Frequently Asked Questions | Jumpstart


FAQ

frequently asked questions

introduction


Have questions? Explore this list of frequently asked questions. If you still can't find the answer you're looking for, go to the contact us section.


about us

What’s your goal?

We fundamentally believe that it doesn’t matter if one corner of the world is 100% clean, if the other corner of the world is living in the dark or developing dirty energy. We want to think about the climate situation globally, not locally. Our goal is to end energy poverty by 2040.

Why not nonprofit route?

After deep consideration, we have opted not to make Jumpstart a 501(c)(3).

The problem with nonprofits is that unless you are a high-net-worth individual yourself, or you have significant amounts of investment, it is very difficult to have a sustainable long-term business plan. Our goal is to eventually bring electricity outside of state-control, and privatize the electricity sector, which will allow for greater innovation in the electricity sector. This would not be possible with a nonprofit model.

Additionally, nonprofits have an inability to scale quickly, because of their lack of resources to hire the best talents. We judge that humanity doesn’t have the time to slowly develop clean energy around the world, or to let fossil-fuel energy sources become the de-facto energy of these emerging markets. We need to act now.

Finally, we decided not to make Jumpstart a nonprofit, because we wanted our users to hold us to a higher standard than other organizations. Oftentimes, startups that are considered “impact startups” are considered that in order to excuse poor performance. We are fully confident that our platform will be of the highest standard, and we wanted to reinforce this commitment.

How does Jumpstart make money? How do you monetize an asset?

Jumpstart takes a closing fee to make sure we can keep the lights on while the asset is being used and developed, and a percentage of the recurring revenue.

How can I support Jumpstart Energy?

First, take a look at our careers! Second, sign up here to get started Jumpstarting projects around the world! Third, encourage your company to pursue 100% clean energy, and tell your friends about us!

funders

Who is your target funder?

Anyone! If you’re a small-medium-business owner, you can support a project so that you can say that your coffee shop is 100% green. If you’re a university in a metropolitan area where you can’t buy renewables normally, you can support a project and say that your university is 100% green. If you’re an individual and you want something to brag about the next time you and your neighbors grab lunch, you can support a project and say that your house is 100% green.

How does the money for the project get to each customer, and back to the funder?

All money transactions utilize the money transfer platform, Stripe.

What’s a Renewable Energy Certificate?

They’re a commodity that represents the environmental attributes from the generation of 1 MWh of renewable electricity generation. Companies “go green” by creating or buying enough RECs to equal their total electricity use.

How do you confirm the generation of RECs from an international project?

All PPAs, CCAs, etc. are essentially the same -- they are all bilateral agreements, where goods are exchanged. In our case, initial investment is exchanged for electricity generation and RECs, the latter of which is exchanged to the initial investors. We have accounts with tracking registries, like WREGIS, NAR, and TIGR, to cover domestic and international RECs, and we have certification from Green-e to ensure the quality of our projects.

Do I need to be an accredited investor?

No, since our projects are not a tradable commodity, and RECs are not considered a security, you do not need to be an accredited investor.

Do I need to fund the entire project?

No, Jumpstart crowdfunds projects so there are many individual funders who come together to contribute to each successful project. You can find funders who supported each project at the bottom of the project profile.

Will I get repaid?

While Jumpstart cannot guarantee repayment for any projects, we have made significant efforts in project selection and affiliate partner selection to minimize the risk of project default. Jumpstart will make every effort possible to return as much of the contribution as possible. Jumpstart funders should be aware of the different layers of risk (such as customer risk, country risk and currency risk) that could lead to losing some or all of the funder’s principal.

Do Jumpstart funders receive interest on Jumpstart contributions?

This question is answered in a full page, here, but aim to return around 3% APR.

What happens if a project doesn’t fully fund on Jumpstart?

If a project doesn’t fully fund on Jumpstart, the contributions are returned to the individual’s Jumpstart account, and the project will not be completed.

How long will the project take to build?

The project you fund will take different lengths of time, depending on the scale of the project. If it’s a residential scale project, once all of the money is collected, we can expect the project to be built in 2 days. If it’s utility scale project, the average projects will take 18 months. We’ll keep you up to date with the progress of the project with regular emails. If there are any delays, we will be the first to let you know.

What happens if a project is fully funded, but in developing the project, it turns out to be much more expensive, or it breaks down. How are we paid back?

We first ensure that our projects, our partners, and all the stakeholders are vetted and reliable, to minimize this risk. Initially, it will be difficult to pay back the original funders for failed projects. But as we grow, we intend to insure contributions up to a certain amount.

What does it mean when a company is matching a project?

When a company is matching a project, this means that the company has agreed to match the contributions that are made by individual funders. Thus, a $100 project now only needs $50, since the company will match your contribution. If you are a company looking to sponsor a project, click here.

