Two native Kansans are manufacturing a state-of-the-art farm facility on very little land. By building solar-powered greenhouses, the pair hope to revolutionize farming – and technology – in Kansas. In addition to growing all types of fruits and vegetables for local consumption, these solar-powered greenhouses will build up energy to power a 5G data center, bringing fast-speed internet to rural Kansas.
"It’s the first of its kind," said David Hinson, an electrical engineer and president of TSO Greenhouses. TSO is working with Kansas Freedom Farms to build these properties. These solar-powered greenhouses are in the construction phase on an 11-acre property in rural Marquette. By next summer, they plan to erect a larger campus in McPherson and then expand to western Kansas by 2025, increasing to 12 locations statewide, including Topeka.
"If something can grow outdoors, it can grow indoors," said Lenny Geist, who is the CEO of Kansas Freedom Farms, the organization in charge of this project. "It just depends on how well you do it, and will it be profitable."
Geist and Hinson, along with investors, will produce hydroponic produce, herbs and feed for animals in greenhouses designed by Hinson. Hinson, a native of Winfield, has designed and manufactured solar panels for decades. He realized by manipulating the way these panels operate, he can maintain plants in optimal sunlight, control temperatures, help the environment and create a way to harvest energy.