Solar Panels for Commercial Properties

Solar Panels for Commercial Properties Earn Extra Rental Income from Your Building’s Roof

Are you a commercial building owner with an empty roof?

By going solar today, it's possible to turn your unused roof space into a new source of revenue.

And it costs you nothing to get started.

At EcoVolt Solar, we will lease space on your roof for 20 years and install photovoltaic (PV) panels as a tenant-paid improvement. The tenants in your building can then purchase our rooftop-generated solar electricity and pay a lower price than electricity bought from your local utility. You don’t need to require every tenant to participate. But for those that do, you’ll be paid a 10% “percentage rent” based on EcoVolt’s electricity income.

There is no maximum dollar limit on the amount of roof rent we will pay. Moreover, if local utility prices go up every year, so will your rent payments from EcoVolt. EcoVolt Solar’s rent payments increase your building’s operating income, which increases your building’s market value. For example:

Every $10,000 of roof rent paid by EcoVolt may add $100,000 - 150,000 to your property value depending on the local “cap rate” used for valuing your real estate. In addition to your direct earnings from solar, “green” buildings can attract “green tenants” at higher rental rates. This further increases your building’s income and market value.
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What Type of Commercial Property Do You Own?

The exact terms of your EcoVolt Solar Agreement depend on what type of commercial property you own.

Let’s take a look.

Solar Panels for Commercial Properties - Multi-Tenant Apartment or Commercial Buildings with Separately Metered Suites1. Multi-Tenant Apartment or Commercial Buildings with Separately Metered Suites:

Let EcoVolt Solar lease space on your roof. We’ll install solar panels at our expense as a tenant improvement. Solar enables your tenants to reduce their electricity consumption from the local utility. They’ll get part of their electricity from the roof instead.

You will get roof rent equaling 10% of our cash receipts from the solar electricity delivered to your  tenants.

We offer you a turnkey program. Here's how it works. Interested tenants sign a lease addendum agreeing to pay you (the landlord) to receive electricity from our rooftop solar PV system. We’ll bill you for the roof’s solar production at a lower rate than you’re paying your local utility provider[1]. You can then pass on the savings to your tenants at your cost, or charge them a markup. Your call.

It doesn't matter how many of your tenants choose to go solar. You can make solar mandatory to maximize your rooftop income, or simply provide solar on an opt-in basis. Whatever you choose, we’ll size the solar system solely to benefit those who sign up for it.

EcoVolt will complete all the paperwork needed by your local utility. The utility will then spin your tenants’ meters backward based on each unit’s monthly solar allocation. Every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity they buy from you lowers the amount of electricity they buy from their local utility (on a one-for-one basis). This process occurs automatically (through a utility program called “virtual net metering”).

  • Roof Rent Terms: For every dollar we collect selling solar electricity, EcoVolt Solar will pay you 10% as a "percentage rent" for use of your roof. There is no maximum dollar limit on the amount of roof rent we will pay you. Even better, if local utility prices go up each year, so will your rental income from EcoVolt Solar!
  • What happens if one of your solar-consuming tenants moves out? Not a problem. EcoVolt Solar will not size the solar system to offset 100% of your tenants' electricity needs. In fact, we strongly recommend offsetting just 70% of the combined electricity use for your tenants who opt-in. That way, whenever units within your property are vacant, EcoVolt can simply reallocate your roof’s electricity production among the remaining tenants who’ve opted-in for solar. And when the vacancy is filled, we’ll reallocate again according to your instructions.
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2. Single-Tenant / Triple Net Buildings

If you own a portfolio of single-tenant or NNN buildings or single-family homes, you receive the same benefits outlined above, including unlimited rooftop income potential. Just lease space on your roofs to EcoVolt and allow us to upgrade your buildings with solar.

Your tenants will sign lease addendums agreeing to pay you for the electricity they receive from the roof. EcoVolt Solar will bill you for your rooftop’s electricity generation at a discount to your local utility rate[1]. You can pass on the savings to your tenants at your cost, or charge them a markup. Whatever we’re paid for the electricity we produce, we will pay you 10% as a “percentage rent” for use of your roof.

  • But what happens if one of your single-tenant buildings sits empty for a few months? If your property portfolio consists of multiple buildings, no problem. Even after the electricity cost for the vacant building, you'll still earn a positive NOI based on the earnings from the others.
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3. New Construction

If you own a commercial property that is currently under construction, you can still move forward with our Rooftop Income Agreement (RIA). We'll cover the solar installation cost, just add our solar addendum language to your basic lease document for all the tenants. 

EcoVolt’s solar construction funding supplements the equity portion of your construction budget. And the rent EcoVolt pays for your roof may support additional debt coverage.

With solar, your building will be more attractive to prospective “green” tenants who’ll pay a premium rent for buildings with solar. And by leasing roof space to EcoVolt, your building will command a higher market value based on its added rental income.

