A city of Charlottesville-backed interest buy-down program — designed to support companies interested in building clean energy into their business plans — has supported eight programs worth $1.5 million.

The city’s Clean Energy Loan Program, in coordination with the Local Energy Alliance Program, supports solar panel installations and energy efficiency equipment by buying down the interest rate on clean-energy installation business loans.

The program, which has limited funding and operates on a first-come, first-served basis, has changed since it was first developed in 2011 as a loan program to focus on buying down interest rates for commercial loans.

The loan is available to any city business. Local solar installation companies Sun Tribe Solar, Sigora Solar and Sun Day Solar have participated in the program, as have Virginia National Bank, Pioneer Bank, Union Bank, United Bank and University of Virginia Community Credit Union.

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