Support

We’re always happy to talk solar.

We’ll answer any questions you might have, and make sure your experience with us is the best it can be. Reach out via your preferred medium, and we’ll do our best to get back to you at the speed of (sun)light.

 

FAQs

Community Solar – General

How big is a community solar farm?

That depends on the utility rules and regulations in your state. For example, a community solar farm in Massachusetts can be up to 2 megawatts (MW) covering about 10 acres. This translates to enough solar energy to power about 400 single-family homes. Some states allow for even bigger farms.

How much energy should I purchase?

We’ll analyze your electric bill to determine your energy usage and how much solar power you’ll need annually.

Take an average home, which runs on about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. To meet your electricity needs if you’re a homeowner, you would need a community solar share from roughly 6 to 10 kilowatts (kW), which would generate from 7,000-11,000 kWh annually. If you’re an apartment dweller, you would need a slightly smaller share.

What is virtual net metering, and why does it matter to me?

Let’s start with how net metering works. If you install solar panels on your roof, and they produce more energy than you use in a month, that unused energy flows back into the electrical grid. Your utility would then pay you back for this excess energy, most often in the form of credits on your utility bill.

Virtual net metering works roughly the same way. But instead of tracking the energy produced by solar panels on your rooftop, your utility tracks your share of the energy produced by your community solar farm, and then applies credits to your bill.

How do I know if community solar is available in my area?

Click here to see if community solar is available near you—so you can share in the savings.

Community Solar – Accounts & Billing

How does billing work?

  1. Set up your account on the BlueWave Member Portal: Once you sign your Community Solar Share Agreement, we’ll send you instructions on how to set up your account on the BlueWave Member Portal. Once inside the portal, you’ll be able to select your preferred billing method and enter your payment account details. Currently, your payment options include:

    • Manual ACH
    • Auto ACH
  2. On your new BlueWave bill: Your BlueWave bill will be delivered to you electronically at the end of each month. If you select the Auto-ACH option, your BlueWave bill amount will be automatically paid from your bank account each month. If you select a manual payment option, you will be able to pay your bill online via the BlueWave Member Portal.
  3. Inside the BlueWave Member Portal: Log in, and you can view your account balance, pay your bill manually, or download past statements–all of which will be saved inside the portal.

When will I see savings?

Credits will start to appear on your utility bill after your community solar farm starts producing electricity. You’ll get a notification email from us when your farm goes online, but you can also log in to the BlueWave Member Portal for an update on the status of your local farm.

Where will virtual net metering show up on my bill?

  1. On your utility bill: When your community solar farm starts producing electricity, you’ll start to receive two energy bills—one from us and one from your utility with a dollar-for-dollar credit for your share of the solar farm’s power. Here’s the essence: If you normally pay 10 cents per kWh for electricity from your utility, you will receive a credit of 10 cents for each kWh of solar produced. This credit will offset all or most of your electric bill—in other words, you may owe a nice $0.00 to your utility. Keep in mind that you’ll likely see a surplus of credits in the summer (when there’s more sunlight to go around) and fewer credits in the winter. Here’s a sample utility bill.
  2. BlueWave bill: You will then be billed for the share of power you used from the community solar farm. Combined, your utility bill credit and your BlueWave Community Solar Share bill will be less than you’re currently paying for electricity. Here’s a sample BlueWave bill.

Home Solar Loan

Is the loan application binding?

Submitting a loan application is completely non-binding—it just gives us permission to check your credit for loan approval. Once you’ve been approved, the final loan agreement is binding with your signature.

What documents do I need to prove my income?

Providing your most recent tax return is the easiest way for us to verify your income. Alternatively, we also accept pay stubs and W-2 forms as proof of income.

Can I co-sign for a BlueWave loan?

Yes, we offer you the option to co-sign for a BlueWave Home Solar Loan.

I selected to open an Avidia checking account to lower my interest rate by 25 basis points. How do I open that account?

To take advantage of this special promotion through our partner bank Avidia, please click here.

I’ve signed up for an Avidia checking account. When does the lower interest rate get applied to my loan?

The 25 basis-point reduction is applied to your account retroactively (FYI: one basis point equals 0.01%, so 25 basis points equals one-fourth of a percent, or 0.25%). Once you select the ACH option to make loan payments from your new Avidia checking account, we will adjust your interest rate accordingly.

What are the credit requirements* for BlueWave Home Solar Loan approval?

You must meet one of these criteria to qualify for approval:

  • FICO score of 700+
  • Debt-to-income ratio (including loan payment) of 50% or lower

What is the payment structure for the BlueWave Home Solar Loan?

Here’s how payment works:

  • You don’t start making payments until your solar panels are hooked up and converting sunlight into electricity. For this to happen, your installer will receive a Permission to Operate (PTO) notice from your local utility.
  • Once your system receives a PTO, we open a billing account for you and the loan’s 12-month interest-only period begins. You start making payments against the interest rate for your loan.
  • After 12 months, your payments go toward both the principal and interest owed.

How can I use my Investment Tax Credit (ITC) toward my loan?

You can use your Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to buy down your outstanding principal at any time. There are two options:

  1. If you buy down your loan with your ITC during the interest-only period, we will lower your interest-only monthly payments.
  2. If you buy down your loan with your ITC during the principal-plus-interest payment period, we will readjust (re-amortize) your loan to give you the lowest monthly loan payment for the remainder of the loan term.

