Diamond Certified Company Report

Clean Solar, Inc.

Diamond Certified Company Report

Clean Solar, Inc.

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 173 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

John G.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They came in and got it done.

They were very friendly, and I have recommended them to several people.

Jeff B.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were easy to work with, and they did what they said they would do. I actually bought the panels for a client of mine. They were courteous, clean, and got the job done. They were very helpful making sure the design of the roof would accommodate the panels.

They were very helpful, friendly, and courteous. I didn't have to micro manage them and that made my job easier.

George R.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very professional and did a great job. Their pricing was reasonable.

They were responsive, and I like the representative Josh. He answered all my questions and was very helpful.

Read All 173 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Randy Zechman, co-owner and CEO

Clean Solar, Inc. is an award-winning residential and commercial solar installer in the Bay Area. The company designs, installs and maintains solar power systems that meet its clients’ electricity needs. It offers a 15-year production guarantee and full solar warranty for all workmanship. Clean Solar provides its clients with options when selecting solar panels, inverters and even financing, which include cash, $0 down lease (customers just pay for the power), loans and PACE. “Our team provides unparalleled customer service and attention to detail with every solar installation,” says co-owner and CEO Randy Zechman. “We always offer free home evaluations, quotes and no-pressure conversations about solar solutions.”

To keep pace with the fast moving industry, Clean Solar implements cutting-edge technology in every aspect of its operations. “A premier example is when micro-inverters were introduced into the market,” says Mr. Zechman. “We became the third largest micro-inverter installer in Northern California. We’ve always dedicated significant resources to research and development.”

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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.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Clean Solar, Inc.

Service AREA

The Bay Area

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SERVICES PERFORMED

Solar
Maintenance
Site Survey
Financial Analysis
Design
Installation
Electric & Photovoltaic Solar
Residential, Commercial & Municipal

BRANDS Supported
  • LG

  • SMA

  • Sunpower

  • Enphase

  • SolarWorld

  • ABB

  • Q-Cells

  • SolarEdge

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Clean Solar, Inc.

Company Profile

Clean Solar, Inc. is an award-winning residential and commercial solar installer in the Bay Area. The company designs, installs and maintains solar power systems that meet its clients’ electricity needs. It offers a 15-year production guarantee and full solar warranty for all workmanship. Clean Solar provides its clients with options when selecting solar panels, inverters and even financing, which include cash, $0 down lease (customers just pay for the power), loans and PACE. “Our team provides unparalleled customer service and attention to detail with every solar installation,” says co-owner and CEO Randy Zechman. “We always offer free home evaluations, quotes and no-pressure conversations about solar solutions.”

To keep pace with the fast moving industry, Clean Solar implements cutting-edge technology in every aspect of its operations. “A premier example is when micro-inverters were introduced into the market,” says Mr. Zechman. “We became the third largest micro-inverter installer in Northern California. We’ve always dedicated significant resources to research and development.”

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Company Philosophy

"Our primary goal is to listen to every customer and do our best to provide them with the optimal solar solution for their home. Every client has unique ideas about their project, so we listen, educate and move forward through clear communication with everyone involved, from the salesperson and project manager to the finance and installation team."

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Comparative Summary

Maintaining customer satisfaction is a crucial aspect of any business, but it’s even more important for solar companies that have earned the prestigious Diamond Certified award. For Clean Solar, Inc., achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is a direct result of a classic business approach: take care of every client like they’re the only one. “In today’s business environment, you won’t last very long if you’re not taking care of your customers,” says owner/CEO Randy Zechman. “Customer service is the most important thing. You have to make it personal with each customer and treat them like gold. We try to do that every day.”

Clean Solar has been designing, installing and maintaining solar electric photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential and commercial clients throughout the Bay Area since 2006. The company’s experienced technicians are specially trained to perform rooftop and ground mount solar panel installations, and they follow strict quality assurance guidelines at all times. Clean Solar also provides complimentary site surveys and offers financing options that include leases, PPAs, and secured and unsecured loans.

Unlike solar companies that place little emphasis on employee development, Clean Solar’s technicians are constantly working to increase their knowledge of the systems they install. “We do a lot of technological research,” explains Mr. Zechman. “Before we even sign a contract with a customer, we’re already determining the best products to use. There’s a lot of product advancement in this field, so staying at the forefront is exceptionally important. Once the contract is signed, our research doesn’t stop. We perform very detailed onsite inspections to make sure everything is done correctly, and after the installation, we hire a third party company to do an audit so we can see exactly how the system is functioning.”

