By Tracy Correa Lopez
RIVERDALE — Rollin Valley Farms, south of Fresno, is a 520-acre family dairy and farming operation with more than 4,000 cows and fields of alfalfa, corn and wheat. It’s a large business that consumes a lot of energy — from lighting to pumps and refrigeration.
That’s why brothers Andy and Donny Rollin are glad to be working with PG&E on energy efficiency upgrades that are already making a difference.
“Anywhere we can be efficient and save money and save power, we wanna go there,” said Donny Rollin, co-owner of Rollin Valley Farms.
They’ve added energy-saving variable frequency drives, which allow them to adjust the flow and pressure of pumps during milking. They’ve switched to LED lighting in free-stall barns where cows are housed.
“We save energy and I haven’t changed a bulb in over a year-and-a-half,” said Andy Rollin.
All of the changes have been made possible with PG&E rebates an incentives totaling more than $10,000.
The brothers first connected with PG&E at the annual World Ag Expo, the largest gathering of the world’s ag industry in nearby Tulare. For 30 years, PG&E has had an exhibit area at the expo meeting directly with ag customers. PG&E will be at this year’s expo again Feb. 14 through16.
California’s $80 billion ag industry is a huge part of PG&E’s business.
PG&E’s Justin Witte, senior customer relationship manager in Fresno, works closely with the Rollins brothers. It’s a relationship the brothers appreciate.
“Anytime that I have a problem I call Justin and if he can’t fix it, he finds somebody that can,” said Andy Rollin.
Justin says it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
“A project like we’ve worked with, with Andy and Donny, is a win-win for the utility, for PG&E and for the customer. The customer in this case really wanted to save energy and really wanted to become more efficient with their operation,” said Witte.
The ag industry has saved more than 320 million kilowatt hours and 21 million therms of energy through PG&E energy efficiency programs and rebates since 2011. The energy saved is enough to power nearly 44,000 homes and remove the equivalent of 67,000 vehicles from the road for one year.
PG&E, committed to the ag industry that helps feed America.
Email Tracy Correa Lopez at Tracy.Correa@pge.com.