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Solar and Sustainability at the Wooden Nickel Pub & Farm

The Wooden Nickel Pub was founded in 2003 in downtown Hillsborough, NC.  Over the years, the pub has made sustainability and supporting the local community a huge priority. The main goal for the pub is to serve its guests the highest quality products while remaining a casual joint that is affordable to all.

After years of buying most of the pub’s meat from local farmers, the establishment decided to integrate a farming operation into their business model so that they could control costs and develop the highest quality products for the chefs to work their magic with. This led to the creation of Wooden Nickel Farms in 2015 which now supplies almost 100% of the beef, pork, and lamb to the pub.

In continuing the goal of making their operations as environmentally friendly as possible, they planned several steps. The first step on the farm was to build topsoil and regenerate neglected pastures and woodlands.  At the pub and on the farm, the owner established and has been running a composting program for years, which has dramatically reduced the waste that would otherwise be contributing to landfills.  A huge bonus for this step was being able to recover some of that composted material to spread on pastures and help rebuild that soil that makes healthy, happy grasses and animals.  This step has been a slow process without using chemical fertilizers, but 8 years in they are seeing the results come to fruition.  Healthier native grasses and water retention are noticeable signs that things are working.

Running a farming operation also requires quite a bit of electricity as you can imagine. For step two, they started replacing gas and diesel power for their walk-in freezer and refrigeration processes with rechargeable, battery-powered tools and farm vehicles.

“Thanks to our friends at Yes Solar, Wooden Nickel Farms is now generating a lot of that power right here on the farm to run those compressors and charge the batteries through solar energy. Yes Solar also installed 3 Tesla Powerwalls that seamlessly switch on during the frequent power outages we experience out here in the country.  Losing power, and therefore refrigeration, in the past has cost us thousands of dollars in thawed-out meat that unfortunately ended up in the landfill.  The Powerwalls have given us peace of mind that our freezers and refrigeration will keep the products we work so hard to produce safe, and our business up and running even during extended power outages,” said Matthew Fox, owner of the Wooden Nickel Pub and Farm.

The Wooden Nickel Farm has a 19.2 kW solar system with 3 Tesla Powerwalls. The system produces an estimated 20148 kWh/year.


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