FAQs


Have questions about solar or our services? Find an answer below or click here to contact us.

Financing

QWhat is an RIA and How is it Different Than a PPA?
A

EcoVolt is the only company to offer an RIA, or Rooftop Income Agreement™. It is an agreement that pegs solar electricity pricing so that it tracks your local utility rates. This lowers the risk you would otherwise face if you purchased solar with cash or via other types of financing. (See EcoVolt's RIA contract for details.)

Unlike with EcoVolt, a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, is a contract that locks you into a preset price schedule for electricity for many years. If the future electricity price in your PPA is favorable vs. future utility rates, you win. If the future electricity price in your PPA is unfavorable vs. future utility rates, you lose. If you lose, your property is stuck paying above-market utility rates, potentially for 20 years into the future. In addition, losing on your PPA gamble can make your property more difficult to sell. And it may cost you money paid out of escrow when the property is sold.

By comparison, EcoVolt's Rooftop Income Agreement should add value to your home when you sell based on a lower cost of ownership plus payments each year for use of your roof!


QHow Much Does It Cost to Go Solar with EcoVolt?
A

You pay nothing upfront to get started. We'll install a solar PV system on your roof for at our expense. Once the contract begins, you pay for all the clean electricity generated by your panels. Your utility company will provide you with whatever additional power your property needs.


QIs a Down Payment Required?
A

No. But if you do provide a down payment, we'll charge you lower solar electricity prices and/or offer you larger cash-back payments. The only reason you'd face any up-front expense is if you need a new roof or upgraded electrical for your home to accept solar.


QWhy a 20-Year Agreement?
A

We need enough time to earn a fair return on our investment from selling energy. If the roof lease term was shorter, we would need to increase the cost of your electricity or lower your roof rent percentage.


QDo I Qualify for EcoVolt's "Get Paid to Go Solar" Program?
A

You must live in an area where we offer our program. We want you to have part of your roof be generally south-facing. Also, you should have an electricity bill averaging at least $125 per month.

You must have good credit. To qualify your credit, we look at information on your credit history and your capacity to continue paying your current electricity bills. The following factors may be among those involved in our credit decision:

  • Is your credit score 700 or higher?
  • What is the length of your credit history?
  • What is your recent and past credit activity
  • Are you a US Citizen?
  • Any derogatory information on your credit report?

Depending on the information on your credit report and application, we might be able to prequalify you instantly. Sometimes we require some additional documentation to finalize our decision (such as a pay stub or other income verification).


Getting Started

QWhat Is Solar Net Metering?
A

With net metering (sometimes referred to as "net energy metering"), solar customers are allowed to sell excess clean electricity to their local utility company—usually in exchange for credits.

  • When your panels generate more power than you can use, your electricity meter runs backward.
  • When the sun goes down, you purchase all of your power from the utility grid, and the electricity meter runs forward.

At the end of the billing cycle, you only pay for the "net" difference in energy bought and sold. For a detailed description of net metering in your location, speak to your current electric utility provider.


QWhat Is Virtual Net Metering?
A

Virtual net metering ("VNM") allows tenants in a multi-unit property to participate in a shared solar installation that they might not own.

The green electricity produced from the shared system helps to offset the utility bills of everyone who opts-in to use it. Whether you are a renter-tenant or owner-tenant, VNM makes it possible to share the benefits of "net metering" among multiple building cohabitants.


QIs My Property a Good Fit for Solar?
A

Provided that your building receives enough direct sunlight and has sufficient roof space (at least 400 sq. ft. or more), going solar is a great investment. You don't need to adapt your house to make it capable of using solar electricity.

Once you schedule a free consultation with us, we'll be able to tell you how much utility power your installation will offset. And don't forget that going solar with us generates cash payments for use of your roof.


QWhat If My Roof Receives a Lot of Shading?
A

Shade from nearby trees and buildings will reduce the total amount of electricity your solar PV system produces. However, our solar design team will position your panels to maximize their exposure to the sun. If we don't think that your roof receives enough direct sunlight, we won't recommend moving forward with a solar installation.


QIs My Current Roof Suitable for Solar?
A

Usually yes. However, if your roof is more than 15 years old, in poor condition, or made from brittle materials like slate or ceramic tiles, re-roofing may be required.

Once installed, your solar panels will last for decades. To avoid having to remove or reinstall your panels, it's best to install solar on a roof that is fairly new and in good condition.

