Couillard Solar Foundation will put arrays on police station roof –

Cal and Laurie Couillard’s non-profit Couillard Solar Foundation is forging ahead with a plan to install solar arrays on rooftops throughout Deerfield.

On May 13, the Deerfield Village Board approved the foundation’s plan to install solar panels on the roof of the Deerfield Police Station, 7 E. Deerfield St. Additional review and approval of specific details of the project may still be needed moving forward, Village Administrator Elizabeth McCredie said.

In an email exchange with board member Arnie Evensen, included in the May 13 board packet, Cal Couillard stressed that the police station solar equipment and installation would be — 100 percent — a gift to the village.

“It will cost the village nothing,” Couillard wrote.

That the foundation is making the donation is a key distinction, Couillard noted, separate from solar projects that went online in Deerfield early in 2019 that he and Lori Couillard say were personal gifts. Those included a 450 kw system installed on the roof of Deerfield Middle-High School and a 230 kw system installed at the village’s wastewater treatment plan on Industrial Park Road.

The building at 7 E. Deerfield Street, that long housed Deerfield’s municipal police department, has since 2007 been home to a local law enforcement presence contracted through the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

Couillard wrote that he envisions installing two solar arrays on the police station roof, with 10 modules each. “I have not seen the electrical bills from the department but believe that this size of array would go a long way toward meeting their electrical needs,” Couillard wrote.

The police station is just the start of the next push, Couillard said, writing that he envisions the foundation donating solar arrays “quickly” for the Deerfield Fire Station, village garage “and as many village locations as possible.”

The foundation, Couillard wrote, also envisions donating solar equipment for the roof of Liberty Commons, an office and retail center at 10 Liberty St., that he and Lori Couillard bought from developer Dave Dinkel in December 2018. That would include on the roof of the Deerfield Community Center that is relocating to Liberty Commons this month from its longtime space at 3 E. Deerfield St., next door to the police station.

“My goal is to turn 10 Liberty St. into a fossil fuel-free electricity facility,” Couillard wrote to Evenson, potentially also including places to park and charge electric cars.

The Couillards started the non-profit Couillard Solar Foundation in 2017 with a mission “to get as much solar generated power installed in the State of Wisconsin as we possibly can in the next five years.”

Before they sold a long-time business in Edgerton in 2018, the couple gifted a large portion of their corporate shares to the foundation, resulting in a “substantial amount,” being deposited in the foundation at the time of the sale.

The Couillards and three business partners also own a for-profit company, Speed Solar. Incorporated in 2017, it has offices in Liberty Commons and purchases solar panels wholesale to distribute to companies that install panels. The company also focuses on new designs and applications for solar panels.


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