Diamond Certified Company Report

Sky Power Systems

Diamond Certified Company Report

Sky Power Systems

Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 216 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Sam P.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

1 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do an excellent job and good quality work at a very reasonable price.

They are responsive. When there was a problem, they took care of it in a reasonable amount of time. I was satisfied with my interactions with them.

Robert M.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

2 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're thorough, they understand the options that are available, they don't pressure you, and they deliver everything that they promise. They keep you informed.

The information that they provided me was the key to getting me an efficient system.

Harris L.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

3 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do a neat and tidy job. It looks good.

They use high quality products. I had some particular installation requirements, and they took care of them. The salesperson was also extremely helpful.

Read All 216 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Sky Power Systems has been designing and installing solar-electric systems for Bay Area homes and businesses since 2001. The company handles all phases of its clients’ solar projects, including design, permits, installation, maintenance and PG&E interconnection paperwork.

President Bob Winn sees Sky Power Systems as a boutique, custom-style solar shop—each system is specifically designed to meet the individual customer’s needs. The company’s installation teams treat each project as if they’re working on their own homes, says Mr. Winn, with attention to detail and a focus on reliability, performance, and appearance.

Sky Power Systems takes pride in being selected as one of the few SunPower Elite Dealers. SunPower makes high-performance solar panels that deliver up to 50 percent more power than conventional panels and are more reliable over the long run. “They’re also the best-looking solar panels around and have the best warranty,” says Mr. Winn. “We’re very aware of the appearance of what we install, focusing on both aesthetics and high performance.” To view examples of Sky Power Systems’ past and recent projects, read customer testimonials or find out how to get a free site evaluation, Mr. Winn invites people to visit
www.skypowersolar.com.

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COMPANY REPORT NAVIGATION

Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Sky Power Systems

Service AREA

Contra Costa County
Alameda County

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SERVICES PERFORMED

Solar Electricity (PV) Systems
Solar Pool Heating
Design, Installation & Maintenance
Free Analysis & Site Evaluations

BRANDS Supported
  • SMA

  • Sunpower

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Sky Power Systems

Company Profile

Sky Power Systems has been designing and installing solar-electric systems for Bay Area homes and businesses since 2001. The company handles all phases of its clients’ solar projects, including design, permits, installation, maintenance and PG&E interconnection paperwork.

President Bob Winn sees Sky Power Systems as a boutique, custom-style solar shop—each system is specifically designed to meet the individual customer’s needs. The company’s installation teams treat each project as if they’re working on their own homes, says Mr. Winn, with attention to detail and a focus on reliability, performance, and appearance.

Sky Power Systems takes pride in being selected as one of the few SunPower Elite Dealers. SunPower makes high-performance solar panels that deliver up to 50 percent more power than conventional panels and are more reliable over the long run. “They’re also the best-looking solar panels around and have the best warranty,” says Mr. Winn. “We’re very aware of the appearance of what we install, focusing on both aesthetics and high performance.” To view examples of Sky Power Systems’ past and recent projects, read customer testimonials or find out how to get a free site evaluation, Mr. Winn invites people to visit
www.skypowersolar.com.

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Company Philosophy

"We believe in providing customers with the very best service and reliable products that will stand the test of time. We treat each customer like they're our only customer."

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Comparative Summary

Many view the installation of a solar-electric system as a big-ticket home improvement project, but according to Bob Winn, owner of Sky Power Solar in San Ramon, it should actually be considered an investment. Most low-risk investments return three to five percent, but with California’s year-round sun and available subsidies and tax credits, a solar-electric system typically returns between 15 and 20 percent, tax free. It’s one of the best investments you can make, says Mr. Winn.

Since 2001, Sky Power Solar has been helping Bay Area residents and businesses save money on utility bills, reduce their carbon footprint and become more responsible citizens through Green technology. It’s a one-stop solar shop, providing design, permitting and installation. “We’re more of a boutique, custom-style shop,” says Mr. Winn. “We provide custom design and installation of high-quality solar-electric and water heating systems. To us, each customer is an individual, which is unlike the approach of a lot of bigger solar retailers.”

Sky Power Solar installs SunPower brand solar modules, which deliver up to 50 percent more power than other brands and are, according to Mr. Winn, the most efficient solar panels available. “They’re also the best-looking solar panels around,” he says. “We’re very aware of the appearance of what we install, focusing on both aesthetics and high performance.”

Sky Power Solar’s East Bay location is in the middle of its service area, which means it can frequently provide same-day service, unlike larger firms from outside the area.

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Industry Info

Bob Winn, owner of Sky Power Solar, has seen a rush of companies and individuals getting into the solar power business in recent years. While he welcomes the interest in solar-electric systems, he doesn’t necessarily think all these newcomers are good for consumers. “You really need to consider a contractor’s experience when it comes to solar,” he says.