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4. Owner-Occupied Commercial Buildings

We’ll pay your cost for adding a rooftop solar array to your building. We’ll bill you at a discount to your local utility's electricity rates for the energy we supply. We’ll pay you a 10% percentage rent for use of your roof. Your building’s (and/or your company’s) income increases based on your net electricity savings.

We are the first company that makes solar pay. You benefit four times over:

  • We Install Solar at Our Expense
  • We Pay You Rent For Use of Your Roof
  • Your Company Saves Money On Its Electricity Bill
  • Your Building's Lower Operating Costs Adds to Its Implied NOI & Market Value!
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EcoVolt Solar Benefits All Commercial Property Types

No matter what, you have to buy electricity from someone. Why not get cash back on your electricity charges by letting EcoVolt upgrade your building with solar?

In All Cases, EcoVolt Provides:

  • You Bring the Building, We’ll Upgrade It On Our Nickel: Just lease your roof to us for at least 20 years or more. We’ll upgrade it with a new solar electricity system as a tenant improvement.
  • Like Getting Money For Nothing™: Every month, our solar PV system will deliver a portion of the electricity used by your building and its tenants. We’ll pay you rent equal to a straight 10% of the income we collect via the system. (Paid quarterly with $0/psf base rent.) Why not earn money based on your tenants’ electricity consumption?
  • A Win-Win:
    • For Tenants: Your building’s solar electricity is priced at a discount to local utility rates so they aren’t overpaying just to be green. Moreover, your building’s solar electricity price is indexed to float up and down annually so it keeps in sync with changes to local utility rates[1].
    • For Landlords: When was the last time your local utility dropped its electricity price? If utility rates go up every year as usual, so will your roof rent income. In fact, EcoVolt’s roof rent payments per-year would increase by over 80% over the term of our roof lease agreement if your local utility pricing grows by 3% per-year.
    • 24/7 Hassel-free Solar Electricity: We operate, service, and warrant your solar electricity system for the life of our roof lease (including extensions). We don’t make money if your system doesn’t work. So if anything breaks or performance dips, you can be sure we’ll correct the problem immediately.
  • Increased Property Value: Your building’s market value is based on its income. Every dollar of additional income, from solar for instance, or from higher “green” rents, can directly improve your building’s market value. Get the benefit of a major capital improvement without the upfront capital cost.
  • System Monitoring and Monthly Tenant Billing: With our online dashboard, both you and your tenants can monitor the solar PV system's performance at any time online. Every month, a summary statement will recap your system’s electricity charges allocated to each tenant so you can bill the tenants for their solar electricity usage as part of their rent (and/or reconcile their solar bill when computing their CAM charges). For a small fee, EcoVolt will even invoice your tenants directly for you (under your name). Just sit back and cash their checks! Every quarter thereafter, we’ll send you a quarterly rent check based on the building’s solar electricity usage less our billing cost.
  • What If My Building is More Vertical than Horizontal in Shape: Even if your building is more vertical than horizontal, why leave your roof space unrented? Your tenants will value the “green amenity” in whatever proportion it’s offered.
  • Increased Rent for Owners of Multiple Buildings / Referral Program: Work with EcoVolt Solar for every building you own. Each building earns you an added 1% in “percentage rent” (i.e., 11% percent rent for the second building, 12% for the third, and so on) up to a maximum of 15% in percentage rent on your fifth and subsequent buildings.

In addition, earn a $500 Visa gift certificate as a thank you if you refer us to other building owners who subsequently sign up for EcoVolt Solar’s roof-leasing program.

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Commercial Property FAQs

QHow Much Money Will I Earn Every Year?

Your income generation potential depends on several factors, including local utility rates and the amount of sunshine your building receives. But on average, we estimate between $0.25 and $0.40 per sq. ft. of roof space per-year. As well, you may save as much on your house meter (common area electricity cost) in some locations.

And as utility rates increase, so do your earnings. That's because we pay you a fixed percentage of our cash receipts.

We pay roof rent quarterly, net 30-days after each quarter's end.

QCan I Require My Tenants to Buy Solar Electricity?

Why not? Just add this requirement to your boilerplate commercial leasing contract.

QWill My Tenants Still Get a Local Utility Bill?

Yes. It is highly unlikely that your rooftop solar array will offset your tenant's entire utility bill. Just as they might pay two bills for TV (Netflix and a cable bill), they now pay two electricity bills (to you and to the local utility). Since our solar electricity pricing is indexed to track local utility rates, the combination of the two bills (post solar) should be roughly similar or less than their former utility bill (before solar). [1]

QHow Frequently Do You Pay Rent for Use of My Roof?

We pay rent quarterly, based on the previous quarter's solar energy cash collections.

QWhat if You Damage My Roof or My Building? What if the Solar Installation Causes Water Leaks?

In the unlikely case of roof leaks or other building damage caused by your solar installation, you're covered—not only by your installer, but by EcoVolt Solar as well—backed up by insurance from an A.M. Best A-rated insurance company.

QCan We Offer Prospective Tenants a Discount on Their Utility Rates as a Leasing Incentive?

Yes. Just factor our roof rent payments into your discounted rent offer, or apply our rent payments as a credit to your tenants' CAM charges.

