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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Solar Companies Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®?

Photo: SolarUnion (2016)

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 and Helpful Expertise® 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 and Helpful Expertise®–a 90+ on a 100 scale–and pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified Resource 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 San Francisco – Solar CATEGORY

Karissa Gallo is a senior energy consultant at SolarUnion, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (415) 236-2966 or by email.

Karissa Gallo

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Karissa Gallo: Renewable Enthusiasm

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Karissa Gallo started working in the renewable energy field while living in New York, but it wasn’t until she moved to sunny California that solar power became her primary focus. “I’ve always been passionate about making a difference for the environment,” she says. “I started out working for a company that sold wind and hydro power. When I decided to move from New York to California, I hoped to continue my career in the Green energy industry. Since I was coming to a state with lots of sunshine, solar seemed like the obvious way to go, so I got involved. It’s been great so far!”

Today, as a senior energy consultant at SolarUnion, Karissa says her favorite part of her job is the opportunity to make a positive impact. “By selling solar, we offer homeowners and businesses a lot of financial advantages, but on a deeper level, what we do actually affects the planet. That’s what gets me excited—to know what I’m doing is making a difference, both in people’s lives and for the greater global good.”

As a resident of Vallejo (where she lives with her partner, Mingo), Karissa says she appreciates her central proximity to all the Bay Area has to offer. “I love living near San Francisco, with all its culture, beautiful scenery and fun things to do. I also like the fact that we’re close to Lake Tahoe, which gives us easy access to the snow and outdoor activities.”

Outside of work, Karissa fills her free time with a wide range of creative and active pursuits. “Mingo and I are both musicians, and we have a band called Room of Voices that performs around the Bay Area,” she says. “We love to be creative and inspire others with our music. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, mountain biking, snowboarding—basically anything to do with nature, which is tied to my passion for protecting the environment.”

In regard to her professional career, Karissa espouses the value of taking a client-centered approach. “When working with clients, my main priority is to treat them the way I’d want to be treated,” she affirms. “Rather than taking a sales-like approach, I prefer to take on more of a consultant role, wherein I take the time to get to know my clients, ask questions and determine their needs. At the end of the day, this approach enables me to formulate the best option for each client’s particular needs.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Karissa says she would devote more time to charitable service. “Helping others has always been a passion of mine, so if I was no longer doing that through my work, I’d do it on a volunteer basis. I’m the kind of person who needs to feel like I’m having a positive impact, so that will continue to be a key aspect of whatever I’m doing.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’ve always wanted to check out New Zealand and Australia. Like the Bay Area, I hear they both have really diverse landscapes, with beaches, snow and mountains.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person. I like cats, too, but usually just the ones that act like dogs.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Arti Indian Organic Natural Café in Lagunitas-Forest Knolls.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect music and giraffe paraphernalia. I have a small obsession with giraffes.

Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The drums.

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Optimizing Your Solar Energy System

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SAN FRANCISCO — When switching to solar energy, the goal is to achieve a full electric offset for 25 years—that is, 25 years with no electricity bills. However, in order to attain this level of energy production, you’ll need a system… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Considerations for Solar Installation

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning to purchase a solar energy system, it’s important to look beyond the panels and consider some lesser-known technical aspects.… 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
Solar Power Industries
Sunpower Corporation
Sunwatt Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics
DayStar Technologies
Sanyo Semiconductors
Sharp Manufacturing
Global Solar Energy
Mitsui Comtek
Pacific SolarTech
United Solar Ovonic
Fronius Solar Inverters
SMA Technologies
SunTech
SANYO Energy
Energy Photovoltaics
Atlantis Energy System Inc.
B P Solar
Canrom Photovoltaics
GE Energy
Advent Solar
Evergreen Solar
First Solar
Innergy Power Corp
Kyocera Solar Panels
Matrix Solar Technologies
Sunwize Technologies
Amonix Inc

