Hanford dairy pursues sustainability

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Producing more milk wasn't the only goal for a Hanford dairy. Medeiros and Son Dairy was also ready to produce more power in its bid for environmental sustainability.

The challenge has always been to keep 2500 cows comfortable in the Valley heat. Sprinklers and fans have ensured the cows remain productive on Brian Mederios' Hanford dairy.

Medeiros explained, "That's really what the end goal is making sure they're happy because when they're happy I'm happy."

Power bills can run $110,000 a month so Medeiros sought more bang for his energy buck. Posts were pounded into the ground to build a one megawatt solar energy farm. It will produce enough energy to power 500 homes.

Medeiros said, "Our whole idea was let's make ourselves more sustainable. Let's not be so dependent on fossil fuels."

The CalCom Solar system will include tracking technology.

Director of field operations Travis Somers said, "The solar panels will sit on the tracking system and follow the sun east to west throughout the day."

The 27-year old Medeiros actually left the dairy to attend Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. "The idea was let's go get some schooling and try something else and while I was there I learned a lot about business."

Brian came back with a different perspective on how to keep the family business going. Water sprayed to cool the cows is re-used to irrigate the crops while manure is turned into fertilizer. The family fallowed 60% of their 1400 acres because of the drought but the solar project will keep the dairy running.

Medeiros said, "It's a part of our business that I can say I know I'm getting a return on."

Brian figured the two million dollar system will pay for itself in 4 1/2 years.

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