Another distinguishing feature of Clean Solar is its dedication to developing long-term relationships with its clients. The company’s employees start every project by educating the customer about electricity costs, the benefits of solar, and rebates and tax credits. After all that information is discussed, they build a system that fits the client’s particular needs. “We do it all, from engineering to commissioning a system and everything in between–even the paperwork,” says Mr. Zechman. “We also have the industry’s longest warranty and production guarantee, so when little issues come up, we often eat the cost of those small expenses to keep customer satisfaction high. We believe that’s the right thing to do.”

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Industry Info

Choosing between grid-tied and off-grid solar systems is the first step in making the transition to solar. Compare the two types of systems and consider the pros and cons of each in the detailed list below.

Off-grid systems
Off-grid solar systems are powered solely with the energy generated by the system’s panels. “An off-grid system gives you the ability to operate separately from the utilities, because you’re producing your own power and don’t have to pay an electric bill every month,” explains Randy Zechman, owner/CEO of Clean Solar, Inc. in San Jose. “The downside is you have to pay close attention to the amount of energy you use.”

Advantages
• Off-grid systems allow homeowners to build in remote areas where there are no power lines or limited access to power utilities. They can be thousands of dollars cheaper than having power cables installed.
• No electricity bills
• No electric rate hikes
• You’ll have access to power when grid-reliant customers face power outages, grid outages and rolling blackouts.
• You’ll reduce your carbon footprint and decrease your dependence on energy through more efficient use of power.

Disadvantages
• You’ll need room to store large solar batteries and a battery bank.
• You must closely monitor energy usage so you don’t run out of power. Inclement weather for several days can drain the batteries.
• Off-grid systems can be expensive and may be ineligible for tax credits and rebates. A typical off-grid system costs twice as much as other systems per kilowatt-hour. This is due to the high costs of setup and maintenance.
• You won’t have access to power if weather, natural disasters or accidents damage or destroy your solar panels or solar system.
• Routine maintenance (charging and replacing batteries, adding water, panel upkeep) can be expensive and time consuming.
• It’s uncommon for banks to finance off-grid systems.

Grid-tied systems
Grid-tied systems are linked with power utilities, which enable the home to use the power generated by the solar system as well as power from the local utility. These systems can also feed power back into the grid during times of low usage and high production.

Advantages
• Backup power is available through the public utility (PG&E) if the solar system goes down or is damaged. • Any excess power the solar system generates can be sold back to the power grid.
• Power from the grid can be lowered or even free in the case of inclement weather or emergencies.
• Some systems can be designed to allow transitioning to a completely off-grid system.

Disadvantages
• Homes must be located close to power lines, as grid-tied power systems require connection with the local utility. The system will draw from this power source during times of low sun and to supplement the power usage.
• Grid-tied system installations require large roof surface areas in sunny locations (for panel placement).
• Most grid-tied systems aren’t large enough to fully power a home, so you’ll still incur some energy costs. The majority of grid-tied system owners report savings up to 50 percent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Am I eligible for an energy rebate?

A: We’re happy to explain the process and determine if you’re eligible for any rebates. Most people understand there’s some type of governmental funding available, but they don’t know the details. We can explain that for you.

Q: Are your prices competitive?

A: Yes, but we always clarify that it’s impossible to give a quote for a solar power system off-the-shelf like you can with products from stores. We can give a generic number that tells you what the rough cost will be per kilowatt, but that changes from year to year. The price really depends on your home and the unique attributes of a particular solar system. That’s why it’s important to have an in-home estimate.

Q: What type of modules do you use?

A: We mostly use Sun Power and Sun Tech modules, but we’re basically product neutral from a module standpoint.

Q: How do your financing plans work?

A: We have several plans available and can talk to you about the plan that best fits your needs. Most customers who ask for financing choose leases, many of which are zero down.

Q: How do your teaching credentials benefit your customers?

A: We’re the only solar installer in Northern California that’s a publicly accredited school teacher. We’re certified by the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) to teach solar installation classes at a public vocational school for the San Jose Unified School District. Essentially, we’re training the next generation of installers, which also allows us to pick the best performing students and add them to our top-notch staff. Even other NABCEP-certified companies take the test we teach. That means we’re on the next level when it comes to installation methods, and our technicians are trained to those standards, which ultimately benefits our customers.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Clean Solar, Inc.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Randy Zechman

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Randy Zechman is owner of Clean Solar, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (877) 503-5716 or by email.

