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?

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 Marin County – Solar CATEGORY

Dave Anderson is Chief Revenue Officer at Complete Solar Solution, a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (877) 597-0581 or by email.

Dave Anderson

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dave Anderson: A Solar Achievement

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN MATEO — Most solar professionals get into the industry via the technical side, but for Dave Anderson, it was the financial aspect that came first. “Before getting into solar, I was co-running a finance company,” he recounts. “We noticed the solar industry was lacking good financing options, so we started using some of our existing business relationships to set up loans and other financing options for homeowners who wanted to install solar. Soon after we started, we noticed that many companies weren’t doing a very good job of installing solar. This inspired us to go from merely financing solar to becoming a full-service installer.”

Today, as chief revenue officer of Complete Solar Solutions, Dave says he enjoys being on the cutting edge of a continuously evolving industry. “I like the fact that solar was once considered a fringe technology but has now become a fairly mainstream part of our energy mix, especially here in California. We’re on the cusp of doing even greater things, so it’s a very exciting industry to be involved with.”

Originally from Montana, Dave moved to the Bay Area in 2007 and today lives in Danville with his wife, Angela, and their three children. Between its sunny climate and technological innovation, he says the Bay Area is a perfect place to be in the solar industry. “Being from Montana, I really enjoy the weather here, but I also appreciate the innovative character of the Bay Area. The environment makes it possible for a company in any industry to thrive, but it’s especially ideal for solar companies.”

Outside of work, Dave engages in active pastimes such as martial arts. “I’m a jiu-jitsu brown belt, and I train alongside local and professional fighters,” he says. “I also enjoy attending my kids’ sporting events.” Additionally, Dave likes to immerse himself in the great outdoors. “Every so often, my family likes to break away and go camping. Having grown up in Montana, the outdoors is a big part of who I am.”

In regard to his professional career, Dave espouses the virtues of challenging the status quo. “We started this company because we believed there was a better way to get energy,” he explains. “There was—and continues to be—a perception that you’re supposed to buy energy from the utility company, and we’re here to challenge that. It’s not just about solar: if it was wind, hydrogen or another energy source, we would be involved with that. At the end of the day, it’s about providing energy that’s clean, reliable and renewable.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dave says he’d devote more time toward community involvement. “I don’t know that it’s in me to retire, but if I weren’t working a full-time job, I’d be more active in the community. In particular, I’d like to be involved with youth sports and other local activities for kids.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played just about all of them, but I primarily focused on baseball, wrestling and football.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: My wife and I like to go to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and get a pizookie from time to time.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio.

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Understanding Power Purchase Agreements

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SAN MATEO — One of the most daunting aspects of any residential solar project is figuring out how to finance it. Historically, homeowners have had to go through more traditional routes to do this, such as government loans or home equity… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Power Purchase Agreements

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN MATEO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to financing a solar power installation, one option to consider is a power purchase agreement. Today we’re in… 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

Terra Solar Global
United Solar Ovonic
Fronius Solar Inverters
SMA Technologies
SunTech
Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics
Solar Power Industries
Sunpower Corporation
Sunwatt Corporation
Sunwize Technologies
DayStar Technologies
Energy Photovoltaics
Evergreen Solar
First Solar
GE Energy
Advent Solar
Amonix Inc
Atlantis Energy System Inc.
B P Solar
Canrom Photovoltaics
Mitsui Comtek
Pacific SolarTech
SANYO Energy
Sanyo Semiconductors
Sharp Manufacturing
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 inverters
residential solar power
commercial solar power
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 thermal systems
alternative energy solar systems
pv panels

Almonte
Bel Marin Keys
Belvedere
Belvedere Tiburon
Black Point
Bolinas
Corte Madera
Dillon Beach
Dogtown
Fairfax
Forest Knolls
Greenbrae
Ignacio
Inverness
Kent Woodlands
Kentfield
Lagunitas
Larkspur
Lucas Valley
Marin City
Marinwood
Marshall
Mill Valley
Mission Rafael
Muir Beach
Muir Woods
Nicasio
Novato
Olema
Point Reyes Station
Ross
San Anselmo
San Geronimo
San Marin
San Quentin
San Rafael
Santa Venetia
Sausalito
Sleepy Hollow
Stinson Beach
Strawberry Point
Tamal
Tamalpais Valley
Terra Linda
Tiburon
Tomales
Woodacre

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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 power companies in Marin County.

