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

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Solar Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

SAN RAMON—You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a solar company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified solar contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated solar power company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Contra Costa County – Solar CATEGORY

Jason Lee is general manager of Solar System, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (888) 540-0147 or by email.

Jason Lee

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jason Lee: Shining a Light

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — As a former real estate broker, Jason Lee knows a thing or two about the importance of reading the fine print in a contract. In fact, it was his expert eye for the particulars that largely inspired his shift to a career in the solar industry. “While working as a real estate broker, I started looking more closely at the solar business, which seemed to be full of opportunity,” he explains. “In particular, solar leasing sounded like something that could really benefit homeowners. However, as I began looking at a contract, I was amazed at how bad it was—almost as bad as a subprime mortgage loan! This motivated me even more to get into the solar business and push things in the other direction. There are real benefits to solar if you pursue it the right way, and my goal has always been to help homeowners do just that.”

Today, as general manager of Solar System, Inc., Jason says his favorite part of his job is educating homeowners. “In real estate, clients have representatives to watch out for their interests, but this isn’t the case in the solar industry, which puts homeowners at risk of being taken advantage of. That’s why I enjoy educating my clients and explaining the differences between the real savings of ownership versus leasing.”

A resident of San Jose (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Angie), Jason expresses his appreciation for the cutting-edge character of California’s third largest city. “San Jose has become a major hub for high-tech, which makes it the perfect place for someone like me who is passionate about clean energy technology.”

When asked how he spends his time outside of work, Jason says free time is in short supply these days. “Solar is a complex business, and since our company is still fairly young, there’s still a lot of work to be done before I can relax.” When he does get a break, Jason enjoys reading, keeping up with politics and hanging out with his son, Brenden, and daughter, Adriennne, both of whom are currently attending college.

In regard to his professional career, Jason adheres to a “customers first” philosophy. “When I worked in real estate, fiduciary duty to my clients was a point of emphasis, and that’s something I’ve brought with me to the solar industry,” he explains. “As a company that serves the public, we recognize the need to put our clients’ interests before our own. In doing so, we aim to bring value to both our individual clients and our community as a whole.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, but I think I’d actually like to travel around the United States first and visit some of the beautiful places in this country.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Work on my presentation for educating consumers about solar.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio, because it keeps my mind engaged even when I’m driving.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Seattle Seahawks.

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Avoiding Pitfalls with Your Solar Contract

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SAN JOSE — Similar to buying a house, installing a solar energy system is a long-term investment that’s designed to pay off over multiple decades. However, unlike in real estate, when you sign a contract with a solar company, you don’t… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Caution about Power Purchase Agreements

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Before signing a power purchase agreement with a solar leasing company, make sure you understand the implications of the fine print.… Read more

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

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

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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The Importance of Buying from an Established Solar Company

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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… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: A Smart Choice for Solar Panels

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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… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • GAF

  • Amerimax

  • Duralum

  • Lennox

  • Enphase

  • SolarWorld

  • SolarEdge

  • LG

  • SMA

  • Sunpower

Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics
Mitsui Comtek
Pacific SolarTech
SANYO Energy
Sanyo Semiconductors
Sharp Manufacturing
Solar Power Industries
Sunpower Corporation
Sunwatt Corporation
Sunwize Technologies
Terra Solar Global
United Solar Ovonic
Fronius Solar Inverters
SMA Technologies
SunTech
Advent Solar
Amonix Inc
Atlantis Energy System Inc.
B P Solar
Canrom Photovoltaics
DayStar Technologies
Energy Photovoltaics
Evergreen Solar
First Solar
GE Energy
Global Solar Energy
Innergy Power Corp
Kyocera Solar Panels
Matrix Solar Technologies

solar generators
portable solar power
solar roofing
solar power kits
solar modules
solar concentrators
solar thermal systems
alternative energy solar systems
pv panels
renewable energy systems
solar panels
solar energy systems
home solar systems
solar water systems
solar lighting
solar panel installation
solar hot water heating
solar electricity
solar generators
solar photovoltaic panel installation
solar inverters
residential solar power
commercial solar power

Alamo
Antioch
Bay Point
Bethel Island
Blackhawk
Brentwood
Briones
Byron
Canyon
Clayton
Clyde
Concord
Cowell
Crockett
Danville
Diablo
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hercules
Hilltop Mall
Kensington
Knightsen
Lafayette
Los Medanos
Maltby
Martinez
Moraga
North Richmond
Oakley
Orinda
Pacheco
Pinole
Pittsburg
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
Richmond
Rodeo
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg

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Know What You Want
Know What You Want from a Solar Array for Your Home or Business

Making an investment in harvesting solar energy is an important decision. You will get the best results from your investment if you have some idea of what you want your solar investment to do for you before you begin talking with representatives from solar contractors in Contra Costa County.