Established solar providers have years of experience in knowing what systems work over the long haul and installing them properly. Solar installation also requires knowledge and experience in both roofing and electrical systems. “Many electricians who are just getting into the business don’t know how to properly penetrate a roof,” says Mr. Winn, “and many roofers don’t understand the electrical side. You need someone who understands the end-to-end process.”

Aesthetics aren’t something one normally considers when hiring a contractor for electrical work, but it’s a major factor for solar-electric systems. Solar panels on a roof are often one of the most conspicuous features of a building, and consumers should take care to review past installations of similar systems by the contractor to ensure the look will be a pleasing one.

And it’s not just the contractor one needs to consider, says Mr. Winn, but also the systems they’re proposing to install. What’s the expected performance? How much power will you get out of it? Does the system have a track record of operating trouble-free for years? After all, there aren’t only new contractors in the industry, but new suppliers as well. “It takes a few years in the sun to figure out if the materials are going to last over time,” says Mr. Winn.

You should also ask about warranties. How long is the warranty? What company is standing behind the warranty? Are they going to be around in 25 years to honor it? “With a new company, you just don’t know,” says Mr. Winn.

One should also consider the standard factors when hiring any contractor. Verify the contractor’s license and insurance coverage. Check their references. Find out how long the employees have been with the company and whether it uses any subcontractors. By asking the right questions, finding a good solar-electric contractor won’t be difficult.

Below you’ll find further information on rebates and tax exemptions.

California Rebates
California leads the nation in aggressive PV solar rebates. California has set a goal to produce 3000 kW (3 megawatts) of solar produced electricity by 2017. Commercial and residential PG&E customers can receive cash back for solar electric installations that meet stringent CEC (California Energy Commission) guidelines. The California Solar Initiative (formerly the Million Solar Roofs Initiative) provides for up-front rebates for systems <50kW. Performance Based Incentives (PBI) will be paid for solar projects >50 (kW), with payments based on solar power produced over a five-year period. The rebate program is designed with declining amounts as more customers sign up for the incentives (so do it now—if you wait the rebates will be lower). The current rebate amounts can be found at http://www.csi-trigger.com/

California Exemption from Property Taxes
As if you didn’t need enough incentives to install solar electricity on your house, here’s another:

California excludes all solar electricity system installation costs from being added to the property value of your home for property tax valuation purposes. That means that if you add solar electricity and it increases the value of your home by some $34,000 + (for an average system of 4.0 kW DC; we’ll show you how this happens as part of our financial analysis) for an out-of-pocket cost of some $16,000 (again, for an average system of 4.0 kW DC), the first $16,000 pickup in equity is completely tax-free.

Federal Tax Credits for Residential Use
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 creates a full 30% Federal Tax Credit for residential PV Solar Electric projects. This is a TAX CREDIT (not a deduction)– it is a direct, dollar-for-dollar reduction from your taxes owed, and IS NOT limited by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and unlike the previous version, there is NO CAP!

The 30% credit is based on the net cost of the project (net of the rebate) and can significantly lower the cost of a residential solar project.

Federal Tax Credits for Commercial Use
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 increased to 30% the Investment Tax Credit (26 USC Sec. 48) businesses (rentals and home offices if they qualify — consult your own tax attorney or accountant) receive for solar projects placed into service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007. This is a TAX CREDIT (not a deduction)– it is a direct, dollar-for-dollar reduction from your taxes owed.

The national Solar Energy Industries Association has completed a (40 page) document entitled “The SEIA Guide to Federal Tax Incentives,” which was compiled with the help of SEIA members and SEIA’s tax attorneys, and contains a great deal of specific information and advice regarding the interpretation of the new federal law. The Guide can be downloaded from the SEIA website.

Federal Accelerated Depreciation for Commercial Use
Businesses (and home offices if they qualify—consult your own tax attorney or accountant) also get accelerated depreciation for the remaining cost over a mere five years (26 USC Sec. 168 — MACRS) —that means that you can amortize a 25-30 year asset over five years! This can enable businesses to recover (depending on your combined marginal Federal and California business tax rate) up to 50% of the remaining “after California Rebate and Tax Credits” cost through the tax benefits from higher depreciation deductions over a mere five years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is solar energy reliable?

A: Yes. Solar power systems have been around for 50 years. The technology we’re installing today is nothing new, just a more efficient version. The systems are designed to work in harsh environments, so the Bay Area is pretty tame in comparison. The systems have no moving parts, a 50-year operating life and a 25-year warranty on the panels, so they’re going to keep working day after day.