Know the answer to the following questions:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified solar energy company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • What do I expect from my investment in a solar power system?
  • 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
Interview Questions to Use When You Meet with Local Solar Installers

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

Use the following questions to be sure you get the answers you need to make an educated decision:

  • How will the solar 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 Marin County?
  • How long does a solar installation usually take?
  • When can I receive a written estimate for my solar power installation?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Marin County Solar Contractors

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality solar panel installations from solar companies in Marin County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified solar installer 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 solar contractors. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by Marin County solar companies are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. Instead, most solar panel contractors will give you a list of customers to call that they know were satisfied with their new solar installations.

    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 from your solar installation as you expected?
    • 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 a solar energy installation?
    • How did the federal and state incentives affect your ability to pay for the solar investment?
    • Do you have any advice or information we haven’t touched on yet?
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  • Review Your Options
    Simplify Your Solar Panel Installation

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

    Learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar company much easier. 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 a explanation.

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  • How To Work With
    Before You Hire a Solar Contractor in Marin County

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar contractor/installer 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 contractor/installer in Marin County and the greater Bay Area, 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. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If a Diamond Certified solar contractor isn’t available in your area, you will have to do some research on your own. Once you have found a solar company you want to hire, make certain that the company is properly licensed. All contractors performing work valued at $500 or more must hold a current valid license from the Contractors’ State License Board. All state-issued licenses can be checked at the CSLB website for validity and any complaints that have been filed against the contractors in question.

    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.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Solar Energy Customer?

    It’s the solar panel installation company’s responsibility put in quality solar arrays using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your new solar system, too.

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Marin County solar contractor.

    • Be clear in all of your dealings with your solar company. Let them know what you want from your solar system investment, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you hire a solar company in Marin County, restate your goals and reiterate your understanding of the agreement. By being clear about your expectations, you can help avoid miscommunications and keep most conflicts from occurring.
    • Ask your Marin County solar contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates on your solar panel installation services.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re installing your new solar panels. The work will move along more smoothly if your solar contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your solar panel contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the solar installation services on schedule.
    • Pay for the solar panels and solar energy system installation as agreed upon in your original contract.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Solar contractor and installers in Marin 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
Check the Completed Solar Panel Installation

When your new solar installation is complete, check your invoice to make certain you received the product and installation services you contracted for. Compare the estimate you were given to the final price on the invoice.

Politely but firmly request explanations for any discrepancies. Honest mistakes can happen; however, checking the invoice can help you catch and correct them promptly.

Review your invoice and make sure it 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
Written Guarantees Will Protect You and Your New Solar Panels

Written warranties will help protect you and your home against faulty solar panels and poor installation. So insist that your Marin solar company provide you with written documentation for all guarantees offered by the manufacturers and the installation company.

Complete written guarantees should include:

  • The Marin 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 solar panel warranty must be in writing.
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Top 10 Requests
Commonly Requested Solar System Brands in Marin County

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 Marin County. Some companies have established reputations for reliability, while others are newer companies working with exciting advancements in the solar industry.

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 
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.

Sunpower Corporation
Sunpower Corporation offers photovoltaic arrays of several types to residential and commercial customers, government customers, and power plant customers. Sunpower offers up to a 25-year warrantee on their products and on installation by their network of dealers.

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
Terra Solar specializes in photovoltaic panels 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 photovoltaic solar panels (BIPV).

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Glossary Of Terms
Glassary 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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