Solarize Charlottesville

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Charlottesville Renewable Energy Revolving Loan Program

The Renewable Energy Revolving Loan Fund was established by the City of Charlottesville to provide a financing for Charlottesville businesses to install renewable energy systems coupled with energy efficiency measures. LEAP administers this program for the City.

The program’s goal is to encourage commercial property owners to invest in renewable energy by providing low interest loans to help finance renewable energy installations. Energy for these renewable systems is intended for use by the owner, although net-metering is allowed for systems that generate electricity.

Qualifying Renewable Energy Systems

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are constantly replenished and considered a non-fossil form of energy. These include sunlight, wind, biomass, geothermal heat and small hydropower.  LEAP will provide technical review and approval of systems proposed for the loan program.

Qualifying Energy Efficiency Measures

Lighting, insulation, air and duct sealing, and efficient windows are examples of measures that may be proposed for funding combined with renewable energy systems. Energy efficiency measures that are to be installed as a part of the alternative energy project to be funded through the program are limited to 20% of the total loan amount.

Borrowing Amounts and Terms

Loans are made on a first come, first served basis as money from the capital pool is available. Interest rates and amortization vary according to project details and underwriting.

Loan Application Process

LEAP accepts and processes loan applications throughout the year.  Applications are reviewed for technical and financial merit.  Approved applicants are notified and, if funds are available, loan documents are signed and funds released to the applicant.  It generally takes about 4 weeks to get funds to complete the process.  When the program receives more applicants than funds are available, a ranking process will prioritize applications based on criteria such as system reliability, return on investment, avoided fossil fuel consumption, and other public interest goals. Applications held for more than six months may require updated information but may remain active for up to a year.

Interested applicants should contact LEAP directly.


Renewable Energy Revolving Loan Fund in Action

A renewable energy loan from the City of Charlottesville’s fund helped put a solar array on the Main Street Arena, located on the downtown mall. Nothing quite like the energy from the sun being used to create ice! The $280,000 project was the first to come out of the Renewable Energy Loan Fund grant awarded to LEAP by the City.

The 68 kW Array is expected to save the popular ice skating and special event facility as much as two months off its yearly energy bill every year (or offset  the energy use of 6.63  American homes).

To view in real time the energy output from this solar array, click here.