Q: How long will it take to see payback on a solar investment?

A: That depends on the amount of electricity you use each month. Payback periods are typically between two and 10 years, and the return on investment is usually between 15 and 24 percent.

Q: Are there rebates and tax credits available?

A: Yes. There’s a rebate from the California Solar Initiative and a 30 percent federal tax credit.

Q: If solar systems are getting more efficient, wouldn’t it make more sense to wait a few years for newer technology?

A: The systems are incrementally improving, but there’s nothing on the horizon that’s going to be radically more cost-effective. Most of the improvements are in methods to bring production costs down so government subsidies aren’t required to make solar affordable. As the systems become less expensive, the subsidies will go away, so solar probably won’t be any less expensive in the future than it is now. It makes more financial sense to install now and start taking advantage of the savings right away.

Q: Will the installation damage my roof?

A: No. We go to great lengths to ensure roof penetrations are properly flashed and sealed. We use special flashings designed specifically for solar systems.

Q: Can you mount solar on any roof?

A: Yes, a solar system can be mounted on just about any roof, even slate ones. The only limitations we typically see are due to availability of roof space and shade. If you have big trees that shade much of your roof or very little available square footage, solar may not work for you. But with good sun, a good roof and a high PG&E bill, the payback is high and fast.

Q: How long before my solar system is ready to use?

A: Designing and ordering the system usually takes two to three weeks. Installation usually takes a week or less. So if we start installation on Monday, your electric meter is spinning backward by Friday.

Q: Do you handle the paperwork and permitting?

A: Yes. We do everything, from the plans and permits to the PG&E interconnection paperwork.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Sky Power Systems

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Bob Winn

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Bob Winn is a veteran of the solar industry and owner of Sky Power Systems, a Diamond Certified company since 2006. He can be reached at (925) 567-3974 or by email.

Bob Winn: Sky-Powered Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAMON — After growing disenchanted with his banking career, Bob Winn decided to leave the financial field behind and reach for the sky. “Prior to getting into solar, I was in banking—mainly digital check processing and security,” he says. “In 2002, after the dot-com crash and Enron fiasco, I decided it was time to get into a new field. Since I was involved in technology, I started looking around for a related business opportunity. When I came across a small solar company, I thought it might be a good investment, so I bought it from the original owner in 2005.” After more than a decade, Bob has no regrets about his decision. “My career today is a lot more rewarding than my previous one. It’s great to be making a positive impact. Plus, solar is the future, so it’s neat to be a part of that.”

Today, as president of Sky Power Systems, Bob says his favorite part of his job is delighting his customers. “Compared to writing a $250 check to PG&E every month, writing a $20,000 check for a solar system isn’t easy. However, at the end of the project, when the meter is spinning backward and the PG&E bill is basically nothing, our clients are really happy with the decisions they’ve made. I call it the ‘solar halo.’ It’s very satisfying to have a job that allows me to make people happy on a regular basis.”

A resident of Danville (where he lives with his wife, Lisa), Bob likes to spend the bulk of his free time outdoors. “There’s a lot of open space in this area, so I spend a lot of time hiking and riding my mountain bike around Mount Diablo, Pleasanton, and the Oakland Hills,” he says. “When I get the chance, I also like to go dirt biking in the mountains or the desert.” In addition to enjoying the outdoors, Bob likes keeping up with his and Lisa’s three children, all of whom are currently attending college.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Bob espouses the importance of doing the right thing. “When it comes to serving customers, our company’s mantra is to always do the right thing,” he affirms. “Don’t do the easy thing or the least expensive thing; just do the right thing. If you do that over and over, it’ll pay off in the long run. You may experience some short-term pain, but you’ll be better off overall.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bob says he’d hit the open road. “I would probably get an RV and travel around the Western United States. That would give me and my wife a chance to see all the national parks and spend some more time enjoying the outdoors.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Survivor.”

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Classic rock.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Pete’s Brass Rail & Car Wash in Danville.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Patagonia.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Old coins that end up in my pocket. You’d be surprised what people give you in change sometimes.

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Expert articles
  • The Importance of Buying from an Established Solar Company

    SAN RAMON — All solar panels come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty, but the big question is whether the manufacturer will still be around in 25 years to honor its warranty. During the last couple of decades, the solar industry has seen manufacturers come and go, and new ones are sprouting up all the time. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider the company you purchase your solar equipment from.

    Your safest bet is to buy solar equipment from a well-established company. In most cases, this will be a company whose name you recognize. For example, SunPower has been around for a long time and is well-known for its quality and reliability. The same can’t be said of the many smaller, newer manufacturers that have popped up during the last decade.