Randy Zechman: Solar Energized

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SAN JOSE — A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Randy Zechman knows a good business opportunity when he sees it, so as soon as he looked into the solar energy industry, he knew he needed to get involved. “Clean Solar, Inc. is the third business I’ve started—I previously owned a publishing company and a catering business,” he says. “When I started looking at solar a decade ago, I saw a lot of opportunity. There was a lot of room for growth, and the industry was inundated with contractors that were good at installation but struggled with aspects like marketing and customer relations. I decided to found a solar company that could excel at all these aspects and raise the bar for the industry. Eight years later, that’s exactly what Clean Solar has done.”

Today, Randy expresses an enjoyment for numerous aspects of his career. “I like talking to our clients, as well as training our employees and watching them develop from rookies into solid, contributing members of the team,” he says. “I also enjoy the sales process behind solar. Compared to most products, it’s a pretty easy sell. The truth is, if your monthly electric bill is more than $125 and you get sun on your roof, you’re going to benefit from the investment.”

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Randy migrated to the Bay Area 16 years ago, where he now resides with his wife, Alisa, and their children, Maya and Shae. “I’m a big believer in the idea that you have to find a place and people you feel at home around,” he says. “As an energetic, active-minded guy, the pace and mentality of the Midwest never really suited me, but when I came to California, I immediately felt like I was in my element.”

Outside of work, Randy engages in a variety of active pastimes. “I’m the kind of guy who’ll climb the tallest mountain one day and swim the deepest sea the next,” he laughs. “I really like physical activities like hiking, scuba diving, basketball and competing in triathlons. However, I also like to exercise my mind with activities like yoga and meditation.” Additionally, Randy says he enjoys taking his family on outdoor excursions. “I like my girls to get outdoors, explore and get a little dirty, which is something I don’t think kids do enough of these days. We do a camping trip every year, but even if we’re just driving and I happen to see a good climbing tree, I’ll pull over so we can climb it!”

In his life and career, Randy espouses the importance of seizing the day. “I really take the phrase ‘carpe diem’ to heart,” he says. “I think a lot of people sleepwalk through life, so I try to be extra intentional and make the most of every moment and opportunity. Like I said earlier, when I see a climbable tree, I pull over and climb it instead of saying, ‘Let’s remember that tree,’ only to forget about it a month later.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Randy says he’d take his family on an international expedition. “I would get a one-way plane ticket and travel the world with my wife and kids. Just kind of take that ‘carpe diem’ idea to the next level.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: I’m from Cleveland, so I’m a fan of the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians.

Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played golf, basketball and baseball.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: My favorite show of all time is “Lost,” but my current favorite is “True Detective.”

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

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

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Expert articles
  • Financing Your Solar Installation with PACE

    SAN JOSE — You’re certainly seeing more homes in your neighborhood with solar panels on their roofs. You’re likely wondering if solar is a good choice for your family and if can you afford it. Some consumers do pay cash for their solar systems, but the majority of consumers don’t pay for solar upfront, opting instead for financing options like prepaid leases, PPAs, low-interest loans or the latest option, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

    PACE is sponsored by state and local government and is designed to help California homeowners finance energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations. What’s more, PACE offers several benefits over other financing options. For one, you can choose to finance your system for anywhere between five and 25 years, with no prepayment penalties, which gives you a lot of flexibility in your payment schedule. Another perk is it allows you to defer your initial payments for up to 18 months.

    PACE financing ties the solar installation payments to your property taxes and your home, not the individual. That way, if you end up moving or selling your home, your payment will be transferred to the next owner. Also, since the solar system is tied to the property, the interest on your payments is tax deductible.

    An additional benefit is that even homeowners with low credit scores can qualify for financing through PACE. So, if you’re interested in solar but have been dissuaded by the costs involved, now is the time to contact a local solar installer and inquire about financing with PACE. It could be the best investment you ever make!

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Expert video tip
  • Video: Financing Your Solar Installation with PACE

    Complete Video Transcription:

    SAN JOSE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Whether you’re planning to lease or purchase a solar energy system, there’s a new financing option you should know about. Today we’re in San Jose with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Randy Zechman of Clean Solar to learn about it.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Randy Zechman: Most people think buying solar can be expensive. And, if you pay for it with cash, it can be. The truth is, the majority of the market pays for it with financing, or doesn’t pay anything up front. So, there’s zero-down leases and PPAs. You can also get really low financing like 2.99% loans. And there’s prepaid leases.

