Q: What are Savenia Solar Ratings?

A: The Savenia Solar Rating System is an independent, 3rd party online rating service that helps home sellers and solar installers capture and communicate the full value of solar systems to prospective buyers. Savenia provides Solar Rating Labels and marketing materials so solar home sellers can differentiate their homes, sell faster and capture more value.

Q: Why is Savenia a good partner to rate my home solar system?

A: Savenia has been independently testing and rating residential appliances, electronics and home efficiency upgrades since 2009. Savenia invented first of their kind efficiency ratings and rating labels for many appliance categories, and Savenia rating labels have been used by millions of shoppers in retail stores, in enterprise and with home sellers across the country. Savenia has won many awards including two from the US Department of Energy SunShot Catalyst Program for our Solar Ratings. Other awards include Company of The Year from the State of Maryland Technology Development Corporation, Entrepreneur of the Year by the Maryland Clean Energy Center and ‘Best for Environment’ by the non-profit B Lab.

Q: How do I get a solar system rated by Savenia?

A: You can use our FREE solar system online calculator here: http://saveniahome.com/freemium/. When you’re ready to sell your solar home, you can get a Verified Rating to differentiate your home, sell faster, and capture more value here: http://saveniahome.com/easy-home-rater/. All you have to do is send Savenia information on your home solar system including lease or purchase documentation and actual power production data. After confirmation, Savenia provides a Solar Rating Label and other materials for use in marketing the home. For solar installers, Savenia provides pre-production and post-production ratings to show the potential value that solar adds to the home.

Q: What does the label show buyers?

A: Savenia Solar Rating Labels provide solar production value, operating costs, system earnings and environmental benefits. They also provide information on system size and how the system was financed. Solar Ratings are based on estimated system earning potential minus expenses based on conservative future energy price estimates. Ratings = Gold (45%+), Silver (30%+) Bronze (5%+) and Green (<5%) return on production in addition to environmental benefits. Green rated systems have primarily environmental benefits. See an example here.

Q: What’s the difference between the Free Solar System Value Calculator and the Savenia Solar Rating (Verified Rating)?

A: The Free Solar System Value Calculator is based on broad assumptions over the next 15 years. The Savenia Verified Rating extends the analysis over 25 years; tailored to your specific system features including lease rates, contract terms and conditions, warranties, buy-out clauses, electricity price increase rates, dynamic SREC income, and other important aspects. The Verified Rating package comes with Savenia’s independent, 3rd party Solar Rating Labels, reports and marketing materials you can use to promote the value of your solar home.

Q: Why does the Verified Rating get extended to 25 years?

A: Savenia extends the valuation period from 15 years to 25 years to align with prevailing appraisal methods. This often results in higher valuations compared with the free calculator.

Q: How much does a rating cost?    TOP )

A: Our ratings come in two packages. For homes that have at least 12 months of solar production data, the rating costs $275. For homes with new installations (those with less than 12 months of solar production data), the rating is $345 and comes with a free second rating once the system has produced energy for 12 months.

Q: When will I receive my Savenia Solar Rating?

A: Please allow up to 2 business days from submission of all necessary documentation for Savenia to review your documents and prepare your rating.

Q: Why do sellers use Savenia to rate their solar systems?

A: The short answer: Sellers use the Savenia service to differentiate their home, sell faster and capture more value.

The longer answer: Home buyers are highly interested in homes with low utility costs, leading professional home sellers and builders to increasingly promoting energy efficiency claims on listings and other advertisements. Solar can add lots of value to a home, including low utility bills, sustainable living, and enhanced home price. But up to now it’s been very hard to quantify and communicate this to potential buyers. Since Realtors and appraisers are not yet fully trained and solar financing options have become more complicated, the media has reported increased difficulty selling solar homes. Savenia Solar Ratings solve this problem with a quick and easy service that helps sellers communicate the efficiency features of a house so they can differentiate, sell faster, and capture the full value of homes for sale. At the same time Savenia helps buyers understand more about what’s inside the home. Savenia Ratings can help buyers make more informed decisions while moving forward on sustainability.

Q: Why do Solar Installers Use Savenia Solar Ratings?

A: Solar system buyers often receive multiple quotes from installers including different assumptions that can be confusing. Savenia provides an independent, 3rd party perspective on the value a proposed system could bring to the home at resale. It builds confidence in your solar proposal and provides a valuable bonus to the homeowner that lasts into the future. Buyers value this information to help them make better decisions, ask the right questions, and move forward on sustainability.

