprint in Northeast Wisconsin the last 10 years by turning organic farming into healthy consumption of beef, pork, poultry and eggs at the table. Its forward-thinking team has taken its sustainability-infused process for breeding animals and producing wholesome food a step further.
This summer, Waseda Farms added a solar-power system.
The cows, pigs and chickens share the pastures at the Door County farm with over 140 solar panels. The recent activation of the vast solar array is expected to generate considerable savings in use of and cost for electricity while augmenting its signature production of certified organic food through environmentally centered practices.
Jeff Lutsey, chief engineer and farm administrator at Waseda Farms, said he and his family who own and operate the 1,000-acre farm have been exploring the addition of solar energy for several years. His parents, Sharon and Tom Lutsey, started the farm in 2008.
“Solar power is in line with our greater mission to raise animals and grow and deliver food in the most sustainable way possible,” Lutsey said. “Through a lot of research, we found that utilizing renewable energy from the sun is the best way available for us to do that. And the more energy we can utilize that comes from green sources, as opposed to finite Earth resources like coal and natural gas, the more sustainable we can be.”
Lutsey says the new system, which features five rows of 29 solar panels that each measure 6 feet by 3 feet, will cover about 50 percent of the energy use on-site. The estimated monthly energy savings are 3,500 to 7,000 kilowatt hours, which translates to a cost savings of $300-$600 per month. “The solar power that is produced will reduce our power draw from our electrical grid, resulting in reduced coal and natural-gas consumption at the farm by 30 tons per year and reduced carbon-dioxide gas emitted by 75 tons per year,” Lutsey said.
“The solar-panel array is the gift that keeps on giving — to our farm and to the earth. It will serve as a constant reminder to us at the farm to always be as conscientious as we can with energy use,” added Lutsey, a mechanical engineer by trade who brought a unique perspective and skill set when he returned to Door County in 2015 to reunite with family and help direct day-to-day operations on the farm.
Waseda Farms has two retail locations, one on the farm in Baileys Harbor and another market in downtown De Pere.
Jeff Lutsey is the chief engineer and farm administrator at Waseda Farms. Contributed photo.