    Another attribute to consider in a solar manufacturer is diversification. In addition to being well-established, manufacturers like Panasonic, Mitsubishi and LG are diversified, global companies that produce many other products besides solar panels. Because of this, even if one of these companies decides to stop making solar panels, it won’t kill their business, which means they’ll still be around to honor their past warranties. Companies that solely manufacture solar panels don’t have this kind of diversified stability.

    Given the competitive and volatile nature of the solar manufacturing industry, it’s just not a good idea to entrust your money to a relatively new, non-diversified company. Instead, put your confidence in an established company that’s likely to be around in 25 years.

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Expert video tip

Video: A Smart Choice for Solar Panels

Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAMON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning to install a solar energy system, carefully consider who you purchase your equipment from. Today we’re in San Ramon with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Bob Winn of Sky Power Systems to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Bob Winn: Consumers should be aware of the warranty on their solar panels.  All solar panels come with a 25 years manufacturer’s warranty.  The question is, will the company be around in 25 years to honor their warranty?

In the 16 years we’ve been in business, we’ve seen solar panel manufacturers come and go.  We only represent the very best in the industry, in terms of reliability.  SunPower has the best warranty in the industry.  Names like Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and LG are known for their quality and reliability and are a diversified, global company that may be around, likely be around for the 25 years of their warranty.  The same can’t be said, of names that you’ve never heard of, that may be manufacturing their panels, and that’s all they do, in factories overseas.

Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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Sky Power Systems WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
  • Sky Power Systems SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Sky Power Systems
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

Each surveyed customer was asked, “If you needed any helpful expertise, did this company provide that expertise?” To calculate this score, total “Yes” responses were divided by total responses (excluding those that stated they hadn’t needed any expertise).

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 216 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Sky Power Systems : Average 9.1 out of 10 based on 216 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Sam P.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

1 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do an excellent job and good quality work at a very reasonable price.

They are responsive. When there was a problem, they took care of it in a reasonable amount of time. I was satisfied with my interactions with them.

Harris L.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

2 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do a neat and tidy job. It looks good.

They use high quality products. I had some particular installation requirements, and they took care of them. The salesperson was also extremely helpful.

Robert M.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

3 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're thorough, they understand the options that are available, they don't pressure you, and they deliver everything that they promise. They keep you informed.

The information that they provided me was the key to getting me an efficient system.

Josh L.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

4 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do quality work.

I liked how quickly they got the work done.

Tony R.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

5 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a good job.

They were easy to talk to, informative, and they're local.

John T.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

6 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I recommend them.

I liked the straightforwardness of them telling me what the system was and what they were going to do. I liked their professionalism and their quickness.

Steve W.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

7 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It was easy. They were very knowledgeable. So far so good. I would tell customers to consider more panels. I would prefer the electricity to be completely free. I would have put on more panels to cover everything.

They're knowledgeable about the product. I liked their customer service.

Lawrence P.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

8 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would consider them, because they are the best.

There were no hard sell techniques. They weren't trying to baffle me, and they were open with me.

Mike R.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

9 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very forthright in their proposal and did a good job.

The representative, I can't remember her name, was really nice.

Howard T.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

10 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They provided good customer-oriented service, and I recommend them all of the time.

I liked the sales lady, Janice, who I dealt with.

Joseph S.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

11 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Do your homework and then have a very intelligent discussion with them. They know a lot about this subject.

They did the work on time. The people were quality people who understood structures and roofs.

Martin M.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

12 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do what they say they will. They have the expertise, resources, and overall ability to identify, install, and guide us in a solar application.

My sales rep, Mr. Wong, was the best.

Margie W.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

13 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're the only ones to use. I went somewhere else first. They installed panels and everything, but it wasn't as good.

My sales rep was very knowledgeable.

Eric S.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

14 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

We recommend them. They offer quality service, they're honest, and they offer quality products.

It was easy to work with them, and they were straightforward. What they promised, they delivered.

Stan S.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

15 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I really liked these guys. They were honest, precise, and on time.

I like their promptness.

Josh K.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

16 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They listened to me and worked with me very well.

They kept me up to date about everything going on regarding schedules and timelines.

Terry I.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

17 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were quick and professional.

I just thought they were very knowledgeable. They did their work quickly. They worked hard and were clean. They did everything right.

Karen C.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

18 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do good work.

They're efficient, fast, and do what they say they'll do.

Rose K.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

19 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They know what they are doing.

They are very efficient and thorough.

Lucille S.

VERIFIED Sky Power Systems CUSTOMER

20 of 216

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very attentive and efficient. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing.

I would say the people who came out and did the work were very agreeable and informative about what they were doing.

Read All 216 Survey Responses at Ratings View