Be able to answer the following questions before calling a solar company for an estimate:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified solar company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What do I want from an investment in solar power?
  • Do I want to reduce the amount of electricity I buy from the utility by generating some of my own?
  • Do I want to generate more electricity than I need so that I can sell some for a profit?
  • Do I want my solar investment to provide hot water and heating/cooling
  • If I’m interested in generating electricity, have I used a free solar calculator to give myself some idea of the cost and benefits? (Free solar calculator)
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What To Ask In Person
In-Person Interviews with Solar Panel Installers in Contra Costa County

Some questions simply cannot be answered until a qualified site assessor visits your home or business, as the quality of sunlight can vary significantly from site to site.

  • How will the site assessment work?
  • Is my home or business site better suited to one type of solar power over another? If so, why?
  • If the site is suitable for solar thermal, how much work will be required to make the array deliver heating, cooling, and hot water beyond simply getting the array onto my roof or other part of my property?
  • How does selling back electricity work in Contra Costa County?
  • How long does the average solar panel installation like mine take?
  • When can I expect to receive a written estimate for the solar system components and the installation services?
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  • What To Ask References
    Talk with Solar Company References

    It’s best to choose among Diamond Certified solar contractors because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a solar company in Contra Costa County, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified solar company within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your Contra Costa County solar contractor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by a local contractors are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process.

    That’s because references given to customers from local solar panel installation companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the solar company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    • Did you have a solar array installed at your home or business by (name of the company in question)?
    • Did you receive a site assessment from (name of the company in question)?
    • What kind of solar array did you have installed?
    • How satisfied were you with the work?
    • Has the solar array operated the way you expected?
    • Have your energy bills been reduced as much as you expected?
    • (If you have a PV array) Are you selling electricity back to the utility?
    • If so, how has the experience been for you?
    • Are you making as much money as you expected from your solar panel system?
    • How does payment for excess electricity work for you?
    • Would you recommend that someone else invest in a PV array large enough to sell electricity back to the utility?
    • How did the federal and state incentives figure into your decision to invest in new solar panels?
    • How did the federal and state incentives affect your ability to pay for the solar system investment?
    • Do you have any advice or information on solar panels that we haven’t touched on yet?
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  • Review Your Options
    Before You Hire a Local Solar Energy Company in Contra Costa County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar contractor in Contra Costa County because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a solar panel installation service in Contra Costa County, you will feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified company.

    If a Diamond Certified solar contractor isn’t available in your area, you will have to do some research on your own, including calling references and researching their license status.

    All contractors performing work valued at $500 or more must hold a current valid license from the Contractors’ State License Board. Active licenses can be checked at the CSLB website.

    Additionally, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV installer certification is a voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which PV installers with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition. Certification provides a measure of protection to the public by giving them a credential for judging the competency of practitioners.

    Simplify the Solar Panel Installation Services
    Learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar contractor much better. Having realistic expectations about the cost of an array and how long it might take for an array to pay for itself also will help.

    Use a solar calculator to give yourself an idea of the money involved. Know what you are spending on energy before having a site assessment. Be prepared to hear that your site may not be suitable for a specific type of solar array, but do ask for an explanation.

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  • How To Work With
    Before You Hire a Local Solar Energy Company in Contra Costa County

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar contractor in Contra Costa County because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a solar panel installation service in Contra Costa County, you will feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified company.

    If a Diamond Certified solar contractor isn’t available in your area, you will have to do some research on your own, including calling references and researching their license status.

    All contractors performing work valued at $500 or more must hold a current valid license from the Contractors’ State License Board. Active licenses can be checked at the CSLB website.

    Additionally, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV installer certification is a voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which PV installers with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition. Certification provides a measure of protection to the public by giving them a credential for judging the competency of practitioners.

    Simplify the Solar Panel Installation Services
    Learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar contractor much better. Having realistic expectations about the cost of an array and how long it might take for an array to pay for itself also will help.

    Use a solar calculator to give yourself an idea of the money involved. Know what you are spending on energy before having a site assessment. Be prepared to hear that your site may not be suitable for a specific type of solar array, but do ask for an explanation.

