Renewable Energy: Solar
Charlottesville is well located to generate electricity through solar power. Plus, a number of renewable energy companies are located in Charlottesville, providing local jobs and the availability for solar installations. Additionally, Charlottesville has local programs and a property tax credit incentive to help make installing solar power more cost-effective.
How Much Energy Could I Produce with a Rooftop Solar PV System?
To get a sense of how much solar power potential exists on rooftops in Charlottesville, explore the interactive map below. Rooftop areas shown in red have the most solar power potential. Click on a property to see more details about annual power potential and electric bill savings. View the Charlottesville Map of Solar Rooftop Potential - Data Documentation slide deck to learn how the map and its calculations were developed.
- 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.
Are There Locally-Based Solar Installers?
Yes there are. The solar industry has been growing in the Charlottesville area over the past 5 years. City-based and regional companies service our area. In addition, there community campaigns sometimes available, usually offered by non-profit organizations, that aim to help residents and businesses as they consider and move forward with installing solar.
Installing Solar at Affordable Prices. Solarize 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 programs and discounts are offered for a limited time and are not guaranteed to be offered again the next year, making them possibly the last best price for solar. The City of Charlottesville has partnered on offering Solarize Charlottesville campaigns, including the 2021 campaign available through June 30, 2021. Learn more at the Solarize Charlottesville website.
CitySolar: Solar Power on City Buildings
The City of Charlottesville began installing solar PV systems on its buildings around 2010. Information on each of our solar PV systems, and the amount of energy they produce, is available on our CitySolar webpages.
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.