Why should I want to do this in the first place?

This question is explained more thoroughly in our funding process. There are many factors to encourage you to fund a project, including a return on your contribution, providing energy to the people who would benefit the most, and clean energy.

But the greatest opportunity is from the ability to show the world your support for clean energy projects in a public, and visceral, way. When they see that the local coffee shop or their favorite clothing brand is matching their donations to build a solar farm in Namibia, that’s an opportunity for free advertisement. And while there are many companies that support clean energy in their business practices, we think that these companies don’t get nearly enough credit, and deserve to be thanked and congratulated for supporting important developments around the world. Thus, this platform will also allow SMBs and larger brands to come together with individuals customers to build up projects around the world in a joint effort.

What is KYC, and how does Jumpstart comply with KYC standards?

KYC stands for Know Your Customer. KYC is a regulatory and legal requirement for banks and other related institutions to identify and verify the identity of their clients.

Payment institutions undertake the KYC-process to comply with various anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and regulations countering the financing of terrorism (CFT). KYC is typically undertaken by the contributor’s financial institution which identifies and verifies the identity of its clients before s/he is allowed to open an account. Because each financial transaction requires the user to have a bank account and a credit card, Jumpstart’s KYC is largely covered by our financial service which contains monitoring and verification systems via credit card data tokenization to help meet PCI obligations.

However, depending on funding size, the requirements may vary. We will need the contributor to sign into a Jumpstart account if you would like to fund more than $150, and we will require additional documents if you fund more than $2500/month or $5000/year, such as some government-issued ID. If you fund more than $30,000, we need to know the origin of the funds, such as knowing the type of business, and where the existing wealth originated.

We understand that the KYC-process and related documents are sensitive, but Jumpstart protects your privacy and handles personal information according to legal requirements. Read more about this in our Privacy Policy.

homeowners

Who can get a Jumpstart project?

Jumpstart crowdfunds projects all over the world, often in areas that are financially excluded and can’t gain access to fair and affordable sources of credit. You can apply for a project, here.

How do customers pay for electricity?

Jumpstart uses the money raised on our platform to cover the upfront capital for the solar lease. Jumpstart signs a bilateral contract with the customer to be paid monthly for this lease, which Jumpstart returns to its funders. The customers pays a bill that is at least 10% cheaper than their normal monthly electricity bill.

Do Jumpstart customers pay any interest on their projects?

Yes, Jumpstart customers do pay interest on the projects so that Jumpstart can pay the crowdfunded projects interest.

What happens if a customer can’t repay the project?

If a customer is behind on paying back a project, Jumpstart may try to reschedule repayments on the delinquent project in order to make it possible for the customer to eventually repay. This is common practice in microfinance. If the customers simply can’t repay and projects end in default, Jumpstart will notify all contributing funders by email, and we will not lend to the specific project developer again.

developers

How do you develop your list of possible projects/partners?

For a full process, please take a look at our selection process. We have developed a proprietary algorithm that balances a prioritization for high impact with its requirements for reasonable return on investments that would afford financial longevity to continue making a difference over many decades.

What is the average project size?

The project size depends on the customer, but we aim to size each project to allow people to go off the grid. For residential scale projects, this means around 7-8 kW. For utility scale projects, this means around 1MW. We want these projects to be big because the cost of solar installations goes down with scale, with a 1MW utility-scale solar installation about 20% cheaper in $/kW than a residential scale 10 kW solar installation. This allows us to minimize the overall cost in electrifying a neighborhood, with additional transmission lines, additional inverters, charger controllers, DC disconnects, etc.

How does Jumpstart deal with corruption, bureaucracy, regulations, etc. with international projects?

In finding international projects, there are a lot of risks involved. We try to minimize risk by using previous success as evidence -- i.e. the countries that have in the past attracted large amounts of foreign business investment. These countries are probably the countries that are the easiest to navigate. For a deeper vetting process, please take a look at our selection process.

Some countries are also notoriously difficult to obtain business licenses to operate. We thus operate with an affiliate network, where, since we don’t actually own these assets ourselves, licenses are not necessarily. Many African countries also impose tariffs on their neighboring nations. As a result, trade between African countries accounts for only 10% of their total exports.

What are challenges around lack of existing infrastructure (roads, transmission lines, etc.)?

In our initial algorithm, we prioritize locations with existing infrastructure by pricing in the cost to build new infrastructure. If, in our calculations, there are locations that are still valuable, we will enter into those markets.

But we rely on our affiliates, who have the most on-field experience working in these markets. We rely on the extensive knowledge of our affiliates, and trust that they can find value even when infrastructure may be limited.


contact us

Still have questions? If you've checked out the information available on this page and still have questions, please contact us at team@jumpstartenergy.co