To find out if your current roof is suitable, please contact us.


QHow Much Roof Space Do I Need to Qualify for Solar?
A

Answering this depends on your property's total electricity consumption and the amount of direct sunlight your roof receives. If your monthly utility statements are relatively low or if your roof gets a lot of sun, you don't need as many panels to offset your electricity spending.

In other words, going solar can still be a great investment—even if you have very limited available roof space.

If your roof is 400 square feet or larger, schedule a free consultation with our solar team today. We'll let you know if installing PV panels make sense for your property.


QWho Is EcoVolt Solar?
A

EcoVolt Solar is a company that owns solar panels and sells the electricity we harvest from them. We specialize in rooftop solar installations for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal properties. We were founded in 2014.


QHow Does Solar Electricity Work?
A

The sun's energy is absorbed by the solar panels on your roof and converted into electricity. This electricity from the panels, is a form of electricity called "direct current" (DC). DC must be converted into "alternating current" (AC) electricity that you currently use in your home. This AC/DC conversion is performed by a component called an inverter, which we include with your system. The inverter then sends the AC power either to your home or to the electricity grid.

The power your solar system generates is a direct result of sunlight that hits the panels. Some homes are more optimally oriented for solar than others. They get more direct sunlight during the year and produce more energy per square inch. Your solar panels will not likely produce all the electricity you use for your home. Therefore, your home will stay connected to your local utility grid. You can automatically draw power from the grid whenever you need it. You won't experience any power interruptions. The switch between solar system power and the utility grid happens seamlessly, with nothing to do on your end.

The US Department of Energy has posted a video explaining how solar works. Click here to learn more about the conversion from sunlight to electricity.


Solar Installation

QWhat If I Don't Like the Way Solar Panels Look on My Roof?
A

You might not like the way solar panels look. But with EcoVolt Solar, your bank account certainly will.


QWhat If I Have To Replace My Roof?
A

If a complete roof replacement is necessary, we will remove your solar panels before roof repairs begin and reinstall them once the roof has been replaced.

Provided that you extend your EcoVolt Solar RIA for another 20-year term, we will provide this service 100% free of charge. And depending on the age of your installation, we may even upgrade your system with the latest solar panel technology during the reinstallation process.

If you choose not to renew your RIA agreement, we will remove and reinstall your solar panels for a fee. (Currently $499.)


QDo I Need Batteries for My Building?
A

No. Your solar power panels are connected to the grid. When the sun goes down, your building automatically draws electricity from the grid.


QWill the Solar Panels Heat My Water As Well?
A

No, your PV system generates electricity only. Your panels cannot be used for pools or hot water heaters. However, you can upgrade your HVAC system and furnace to run on electricity instead of natural gas.


QHow Much Power Can My Panels Generate Per Square Foot?
A

The solar modules we use produce about 14 to 17 watts per square foot. A good rule of thumb is that 65-70 square-feet of roof space will generate about a kilowatt of electricity per hour. Although it's possible to use solar panels with higher efficiency rates, the price-per-watt rises considerably. We use PV modules that balance cost and output to deliver optimal electricity generation from your roof.


After Installation

QHow Do I Pay for My Solar Electricity?
A

EcoVolt Solar will periodically send you bills for the solar electricity our system produces. We require autopay by credit card or bank transfer.


QWill I Still Get Bills From the Local Utility?
A

Yes, you will get a bill from your local utility for the net amount of electricity they provide (for instance, at night or when you use more than your solar system provides). However, your future utility bill will be lower because your property has a solar system installed [1]. Just as you might pay two bills for TV (Netflix and a cable bill), you now pay two electricity bills (to EcoVolt Solar, and also to the local utility). However, we can simplify your life by signing you up for autopay via ACH, credit or debit card.


QHow Does My Solar Electricity Price Change Every Year?
A

EcoVolt Solar monitors changes in your utility's rates and turns those calculations into a local utility price index ("Local Index"). On the first of every year, EcoVolt Solar compares the current value of the Local Index with the previous year's index value. Your solar electricity rate goes up or down—based on percentage changes in the Local Index. (See your RIA contract for details.)


QWho Maintains the Solar PV System on My Roof?
A

For the entire duration of your RIA contract, we handle all repairs and scheduled maintenance on your behalf. EcoVolt installs monitoring equipment as part of your solar installation. This equipment monitors the performance of your solar in real time throughout the day, every day of the year 24/7/365 If there is ever a fault with your system, we are sent an alert so we can take corrective action. Remember, EcoVolt is paid based on the electricity your rooftop produces. We are very motivated to maintain your system in top condition so it performs at its best. We are even motivated to upgrade it periodically if that provides more income to you and to us.


