The Couillard Family Foundation recently installed donated solar panels at the Shelter from the Storm Ministries (SFTSM) facility in Sun Prairie. The new panels will result in SFTSM saving money and operating more efficiently, according to SFTSM Executive Director Tami Fleming. The project was completed in early August 2020. “The collaboration of the project at no cost to the Shelter was a great success, from the Couillard Foundation to the workers themselves, absolutely amazing!” Fleming added.
The Couillard Solar Foundation (CSF) strives to promote the expansion of solar energy in Wisconsin’s great state. The foundation partners with RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good initiative and MREA’s Solar on Schools program to award grant-funding and solar panels. Solar for Good fosters the expansion of solar power among mission-based nonprofits like SFTSM. The support of renewable energy projects ensures that when Wisconsin goes solar, we all benefit.
The Couillard Solar Foundation aims to spread the message that solar energy is green environmentally, but it is financially as well. “Renewable energy is the future. Together, we can lead Wisconsin ‘forward’ by cultivating energy independence using solar, encouraging job security for Wisconsinites with solar energy jobs, and by slowing the detrimental impacts of burning fossil fuels,” said Elise Couillard, a Couillard Solar Foundation board member.
The panels will produce approximately 16,700 kWh of power annually, meaning almost half (43%) of SFTSM’s energy consumption will be produced by the solar panel system. Fleming estimated the savings in the first year could be more than $2,000. The new systems come with 12-25 year warranties which usually prove to be efficient and require little to no maintenance. “We decided to go solar to reduce our energy bills and to focus more of our resources on programming,” said Fleming.
The bifacial solar panels and the system installation by All Sky Energy LLC were entirely free to SFTSM, Fleming said. “We’re really excited about the project, not only for the environment and the conservation aspect but ultimately, the financial savings are really impressive, too,” Tami said.