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Kenosha farm looks to the future with solar energy

Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 16, 2016

Large solar panels soak up the sun outside the Jerry Smith Produce and Pumpkin Farm in Kenosha.

"The reason we put these two big arrays here up front is so that people see them and ask questions," said Kreuser Electric president and CEO Walter Kreuser.

There are also solar panels on the produce building.

"It allows all those fun things that I am trying to make sure everybody has, all those fun times they have when they come here run off solar," said the farm's director of fun Beth Dankert.

Dankert said planning for alternative energy began about two years ago with wind turbines. "I spent the first winter trying to find ways to do it, a person to do it, prices on how expensive it was and I really didn't get that far."

Then someone suggested solar.

"We went from considering a small solar tracker out by our pond to really becoming a business that can operate 110% of our electrical needs off solar," Dankert added.

The whole process took about half a year with help from Focus on Energy.

"It becomes extremely cost-effective, especially if you're able to do energy-efficient upgrades in conjunction with renewable energy projects," said Andrea Hansen, director of marketing and communications for Focus on Energy.

Kreuser said the solar panels allow the farm to offer an array of activities at a fraction of the cost. "They had zero percent financing on a portion of it but their payment for the zero percent is less than their electric bill."

Get more information about alternative energy here.