QWhat About Technology Obsolescence?
A

Our financing fees are based on the kilowatt-hours of electricity you consume from the solar equipment. If newer technology can supply more of your electricity needs profitably, we have every incentive to upgrade you. It is in our interest to do so.

When we upgrade your solar, you benefit two ways:

  • You get even more 100% green solar electricity when we upgrade your solar.
  • You get even more rooftop income—If we earn more, you earn more.

QWhat Happens in the Event of a Blackout?
A

Most solar PV systems are designed to automatically shut down during grid failures. This prevents the panels from feeding power into the grid as a safety measure for utility employees who must repair your power lines.

If your property requires 24/7 uninterrupted power, you'll need to invest in on-site storage (i.e. batteries) at your own cost. Alternatively, you can request a solar PV system that is able to "island" —or disconnect from the grid for an upfront cost.


QWhat If My Roof Begins to Leak?
A

Any leaks caused by your solar PV installation will be immediately corrected by us at no charge to you. (See your RIA contract for details.)  In addition to your installer's roof warranty, we warrant your roof against leaks for five years. Our warranty is backed by insurance issued by an AM Best "A-rated" insurance company. 


QWhat Happens at Night or on Cloudy Days?
A

Solar PV panels generate the most electricity when they receive direct sunlight. This means power output dips on cloudy days and drops to zero once the sun goes down.

However, your property will still be connected to the utility grid. And your building will automatically—and seamlessly—draw electricity from the grid whenever necessary. This means that you won't experience power interruptions due to your solar.


QWhat Happens When It Rains, Snows, Sleets, or Hails?
A

Solar panels are very durable, so rarely will you have to worry about damage from bad weather. (And if there's a problem, our insurance will cover it.) Solar performance may dip during heavy precipitation, but as long as the sun is shining, your panels will continue generating clean electricity.

Snow accumulation may reduce your system's performance to zero. But because we install your panels on the sunniest portions of the roof, that snow should melt relatively quickly. You can also clear off the snow to speed up this process. Moreover, we factor in your region's average annual snowfall when we estimate your system's projected energy production.


QHow Long Do Solar PV Systems Last?
A

Solar panels typically come with 25-year warranties, and the secondary components in your system also come with manufacturer warranties ranging from 10 to 15 years. But a well-maintained system can continue generating clean electricity for 30 years or longer. EcoVolt Solar maintains your system for the full contract term. We replace and upgrade components at our cost when they wear out. This maximizes your solar income (and ours).


QWhat Happens If the Solar Inverter or PV Panels Break?
A

EcoVolt Solar monitors your system 24/7/365. If we ever notice a problem, we will contact you promptly and dispatch a repair team if necessary. EcoVolt Solar will perform all equipment repairs and maintenance at no cost to you. Remember, if you're not receiving any electricity from the system, we're not getting paid! So we are very motivated to fix your system quickly.


QWho Insures the Solar PV System?
A

EcoVolt Finance insures the system with an A.M. Best A-rated insurance company.


How I Get Paid

QWho Receives the Solar Incentives and Tax Credits?
A

The investors who finance your free installation receive all state and federal solar incentives. You can request that these incentives come directly to you, but this will change the pricing we charge and the cash-back rebates you receive.


QHow Frequently Do You Pay Roof Rent?
A

We pay rent annually to homeowners, based on the previous year's solar energy cash collections.


My Contract With EcoVolt

QIs EcoVolt Solar selling electricity?
A

No, EcoVolt Solar is just financing the solar electricity installation on your property that was installed and sold by a licensed installer. We are charging you a fee for use of the equipment based on a price per kilowatt-hour that adjusts in reference to a local utility price index. (See your RIA contract for details.)

 



QWho Owns My Solar PV System?
A

We partner with institutional and private investors, pension funds, and corporate stakeholders to finance your solar installation. They own the system. EcoVolt Solar operates and maintains the solar system for your benefit on their behalf.