    Read moreRead less
  • Be a Good Customer
    Easy Ways To Be a Good Solar Company Customer

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Contra Costa County solar contractor for your new solar energy system installation.

    • Be clear and upfront with the solar contractor you’ve hired. Let them know what you want from your solar investment, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a solar contractor in Contra Costa County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the solar company representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local solar contractor/installers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your solar contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re installing your solar array. The work will move along more smoothly if your solar panel installer can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your solar energy contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the solar contractor/installer on schedule.
    • Pay for the materials and installation work promptly.

    Why would you want to make the effort to be a good customer?

    Solar contractors in Contra Costa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Compare the Invoice to the Completed Solar Panel Installation

Once the solar panel installation services are complete, check your invoice carefully to make certain you received exactly what was promised. Compare the estimates you were given to the final prices on the invoice.

Politely but firmly request explanations for discrepancies. Honest mistakes can be made; checking the invoice can help identify and correct them immediately.

A complete solar installation invoice usually includes the following items:

  • The name, physical address and license number of the solar contractor.
  • A complete list of all solar system work performed.
  • An itemized list of all new solar panels, solar fixtures, materials and replacement parts installed.
  • The total cost, including the amount due for labor and solar panel materials.
  • Any applicable warrantees or guarantees provided by the solar panel manufacturers and the solar installation company.
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Written Warranties
Only Invest in Guaranteed Solar Panels and Installations

Home solar panel installations are significant financial investments. So your solary energy system should function for many years. The solar system itself should come with a manufacturer’s guarantee for all parts and an installation guarantee that covers workmanship-related defects. The quality of the installation also should come with a minimum guarantee.

Written warranties will protect you against the added expense of faulty solar systems or poor solar panel installation.

A good written guarantee for solar energy system installation should include:

  • The solar contracting firm name, physical address and contractors license number.
  • What solar system materials and work are covered, including whether the solar contractor will replace or repair the solar panels/solar energy system or give you a refund if you have to place a warranty claim.
  • Your responsibility if you need warranty work (i.e., if you have to pay for labor when filing a claim or pay a prorated amount).
  • Terms and limitations of the new solar panels or solar panel repair warranty.
  • If the solar installation warranty coverage is transferrable to the new owner if you sell your home.
  • Any exclusions to the warranty must be in writing.
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Top 10 Requests
Popular Solar Panel Brands Used In Contra Costa County and the Bay Area

When investing in solar, you will want to be certain that you are investing in value. Your solar array should provide you with many years of operation. The brands listed below are among the most widely used in Contra Costa County.

DayStar Technologies
DayStar manufactures thin-film photovoltaic panels aimed principally at utilities and commercial customers. However, the design of DayStar’s arrays is such that residential customers can use the thin-film panels in a standard mounting system.

Evergreen Solar Panels
Evergreen Solar manufactures photovoltaic cells for use by a variety of manufacturers in the United States. The company specializes in a high-efficiency method for manufacturing silicon wafers.

First Solar Products  
First Solar offers a complete line of solar thermal products for use in all climates and all seasons. Evacuated tubes and special coatings allow for the heating of water even under cloudy skies and freezing tempertatures.

Fronius USA LLC
Fronius produces inverters for use with photovoltaic arrays, turning the DC current produced by PV into AC current used in your home or business and on the grid.

GE Energy
GE offers a very large selection of energy products for a variety of scales of operation. Included in the GE line are photovoltaic arrays for residential and commercial customers with good performance under a variety of conditions, a GE warrantee, and end-of-life recycling.

Mitsui Comtek
Mitsui provides photovoltaic arrays to Berkeley-based PowerLight Corporation, which uses a patented rooftop installation system to lower installation costs.

Pacific SolarTech 
Pacific SolarTech offers a blended photovoltaic and concentrator technology in the form of modules which can be used by residential and commercial customers as well as utility-level generators. The concentrator feature allows the modules to use a fraction of the silicon used in conventional arrays.

Sharp Solar Photovoltaic Panels
Sharp has an extended history in the solar industry and offers photovoltaic arrays for residential, commercial, and utility use.

Sunwize Technologies
Sunwize provides photovoltaics for residential and commercial customers both on- and off-grid as well as government customers. Sunwize has 20 years in the solar business and serves a wide variety of customers in a wide variety of applications.

