Solar at work on Charlottesville Wellness Center roof

Solar at work on Charlottesville Wellness Center roof

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville Wellness Center on Preston Avenue is leaving quite the green footprint.

The medical office building just got 135 solar panels installed. SunDaySolar, UVA Community Credit Union, and the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) helped this vision come to life by designing and financing the project.

The new solar array will now produce 50 percent of the building’s energy needs.

02/18/2020 Release from LEAP:

A collaboration unique to Charlottesville resulted in a new 135-panel solar array being installed on the Charlottesville Wellness Center’s Preston Avenue medical office building in early February. The health professionals at the Charlottesville Wellness Center share a mission to provide holistic treatment as the norm instead of the exception. This brought them to want a clean, renewable source of energy for their building. Contributing to the design and financing of this project are SunDaySolar, UVA Community Credit Union, and the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP).

Dr. Sam Caughron of Charlottesville Wellness Center Family Practice MDVIP commented, “This new rooftop solar array ensures we are working toward a greener footprint. Our solar array will produce 50% of our building’s energy needs. The current beneficial financing made great economic sense. This is a real winner for us. We anticipate a pay back of the system’s cost in fewer than 7-years and net savings on our electricity bill of $81,000 or more over the lifespan of the system at current electric rates.”

Installed on the building’s 8 roof faces, the 44.5kW solar system will account for nearly half of its annual electricity consumption, according to SunDaySolar, the contractor for the installation. UVA Community Credit Union provided the Center with a 10-year loan, which took advantage of a rate-reduction subsidy provided by the City of Charlottesville’s Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program (CELP), administered by LEAP. The rate reduction brought the loan’s interest rate down from nearly 6% to 1.95% and cash flow positive after the first year.

“We are thrilled about this partnership and support Charlottesville Wellness Center’s commitment to clean energy,” said Ethan Dunstan, Senior Vice President of Business Banking for the Credit Union. “In addition to environmental benefits, the CELP strengthens local businesses, promotes economic development, and can lead to job creation. Borrowers can use loan proceeds for a variety of projects, including lighting upgrades, energy management controls, HVAC upgrades, and renewables.”

SunDaySolar, a local Charlottesville solar installer, noted that commercial buildings are the second-largest source of Green House Gas emissions in the City. Richard Crisler of SunDaySolar stated, “Rooftop solar installations are one important way that commercial building owners can reduce their energy-related climate pollution. Having interested building owners like the Center combined with financing solutions like those provided by UVA Community Credit Union and the Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program are essential to making progress toward the City’s climate goals.”

LEAP administers the CELP for the City of Charlottesville. All commercial buildings in the City qualify for the interest-rate subsidy program, which covers energy-efficiency upgrades as well as rooftop solar installations. With the Center’s new rooftop solar installation, the CELP has financed 8 clean-energy or energy-efficiency projects that catalyzed nearly $1.6 million of investment executed by and for local businesses over the last two years.

More information on how to utilize the Clean Energy Commercial Loan Program can be found at www.cvillegreenbiz.org or by contacting info@leap-va.org.

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