Harvesting solar for a resource-positive future

Rachel Gerbitz
Wisconsin dairy farmer Dave Daniels says the one acre of solar panels provides nearly 80% of the farm's energy.

Dave Daniels is a partner in Mighty Grand Dairy, a dairy farm located in Kenosha, Wisconsin milking 565 cows. Alongside his team, Daniels grows and harvests 950 acres of crops to feed the herd. One acre on the farm is dedicated to a unique commodity that helps promote efficiency and cost savings.

In January 2021, Daniels installed solar panels on his farm.  

The panels at Mighty Grand Dairy reside on a small percentage of land that is not used for crop production. The acre of solar panels provides nearly 80% of the farm's energy. Daniels says it is a very productive acre.  

Daniels calls solar panels a long-term investment. 

“As a dairy farmer we are always looking to decrease our expenses. This is one way – we can harvest electricity and bring it back to the dairy farm, decrease our expenses but also capture some carbon credits in the future,” shared Daniels. 

Wisconsin farmers are growing more crops on less land. This opens less productive acres for creativity and innovation. Solar farming creates opportunities for energy independence and fuels local economies. Solar hosting farms have a reliable energy and revenue source for years to come.  

Renewable energy sources are an example of the innovation and creativity of Wisconsin farmers. Farmers and farm families continue to adopt renewable energy strategies to lower their effect on the environment and reliance on resources. 

Capturing energy from the sun is just one example of how Wisconsin farmers are innovating towards a resource-positive future.

After years of research and careful decision-making, Daniels was drawn to solar because of the ability to harvest electricity and decrease expenses. Daniels shared that the solar panels at Mighty Grand Dairy are under a 25-year warranty, but they will begin to see a return on their investment in eight to ten years.  

Solar panels are part of being regenerative at Mighty Grand Dairy. Implementing renewable energies improves the farm and leaves it better for the next generation.  

Capturing energy from the sun is just one example of how Wisconsin farmers are innovating towards a resource-positive future.  

Daniels encourages fellow farmers to do some research to find out what renewable energy source would work best on their farm. He advises to start by looking at strategies and methods to be the least energy dependent.  

Gerbitz is Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships