CVTC gets donation to expand solar energy

CVTC students install the first panels of new solar array system
CVTC students install the first panels of new solar array system(WEAU)
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa Valley Technical College received money through the Couillard Solar Foundation to expand the capacity of solar energy on-campus.

The man behind the donation is Cal Couillard who graduated from CVTC in 1975.

On May 7th the first few panels of the array were installed by CVTC students with Couillard in attendance to watch. He wanted to support green energy while also supporting the school.

“We have a big job in moving away from the burning of fossil fuels and so the future for educating students is going to be at Chippewa Valley Technical College and that’s important to me,” Couillard said.

The solar array will be built with the help of students in the solar and wind applications class at the Energy Education Center.

Adam Wehling, Dean of agriculture, energy and transportation, said this addition will grow the energy produced by EEC.

“We have a lot maintenance energy that we’re using all the time, in addition to heating and cooling lights computers. We’re consuming all of that energy and that should get us to about forty percent of our annual energy consumption,” Wehling said.

The current solar array is 20 kilowatts and with the new array, they will be adding another 80 kilowatts of power.

Couillard wanted to bring the spotlight back on schools like CVTC.

‘I feel very strongly in the technical colleges and i think al of people have moved away from going to them. I know that it really helped me and my career,” Couillard said.

Wehling believes having a student return and support the system that helped them shows the impact of CVTC.

“This special project with him giving to something above and beyond to make our educational experience better, to me that’s just heartwarming to see somebody that values it,” Wehling said.

The solar panel array should be up and running by the summer of 2021.

The foundation has also donated to Memorial and North high school.

To learn more about the Couillard Solar Foundation, click here.

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