    But the interesting tip here is a thing called Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. Most folks don’t know about this because it’s fairly new. There are lots of benefits to this, but one of them is that you can finance it over 5 to 25 years, so there’s some flexibility in payments. You can defer your initial payments for up to 18 months. You can own it, or use a lease to pay for it. So, you can own it if you want to do that, or you can get the benefits that a lease provides.

    It’s tied to the home and not the person, meaning that if there’s a transfer or sale of the house, it’s going to go with the house – the payment goes with the house and not with the person. So, the new person that owns it just picks up the payment. There’s a tax deductible piece to it. That’s what makes the financing work here – basically makes the payment lower, because it’s on your property taxes. And like your property taxes are tax deductible, so is this.

    And maybe the biggest selling point is you don’t have to have a good FICO score. So, low credit scores are ok, because it’s tied to your home you don’t need a good FICO score. So, for all of these reasons, I think PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is the future of solar – in residential solar market.

    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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Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Clean Solar, Inc.
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 173 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Clean Solar, Inc. : Average 9.4 out of 10 based on 173 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

John G.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They came in and got it done.

They were very friendly, and I have recommended them to several people.

Jeff B.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were easy to work with, and they did what they said they would do. I actually bought the panels for a client of mine. They were courteous, clean, and got the job done. They were very helpful making sure the design of the roof would accommodate the panels.

They were very helpful, friendly, and courteous. I didn't have to micro manage them and that made my job easier.

George R.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very professional and did a great job. Their pricing was reasonable.

They were responsive, and I like the representative Josh. He answered all my questions and was very helpful.

Mita R.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

4 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

If you need solar, go with them. They did a great job, and they followed through after the job was completed.

The panels were installed 2 years ago, but I recently had a problem. It had to go through my homeowners association, and Clean Solar took care of all the permits, stuck to the timetable, and kept me informed every step of the way.

Kevan Z.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

5 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were professional and efficient.

Again, they were professional.

Ron M.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

6 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very thorough, and they delivered what they said they would.

We interviewed six different solar companies, and we like the fact that they offered the best options. They were very informative, and didn't just push one thing.

Donald B.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

7 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I have recommended them to several people. It was the most drama free construction project I've ever been involved in.

They did what they said they would do.

Keir R.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

8 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very professional and informative. They are a great company.

They were upfront, there was nothing hidden, great craftsmanship and a fair price.

Mark C.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

9 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were highly professional, and they did what they said they would do. They were on time and on budget.

The clarity of communication

Scott K.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

10 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They look like they've been in business a long time, and they seem very reputable.

They were easy to work with.

Peter K.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

11 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were technically very strong and understood all the issues. They were the best.

They were focused on getting a positive outcome.

Lorrin S.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

12 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very knowledgeable, professional, and great communicators. It was an all around great experience.

What set them apart was, instead of bad mouthing the competition, they stuck to selling their services. It was completely stress free. They answered all my questions, and they were very responsive and respectful of my house.

Janet P.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

13 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I was sick at the time and their sales rep was so wonderful. He was easy, it was not the stressful situation it could have been.

I did a lot of research, and they were a local company, and that made a difference to me.

Howell W.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

14 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a great job. The sales rep was very knowledgeable and helpful. He laid everything out for me.

They were very objective and put together a plan that fit for me. They didn't just push a particular line of services.

Xuan L.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

15 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very efficient, and they stuck to the timeline.

I think they did a very good job, and they were very helpful.

Bob G.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

16 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

It was a very good experience, and I have referred several people to them.

They were easy to understand, and they had it all laid out for me. They kept within budget, and they were on time.

Gerald W.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

17 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would say, their professionalism. They gave us all the information and answered my questions. They made it all happen.

They were very helpful and went to great lengths to explain everything to me.

Angie P.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

18 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a great job surveying, and they were very responsive. They helped us choose the right amount of panels for maximum efficiency.

The rep we worked with, Marcia, was great. She always followed up and let us know what was going on.

Lawrence W.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

19 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very organized, and the project management was satisfactory.

I liked the fact that I had one point of contact.

Ahilan A.

VERIFIED Clean Solar, Inc. CUSTOMER

20 of 173

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're very friendly, very straightforward in terms of the pricing, they have very competitive pricing, and I didn't feel like they were making a hard sale. I was referred to them by a friend and everything went smoothly.

How straightforward they are and their financing, they didn't try to sell me on something that didn't make sense, and that certainly helped a lot.

Read All 173 Survey Responses at Ratings View