Who is Avidia Bank?

Avidia Bank is our solar loan partner, and provides state-of-the-art electronic banking capabilities to businesses and consumers across central Massachusetts and beyond through online access and full-service branches. Avidia Bank is a $1.2 billion mutual bank, headquartered in Hudson, MA with branches in Hudson, Westborough, Clinton, Leominster, Marlborough, Northborough and Shrewsbury.

How does billing work?

You tell us how you want to pay at sign-up: When you’ve signed your BlueWave Home Solar Loan Agreement, our billing partner will send you information about how to set up your account and make your monthly payments.

On your utility bill: You will continue to receive a bill from your utility, but when your rooftop solar panels start producing electricity, you will see a noticeable decrease in what you pay for electricity.

On your BlueWave loan statement: Your home solar loan statement will be delivered to you each month. If you selected the Auto-ACH option, your monthly payment will be automatically deducted from your selected account. If you picked a manual payment option, you will be able to pay your bill online. Here’s an example of what your BlueWave bill will look like.

Home Solar Loan – Massachusetts

How much money will I get for my Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)?

BlueWave takes your Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to market for you and sells them based on the pricing option you select. You can choose from the following SREC options:

  1. Market Value: BlueWave sells your SRECs for their current quarterly market value. Right now the market value for one SREC is approximately $275, but this price could rise or fall.* We charge a 5% handling fee plus $10 per SREC for this option.
  2. Fixed Strip: BlueWave guarantees you a price of $150 per SREC for a period of 10 years.

*Be advised that we do not know the future of the SREC program, and there is a chance that the current SREC value could fluctuate either up or down, dependent on market conditions.

How long will I receive my SREC revenue?

You will receive SREC revenue for the lifetime of your home solar loan agreement—a 10-year period. Even if you pay off your loan sooner than that, you will still receive checks for your SRECs.

When 10 years are up, your system will produce regular Class I Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the next 20 years. RECs are generally worth less than SRECs, but still translate into solar savings for you.

If your loan is paid off in full after the term is up (10 years), you may reassign your RECs to a new SREC manager. However, as long as there is an outstanding balance on your loan, you are required to use BlueWave as your SREC aggregator.

What is the payment schedule for SRECs?

Here’s how the SREC payment schedule works:

  1. As soon as your solar system starts generating electricity, your electricity production is automatically sent to the state’s Solar Production Tracking System (PTS).
  2. At the end of each quarter, the PTS reports the amount of electricity your system generated and how many SRECs you earned. This tells us how many SRECs we will be able to sell on your behalf—so we can tell you.
  3. After a state-mandated delay between your PTS report being issued and your SRECs minted, we will sell your certificates for you and send you an earnings check. We currently send SREC checks by mail, but we we’ll soon be able to offer payments via direct deposit so you can track your savings—and earnings—on the BlueWave Member Portal.
  4. The SREC payment schedule looks like this:
    • Q1 (January-March) SRECs are paid on or around September 1
    • Q2 (April-June) SRECs are paid on or around December 1
    • Q3 (July-September) SRECs are paid on or around March 1
    • Q4 (October-December) SRECs are paid on or around June 1

Home Solar Loan – Massachusetts DOER

What is the payment structure for the Massachusetts home solar loan?

Here’s how payment works:

  • When your installer starts to install your system, we’ll open a billing account for you and you’ll only pay interest on 35% of the total amount financed through us. When your solar system is hooked up and producing electricity, full principal-plus-interest payments are due.
  • Income-based loan support (IBLS) is issued to qualifying customers. If you qualify for support, a 20% or 30% loan principal buy-down (based on income class) from MassCEC will be reflected on your billing account roughly one month after your system starts operating, so MassCEC can send the registered lenders (Avidia and BlueWave) the check for this loan support.

What are the requirements for credit approval for the Massachusetts home solar loan?

You must meet these criteria to qualify for a Massachusetts home solar loan through BlueWave:

  • FICO score of 681+
  • Debt-to-income (including loan payment) of 50% or lower

What are the other benefits of choosing the Massachusetts home solar loan through BlueWave?

  • All-digital sign up: We make it painless to sign up for the Massachusetts loan through our secure online Solar Management Platform. With qualified credit, you’ll get quick (and often same-day) approval. And because we use DocuSign for loan approvals, the process of submitting your loan agreement is easy—there’s no back and forth with us, your bank, or your installer.
  • Worry-free system support: We guarantee that you will receive solar system service and maintenance for the life of your loan. This will be provided by your installer or through BlueWave and our Massachusetts service partner, Radian Gen.
  • End-to-end service: We’ll take care of your SREC management for you so all you’ll see is additional savings. We also have a team of solar finance experts at the ready to provide you with knowledgeable support and answers to all your loan questions.

Home Solar Loan – Installer

By signing a contract with BlueWave, do I enter an exclusive sales partnership?

No—the BlueWave installer agreement does not have an exclusivity clause. We hope you recommend our loan but don’t require you to.

Do I need to come to BlueWave’s headquarters to process loan materials?

Nope—we’re all digital. All documents are emailed via DocuSign, and processed as they come in. A customer contract can be completed within 30 minutes, provided the customer has provided all of his or her required loan application documents.