Renewable Energy: Solar
The potential for solar power generation is great in Charlottesville. Plus, Charlottesville has local programs and a property tax credit incentive to help make installing solar power more cost-effective.
- Solar Tax Credits: The City of Charlottesville offers a tax credit for property owners who install a solar energy system (Solar PV and/or Solar Thermal).
- Applying for a Permit to Install Solar: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations need to apply for an electrical permit. Solar Thermal installations need to apply for a mechanical permit. Applications and information can found through the Department of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) Building Permits and Inspections.
- Financing Assistance Programs: Charlottesville, in partnership with LEAP and the UVA Community Credit Union, offers loans at interest rates as low at 0%. Residential properties are eligible for a PowerSaver Loan and commercial/non-profit properties for the Clean Energy Loan Fund. More information about both of these programs can be found on the Green Incentives and Rebates webpage.
How Much Power Does Solar PV Really Generate in Charlottesville?
The City of Charlottesville has been installing solar PV systems on its facilities and tracking the energy generation. Historical energy production, and the ratio of kWh/kW, are published on our CitySolar webpage.
Are There Locally-Based Solar Installers?
Yes there are. The solar industry has been established and growing in the Charlottesville area for over 10 years. City-based and regional companies service our area.
CitySolar: Solar Power on City Buildings
The City of Charlottesville began installing solar PV systems on its buildings around 2010 and has subsequently commitment CIP funding to continue installing more. Information on each of our solar PV systems, and the amount of energy they produce, is available online at CitySolar.
Solarize Charlottesville & Solar Co-Ops
Installing Solar at Affordable Prices - Solarize and group-buy programs have been growing around the country due to their success at helping residents install solar PV systems easily and at a good price. The first Solarize Charlottesville program was in 2014 and saw tremendous success. By nature, Solarize and Solar Co-Op programs negotiate discounted pricing for a limited time and are not guaranteed to be offered again in the future, making them possibly the last best price for solar. Programs such as Solarize Charlottesville and the Solar Co-Op have been offered in Charlottesville area by non-profits and have begun to also integrate electric vehicle charging options into their offerings as of 2019.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells by scientists, convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV gets its name from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect. Learn more from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Solar PV can be installed on rooftops or on ground mounted/free standing structures. Typically for rooftops, the panels can be installed flush with the roof surface, reducing the visible profile of the panels.
Solar thermal systems use the sun to heat either water or a heat-transfer fluid in the collector, which is then used to provide hot water for a home or building. Learn more from the U.S. Department of Energy.