Part of the LEAP family

Solar Dream Comes True with Commercial Clean Energy Loan Program

When Richard Crisler saw a new roof going on the warehouse next door to his firm, SunDay Solar, on River Road, he thought like any good solar installer would, “Wow, that roof is perfect for solar.”

The building owner at the time was not receptive and Richard waited a whole year after MS Events moved in before approaching the building’s new owner, Steve Sudduth with the details about going solar.

“With their business settled and obviously doing great, I approached Steve with a proposal including the opportunity for a loan from the Charlottesville Commercial Clean Energy Loan Program. A day later, after reviewing the numbers, Steve gave me the green light. MS Events was in!” said Richard.

The loan program was created in 2011 by the City of Charlottesville in partnership with the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) to offer businesses an incentive to invest in renewable energy projects and energy efficiency. Businesses in the City of Charlottesville can apply for loans with interest rates as low as 0% APR with terms of up to 10 years for a variety of energy improvements such as solar PV systems, insulation, new HVAC systems, appliances, and more.

Steve didn’t think with the new investment of buying and remodeling their own building, that solar would be within reach for MS Events in 2017. After learning about the Commercial Clean Energy Loan Program, he realized it was affordable.

“With the favorable loan terms and the federal and local tax credits we will realize positive cash flow right away – this was a no brainer for our company,” he said.

The new 49kW photovoltaic system is one of the first PV system installations under the reinvigorated program. This system is expected to produce 65,500 kWh of electricity a year, enough to power seven average Charlottesville households and provide about 85% of MS Events’ total electrical needs. This is the equivalent of the carbon sequestration capability of 52 acres of forest or 48,000 pounds of coal unburned each year.

MS Events owner, Steve Sudduth saw the solar system as a natural fit to his business, “As an event rental company we already are environmentally friendly by providing wash and reuse products for special occasions, which keeps disposable plates and glasses out of our landfills. Now that we have added the solar panels we can use energy from the sun to run the equipment to wash and pack our products. We are proud to make such a positive impact on our environment!”

Richard and his team loved the project for many reasons – the great view from atop the building, the convenience of working next door, and most of all, the satisfaction of helping their neighbor become another Charlottesville solar-powered business.

“By utilizing all the tools available to us, we were able to help MS Events realize their dreams and make clean solar energy generation a brilliant business decision. That is a great feeling,” said Richard.

Visit cvillegreenbiz.org to learn more about the Charlottesville Commercial Clean Energy Loan Program, see a list of eligible improvements (It’s not just solar; insulation, LED lighting, EnergyStar appliances and more all qualify!) and get started on the loan application process.

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