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LaFontaine Automotive Group installs largest solar array in Midwest

February 3rd, 2020 | By Roger Kuznia

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TROY, Mich. – LaFontaine Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Fenton announced today it has completed the installation of the largest array of solar panels on any dealership in the Midwest as part of an ongoing strategy to increase its green initiatives.

Sized at 150 kilowatts, the 428 panels – installed through a partnership with Pink Energy – produces nearly 180,000 kWh annually and is expected to reduce the dealership’s electric need by 60 percent in its first year.

“My mom, Maureen LaFontaine, was a true pioneer in terms of our dealerships focusing on green initiatives,” said Ryan LaFontaine, chief operating officer, LaFontaine Automotive Group. “Being better stewards of the environment makes great business sense. Our sustainability efforts have had a positive impact on our bottom line, our workplace culture and our customers.”

The nearly 38,000 square-foot LaFontaine CDJR Fenton dealership was the second CDJR dealership in the nation and the first in Michigan to incorporate Fiat Chrysler America’s new design and technology. The LaFontaine family invested heavily on the sustainability aspects of the dealership, building on best practices learned in the construction of their existing LEED-certified dealerships. The best green practices used during the build of the LaFontaine CDJR Fenton dealership include:

  • Additional roof insulation equal to R-38
  • White solar reflective roof
  • All LED lighting, interior and exterior, with advanced control systems
  • High recycled content in 90% of building materials
  • Waste stream management
  • High-efficiency HVAC system and controls, occupancy controls and timers with Wi-Fi system controls and monitoring
  • Low flow and measured fixtures for water efficiency
  • Sourced materials regionally when possible

“We applaud the green investments undertaken by the LaFontaine family,” said FCA U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland. “Their efforts are an example for the entire automotive industry as we all work to improve and protect our environment.”

A recent McKinsey paper stated dealers need drastic business-model changes in the approaching age of autonomous, electric and shared vehicles. These changes include reducing operating costs through improved efficiency.

“The fact that LaFontaine will own a majority of their power at their Fenton location says a lot about how much they believe in the value of solar,” said Jayson Waller, CEO of Pink Energy. “LaFontaine already is a leader in the U.S. auto industry, and adding renewable energy will further position the dealership as environmentally conscious.”

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