Q: What marketing materials are available for home sellers and solar installers to use?

A: For Home Sellers

  • Listing on Savenia website.
  • Savenia Solar Rating Label, which can be displayed in the home and online.
  • Savenia Ownership, Repair & Usage History Report
  • Posters, pamphlets and other materials explaining the benefits of solar to prospective homebuyers at open houses and showings.
  • Digital materials to incorporate into social media and e-marketing platforms.
  • SEO and social media support.

   For Solar Installers:

  • Pre-Production Solar Rating Label to show new solar customers the potential value to the home of a proposed solar installation.
  • 12 Months Post Installation: Savenia Solar Rating Label, which can be displayed in the home and online and used in the sale of the home.
  • Listing on Savenia website.
  • Savenia Ownership, Repair & Usage History Report
  • Posters, pamphlets and other materials explaining the benefits of solar to prospective homebuyers at open houses and showings.
  • Digital materials to incorporate into social media and e-marketing platforms.
  • SEO and social media support.

Q: Why do homebuyers look for the Savenia Rating?

A: Homebuyers are highly interested in home utility costs, and are willing to pay a premium for homes that save money each year. Many home listings now feature energy efficiency as a key selling point. But up to now this has been very difficult to quantify in dollars. Savenia provides a first-of-its-kind information tool for homebuyers, helping them quantify, value and understand the efficiency upgrades in a home. Buyers value this information to help them make better decisions, ask the right questions, and identify homes to live sustainably.

Q: Why don’t you need to know my lease terms in the Free Solar System Value Calculator?

 A: Savenia makes broad assumptions about average lease terms so that we can quickly give an approximate valuation for your leased system. Lease terms vary widely and to get the most accurate calculations, Get Verified today.

Q: don’t live in the United States. Can you rate my solar system?     TOP )

A: Savenia currently only supports solar installations in the United States (all 50 states plus Washington, DC), but has plans to expand in the future. Keep checking our website for the latest updates or sign up for our newsletter here: http://saveniahome.com/rated-homes/.

Q: How accurate are Savenia Solar Ratings?

A: Savenia always uses the best available data to estimate the energy and environmental ratings from the system technical information, lease or purchase documents and past performance. Results are customized by zip code region so local energy prices and CO2 emissions are on each label. Savenia also conforms to accepted solar valuation methodologies.

Q: How are the ratings calculated?

A: Savenia uses our large proprietary energy efficiency and environmental impact databases to produce solar ratings that calculate system energy production value, operating costs, earnings and installation value as well as environmental impact. Information is tailored by zip code region.

For Lifetime Energy Production Value, Savenia calculates estimated system electricity generation and multiplies this by local electricity cost forecasts in current dollars for both aggressive and conservative future utility price increase scenarios. We also add forecasted incentive payments such as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) if applicable.

For Lifetime Operating Costs, Savenia calculates system running costs for a potential future home buyer such as lease, conveyed loan, or maintenance fees.

For System Earnings, Savenia subtracts operating costs from energy production revenue.

For Installation Value, Savenia uses the manufacturers’ suggested retail price or estimates the market price of the rated product selection (or reasonable replacement) contained in the home, and discounts these based on age.

For Environmental Impact, Savenia calculates the CO2 emissions avoided from power plants that produce electricity as a result of the solar system. This data is tailored to the home zip region.

Q: How do Savenia Solar Home Ratings differ from other Solar Ratings?

A: Traditional solar ratings have ignored leased systems and exclude incentive payments therefore excluding the majority of US solar systems. They have also lacked consumer friendly communications to explain the benefits of solar. Savenia provides a quick, affordable, and zip code based solution to quantifying and communicating the value of home solar.

Q: Is the system value a number I can add to my home’s listing price? Is this the same as an appraisal? Can appraisers use my Savenia Rating?

A: Savenia Ratings are not an appraisal and should not be used in this way.

For owned solar systems, the Appraisal Institute provides a method for inclusion of solar into the appraisal process. The Savenia rating method returns undiscounted results that are in line with this method, and adds SREC income if applicable. This can be a helpful reference for appraisers in addition to other documents and processes they may use to assess the home.