QWhat if I Demolish My Building?

You can pay us to remove the solar and to reinstall it elsewhere. Or pay us the fair market value for our solar system at the time of demolition. This is no different from paying for everything else you demolish in the building (HVAC, elevator, amenities, etc.). But with solar, you only pay for the "then-current" fair market value on the date of demolition, not the full retail installation cost paid by our investors. This is actually better than your HVAC, elevator and amenities. You paid full retail price for those--only to later demolish them.  


QWhat if Your Roof Lease Ends and I Want to Extend it to Keep Earning Roof Rent?

No problem. We will automatically extend our lease and continue to pay you roof rent.

QWhat Happens if I Sell My Commercial Building?

The new building owner takes over our roof lease as is the case with all other building leases. Notify us when you sell your building so we can send rent checks to the new owner.

QDo I Still Owe You Money on Cloudy Days?

You only pay for the actual electricity per-kilowatt produced by the system. If it is cloudy, you pay us less because the system produced less.

QHow Do I Bill My Tenants?

We send you a report each month showing how much electricity was produced for each tenant. You can then bill them for the additional rent (either as a pass-through or at a markup), or you can reconcile the cost as part of their CAM charge allocation. For $5.50 per-month, per-tenant, we can invoice your tenants under your name and direct their payments to you.

QAre There Specific Credit Requirements?

Yes. Your building must have sufficient cash flow to qualify for a free solar PV system. If your firm is not an investment-grade entity, we'll need personal guarantees from the owners and/or a property lien.

QWill the Solar Panels Heat My Water as Well?

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?

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.

QWill I Need to Adapt or Change Anything about My Building?

No. Your commercial property will work just as before, and all of your tenants' equipment and appliances will perform as they always have. The only change will be the carbon savings you now enjoy and the roof rental payments you receive.

QWho Maintains the Solar PV System on My Roof?

For the entire duration of your Rooftop Income Agreement (RIA), we handle all repairs and scheduled maintenance on your behalf. Since our financing fees are based on the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity your system produces, we have a big incentive to keep your system technologically current and in tip top shape.

QCan I Get the Tax Credit Assigned to Me?

Yes. Sign a 30-Year Rooftop Income Agreement and roof lease with EcoVolt. We will adjust the economics of your deal so that you get the tax credit in your pocket, not ours. That's like getting paid an up-front signing bonus! For every million dollars we invest in your property, the government will pay you $300,000. They do this by providing you with a tax credit that offsets $300,000 of tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The tax credit can be carried forward for multiple years to wipe out future tax payments also if you can't use it all at once [2]. Please note, if you take the tax credit, EcoVolt may need to lower the amount of rent we pay you on our lease in the early years. But who cares. You got paid on the lease up-front, on day one!

QWhat If EcoVolt Solar Goes Out Of Business?

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.

QWhat is "Virtual Net Metering"?

Virtual Net Metering ("VNM") can allow residents in a multitenant building to participate in a common system on the roof of their building, sharing the electricity that is produced by the single solar electricity system. Utility customers who can share the output from a VNM project include renter-tenants, owner-tenants and common load areas owned by the property owner. By allowing a multitenant building to install a single solar electric system for the benefit of multiple tenants, it enables multiple building occupants to share the "net metering" benefits from a single solar electric system, rather than requiring distinct solar electric systems to be physically installed and connected to each building occupant's utility account. VNM is available in California and many other states.

QWhat is "Percentage Rent"?

Instead of paying a fixed rental per square-foot, the tenant shares part of their earnings with the property owner.

QWhat is a Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate)?

What is a cap rate? The capitalization rate, often just called the cap rate, is the ratio of Net Operating Income (NOI) to property asset value. It represents the percentage return an investor would receive on an all cash purchase. A Cap Rate is a fundamental concept in real estate. It can be used to determine a price/earnings multiple for valuing a property. To value a property, divide its annual net operating income by the capitalization rate. For instance, a building with a net operating income of $1 million dollars, in a market with a 6.25% cap rate, might be worth $16 million dollars. If EcoVolt's roof rent increased a building's net operating income by $10,000 per year, and the local cap rate was 6.25%, then EcoVolt added $160,000 in value to the property.

QAre the terms of your Rooftop Income Agreement Negotiable?

Unfortunately, no. Investors need standardized contract terms to support securitization.

QWhat Geographic Markets Does EcoVolt Solar Service?

EcoVolt Solar currently offers financing in select areas of California. Please contact us directly to see if you operate in one of our service regions.

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Go Green, Make Money, Attract Tenants

EcoVolt Solar is a U.S.-based company that provides long-term green solutions for you and your tenants.

Ready to turn your roof into an income-generator that reduces your carbon footprint and attracts more tenants?

Contact us today for a free solar consultation

[1] See EcoVolt’s Rooftop Income Agreement for details. 

[2] Information provided by EcoVolt Solar is not legal, tax or accounting advice. Businesses should consult their tax advisors, or other appropriate experts, concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.

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