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

Barbary Coast
Bayview District
Bernal Heights
the Castro
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Excelsior
Financial District
Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
the Haight
Haight-Ashbury
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Japantown
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Presidio
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Sunset District
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
the Presidio
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition

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94102
94103
94104
94105
94107
94108
94109
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94111
94112
94114
94115
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94188

State of California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) (http://www.dca.ca.gov/)
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) (http://www.seia.org/)
California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) (http://calseia.org)
American Solar Energy Society (ASES) (http://www.ases.org/)
Northern California Solar Energy Association (http://www.norcalsolar.org/)…

State of California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) (http://www.dca.ca.gov/)
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) (http://www.seia.org/)
California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) (http://calseia.org)
American Solar Energy Society (ASES) (http://www.ases.org/)
Northern California Solar Energy Association (http://www.norcalsolar.org/)
Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) (www.solarelectricpower.org)

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

Investing in a solar energy system for your home or office is an important decision. You will get the best results from your solar panels if you have some idea of what you want before you begin talking with representatives from solar contractors in San Francisco.

You should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified solar company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  • What do I want 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 using solar panels?
  • Do I want my solar system to generate more electricity than I need so that I can sell some for a profit?
  • Do I want my solar panels to provide hot water and heating/cooling for my home?
  • If I’m interested in generating electricity with my new solar panels, 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 Local Solar Companies in Person

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 and can dictate the solar panel set-up you need.

The following questions will get you started in your in-person interviews with local solar providers:

  • 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, what kind and 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 solar electricity work in San Francisco?
  • How long does a new solar panel installation take?
  • When can I expect to receive a written estimate for the solar panels I’ve chosen?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Solar Panel Installers in San Francisco

    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 from a solar panel company in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company.

    That’s because Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified solar contractor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by the solar companies you’re considering.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by San Francisco solar contractors and installers are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. Instead, references given to customers by solar companies may be cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers.

    For this reason, ask for a list of the solar panel 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?
    • 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?
    • 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
    Before You Hire a San Francisco Solar Power Installation Company

    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 because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process. If you want quality from a solar contractor in San Francisco, you can have confidence 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.

    Once you have found a solar contractor that seems to fit your needs, make certain that the company is properly licensed. All contractors, including solar panel installers, performing work valued at $500 or more must hold a current valid license from the Contractors’ State License Board. 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.

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  • How To Work With
    Before You Hire a San Francisco Solar Power Installation Company

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process. If you want quality from a solar contractor in San Francisco, you can have confidence 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.

    Once you have found a solar contractor that seems to fit your needs, make certain that the company is properly licensed. All contractors, including solar panel installers, performing work valued at $500 or more must hold a current valid license from the Contractors’ State License Board. 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.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Easy Ways You Can Be a Good Solar Energy Customer

    It’s the solar contractor/installer’s responsibility put in quality solar arrays using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your contractor/installer, too.

    First, learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar contractor 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 panels or solar array, but do ask for an explanation.

    Here are a few other simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco solar company:

    • Be clear and upfront with the solar contractor/installer. 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.
    • Before you hire a solar contractor in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the solar panel company representative your understanding of the agreement. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your solar contractor/installer 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 installer can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the solar contractor/installer on schedule.
    • Pay for the work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Solar energy providers in San Francisco 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
Schedule a Walk-Through With Your Solar Contractor

Make certain you know what you are buying and that it meets your specifications before it’s installed.

Once the work is complete, check your solar installation invoice carefully to make certain you received what you have paid for. Compare the estimates you were given to the final prices on the invoice.

Politely but firmly request explanations for discrepancies. Honest mistakes are always a possibility, and checking the final installation against your invoice can help identify them promptly so they can be corrected.

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
Guarantees in Writing to Protect Your Solar Panel Investment

Written warranties will protect you and your home against faulty solar systems or poor 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 or 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
Top Solar Installation Brand Requests

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 San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

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.

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

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 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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