Terra Solar Panel Installations
Terra Solar specializes in photovoltaics for residential and commercial customers. The company is vertically integrated and has its own research and development, manufacturing, and sales. Terra solar offers thin-film PV for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Solar

Below are key solar industry terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your solar investment process from beginning to end.

consultation
A knowledgeable representative from a solar contractor/installer will need to come to your home or business to assess the suitability of your site for a solar investment. Once your site has been assessed, issues such as cost of an array, the most suitable array, and financing will come into play.

Also known as: site assessment

federal incentive for solar
Tax credits offered by the federal government to help offset the cost of purchasing a solar energy array. In some instances, tax credits may be replaced by grants.

Also known as: federal solar tax credit

net excess generation (NEG)
The electricity generated by a PV array beyond the needs of the home or business. In most places, NEG is sold to the local utility.

net metering
A two-way flow of electricity between the grid and a home or business. When the home or business needs more power than a PV array is providing, electricity flows into the home or business. When the home or business is generating more electricity than it needs, the extra electricity (also called net excess generation, or NEG) flows to the grid. The home or business pays the utility for electricity flowing into the home, while the utility pays the home or business for electricity flowing to the grid.

solar contractor/installer
A solar contractor installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems.

 solar photovoltaic
A system for converting solar radiation (sunlight) into electrical power using semiconductors. Photovoltaic cells are combined into modules, which are combined into arrays. The arrays are connected to the electrical system of a home or business.

Also known as: photovoltaic, PV

solar thermal
A system for converting solar radiation (sunlight) into heat energy for space heating and cooling and for heating water using a solar collector or array, insulated piping, and a hot water storage system.

Also known as: solar hot water

state incentive for solar
Rebates and tax breaks sponsored or mandated by the State of California to make solar investments more affordable for California homes and businesses. The incentives take a number of forms, from rebates for solar thermal arrays to favorable rules for electricity buy-back (called net metering).

Also known as: California Solar Initiative, solar rebates

thin film solar cell
An emerging photovoltaic technology in which a solar cell made by layering one or more layers of photovoltaic material on a thin substrate. The total thickness may be measured in nanometers.

Also known as: thin film photovoltaic cell

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions for Solar Companies

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Solar Contractor/Installer?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a solar contractor/installer with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only solar contractor/installer rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified solar contractor/installer.

Q: Why should I spend money on solar energy for my home or business?
A: A solar array is an investment that will pay for itself and then earn a profit in most locations in the US. This is certainly true almost everywhere in California.

Q: Solar energy seems expensive, so how can I make my money back?
A: New financing options enable homeowners and businesses to start saving money as soon as their solar arrays are active. Every dollar you don’t spend on buying energy from a utility is a dollar in your pocket. This adds up quickly, and it adds up even more quickly as energy costs rise.

Q: If solar power works and can be cost-effective, why does it need government support?
A: The federal government has supported every major energy source through R&D support and various incentives. Oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, biofuel, and nuclear industries all have received government support and continue to receive support today because energy drives our economy. The State of California supports solar partially to help increase the state’s supply of electricity without building new power plants and partially because solar energy can be harnessed right here in California.

Q: Don’t I have to have lots of expensive batteries to have solar electric power?
A: Batteries are only necessary if you want to get off the grid. As long as you stay connected to the grid, you don’t need any batteries.

Q: Do I have to get off the grid to use solar power?
A: No, you can stay connected to the grid to use solar electric power. If your solar array generates electricity, your home or business will draw power from your array first, then the grid as needed. If your array doesn’t generate as much electricity as you need, or if it’s night, your home or business will draw what is needed from the grid. If you generate more power than is needed, the excess will go to the grid and earn you money.

Q: Aren’t all solar products made in China? I want to support American business.
A: U.S. solar installations generated $6 billion in direct value in 2010, including manufacturing sales. Of this 75% ($4.4 billion) went into the US economy.

Q: How do I know what kind of solar array is right for my home or business?
A: The answer depends on what you want from your solar array and how much money you are willing to invest. A small passive solar thermal array is relatively inexpensive and can provide you with heat for water and heating your home. An active solar thermal array costs more but heats water and heats and cools your home more efficiently than a passive array. Photovoltaic (PV) arrays are more expensive than solar thermal arrays, but you can use them to offset electricity consumption in your home or business and even sell energy to the local utility. A Diamond Certified solar contractor/installer can help you determine the right kind of solar array for your home or business based on your specific site, your needs, and your desired level of investment.

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