QWhat Is the Shortest Contract You Offer?
A

Our investors pay out-of-pocket to upgrade your property with solar electricity. They also make annual payments directly to you for use of your roof. In order to offer these benefits, they need a 20-year (or longer) promise that you or your successors will purchase the electricity their system generates. You have the option of buying the system from our investors at regular intervals as specified in your RIA contract. If you eventually decide to buy the system, you'll only pay the "then-current" fair market value on the date of your purchase, not the full installation cost paid by our investors when your system was constructed. In this way, your use of EcoVolt's financing lets you "try before you buy" without financial penalty.


QIs There Any Limitation on How Much My Solar Price Floats Up or Down?
A

Yes. There is a minimum price "floor" below which your energy price can't drop. We display this minimum price floor prominently on the front page of your RIA contract. The minimum price "floor" is set at a lower price than what you'll pay per-kilowatt-hour at the start of your RIA contract. Since local utility prices typically rise over time, and because the floor price is set low to start, we would be surprised if anyone ever experienced their pricing floor. Moreover, if utility prices rise over time, the likelihood of them dropping down to the floor becomes increasingly remote. But a minimum price "floor" is required so we can persuade investors to upgrade your property at their expense in exchange for your promise of future payments. Even if your RIA pricing is at the lowest price available according to your RIA, you will still receive a 10% cash back payment based on our electricity income.


QWhat Happens When My Rooftop Income Agreement (RIA) Ends?
A

Once your RIA contract ends, you can either renew your agreement; have the system removed from your property (free of charge); or purchase the system at a price equal to its "then-current" fair market value. If you renew your RIA agreement, you'll continue to receive 10% cash back payments from EcoVolt Solar every year.


QIs There a Price Escalator in My Solar Electricity Contract?
A

No. Unlike other "no money down" offers, our solar contracts do not carry mandatory price escalators. The rate you pay for solar electricity is directly tied to local utility prices. When grid prices go up, so do your solar electricity rates. And when grid prices go down, your solar rates also go down. [1] For details, see your RIA.


QIs the Rooftop Income Agreement a variable rate or a fixed rate?
A

The RIA contract is a variable rate agreement that follows your applicable Utility Price Index. We think this lowers your risk because our RIA pricing tracks the pricing you might otherwise pay to your local electric utility. (See your RIA contract for details.)

By comparison, a fixed-rate contract contracts, like PPAs, bind you to pay specific future energy prices. They let you gamble that you'll get a good deal into the future. If you bet wrong, you must still pay your contract price regardless. Signing up for a PPA may be risky unless you are expert at forecasting future energy prices.


QCan I Buy the Solar PV System Before the Contract Ends?
A

Yes. After 5 years— and at specified intervals thereafter—you can buy out the remaining portion of the contract and own the PV system outright. In addition, subsequent property owners can buy the system themselves. (See your RIA contract for details.) On the fence about solar?  This is a way to "Try Before You Buy!"  

When we sell you your system, you'll only pay its "then-current" fair market value on the date of your purchase; never the full installation cost we paid for your system when it was constructed. In this way, you get a no-risk try-before-you-buy option that can save you money.


QCan I cancel the RIA contract? Are there any fees for cancellation?
A

Yes, you can cancel the contract shortly after signing as covered by law. (See your RIA contract for Details.) Thereafter, you can cancel the contract by purchasing the solar system from EcoVolt and its investors. The rules about when you can make a purchase are detailed in your RIA. There are no penalties or fees if you choose to buy the system. You will only be charged the "then-current" fair market value for the system.


QHow Can a New Property Buyer Take over My Contract?
A

Subsequent property buyers can sign an EcoVolt Transfer Agreement and assume all of the rights and obligations under the original terms of your RIA Contract. See your RIA contract for details on system transfers.


QWho Provides a Warranty on the Solar?
A

You benefit from both your installer's warranty and from ours. EcoVolt's fees are based on the kilowatt-hours of electricity you consume from the solar equipment. If the system isn't delivering electricity, you pay nothing to us. So you know we'll honor our warranty commitment. It is how we get paid.


QWhat If EcoVolt Solar Goes Out Of Business?
A

Under the terms of your RIA agreement, your solar installer and our financing partners will continue to honor all warranty and insurance obligations. The solar PV system owners have a vested interest in keeping the panels operational so they can continue earning income from your electricity payments.


 

[1] See EcoVolt’s Rooftop Income Agreement™ (RIA™) for all the details on how our electricity pricing stays in line with local utility rates, and for important details on our cash back offer. All EcoVolt pricing is subject to a minimum price floor specified in each RIA Contract.

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