For leased systems, even though many have significant monetary (in addition to environmental) value, most appraisers are reticent to consider these because major mortgage lenders don’t finance leasehold improvements – assets not owned by the homeowner and therefore out of their reach in case of default. The irony is that many leased solar systems can produce enough savings to pay off a good part of the mortgage payments, therefore reducing the lender risk.  Fortunately, the value of solar can impact many aspects of the selling process, including generating more interest in the home and helping to sell faster. The key is to promote the positive benefits of the system so potential buyers can understand the value. And this is where Savenia Solar Ratings can help.

Q: Why does Savenia include Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) income in its ratings?

A: SRECs are large financial instruments, mandated in law by state legislatures and funded by ratepayers in 8 states. In 2015, the SREC market in the United States generated about $500 million in extra revenue for solar system owners, representing a significant income generator for hundreds of thousands of homeowners. Multi-billion dollar companies like Solar City and Vivint also count on this funding source to finance solar leases, and they plan their market penetration strategies around these revenue streams. While banks and rating agencies take their own views on including SREC income in solar system valuations, Savenia has built proprietary models for each state estimating future conservative and aggressive SREC income potential. These calculations are updated regularly to give users of Savenia Solar ratings the full picture of the potential earnings of solar over the estimated lifetime of their systems.

Q: Why does the Verified Rating expire in 6 months?

A: As the solar market is constantly changing, Savenia Solar Ratings need to be refreshed on a regular basis. We allow our ratings to be used for 6 months in order to provide an easy way for homeowners to promote and sell their solar homes. Constantly changing electricity prices, incentives, system ages, utility charges, and other factors make longer expiration dates unwise.

Q: Why can’t I have my system rated if it’s less than 2.5 kW?    TOP )

A: Savenia sets a lower limit of 2.5 kW on system size in order to give confidence to a homebuyer that the Savenia rated system will significantly impact their utility costs.

Q: Does Savenia cover Whole Home Ratings?

A: As of today, Savenia covers solar photovoltaic systems. We are expanding to cover other categories and plan to release these in the near future.

Q: How does Savenia confirm the data?

A: Savenia follows a rigorous and transparent process to ensure the data sent to Savenia is accurate. Savenia uses 3 systems, self-declaration, verification and disclosure to manage the addition of data to our system by sellers and installers. To use the Savenia Solar Rating, users must declare that the data they put into the system is accurate. In addition, Savenia employs a rigorous verification system consisting of confirmed documentation and / or unannounced audits of qualified homes using the system to ensure process accuracy. Errors will be rectified, home ratings re-issued, and relevant parties will be trained, warned and / or removed from using the Savenia system. A summary of the results of these audits will be made available to the public. Finally, to maximize transparency, Solar Rating Labels are both color-coded and have data source information included for quick reference in words and in color; light green border labels are based on preliminary system design data, and dark green Savenia labels have been verified with at least 12 months of actual system performance data.

Q: Does the Savenia Solar Rating service replace a professional home audit or appraisal?

A: No. The Savenia Rating is an independent, 3rd party estimate designed to show the value of a solar system for a potential future buyer of a solar home. It is calculated from data provided by a solar installer or homeowner and computed using proprietary formulas. It is not an appraisal, and does not replace a home energy audit or inspection. It is a starting point in determining home efficiency for a potential future buyer of a solar home. Usage will vary. Homeowners should obtain inspections and advice from appropriate professionals and also refer to seller disclosures and other relevant information to exercise reasonable care in buying a home.

Q: What is Savenia’s Privacy Policy?

Savenia Privacy Statement Effective September 2015

We respect and are committed to protecting your privacy. We may collect personally identifiable information when you visit our site. We also automatically receive and record information on our server logs from your browser including your IP address, cookie information, the page(s) you visited, and documents describing your solar system that you upload to our site. We will not sell your personally identifiable information to anyone.

Your confidential payment information is not seen or stored by Savenia, and is automatically encrypted in transit from your computer to Paypal Incorporated using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available). Before you even register or log in to the PayPal site, the server checks that you’re using an approved browser – one that uses SSL 3.0 or higher. Once your information reaches the PayPal site, it resides on a server that is heavily guarded both physically and electronically. PayPal servers sit behind an electronic firewall and are not directly connected to the internet, so your private information is available only to authorized computers.

You can unsubscribe from Savenia non-account related email communications here, and remove or change your email address by selecting these options at the bottom of Savenia non-account related email communications.

If you would like to update other information, please contact Savenia at info@savenialabs.com.

We reserve the right to modify this Privacy Statement at any time. Any changes to the Privacy Statement will be posted here. If the changes are significant, we will provide you additional, prominent notice as appropriate under the circumstances.