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?

Photo: Clean Solar, Inc. (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 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 San Mateo County – Solar CATEGORY

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

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

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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Financing Your Solar Installation with PACE

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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… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Financing Your Solar Installation with PACE

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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… 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

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

renewable energy systems
solar panels
solar energy systems
solar electricity
solar generators
solar photovoltaic panel installation
solar hot water heating
solar inverters
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

Atherton
Belmont
Brisbane
Broadmoor Village
Burlingame
Colma
Daly City
East Palo Alto
El Granada
Emerald Hills
Foster City
Half Moon Bay
Hillsborough
La Honda
Loma Mar
Menlo Park
Millbrae
Montara
Moss Beach
Pacifica
Palomar Park
Pescadero
Portola Valley
Princeton by the Sea
Redwood City
San Bruno
San Carlos
San Gregorio
San Mateo
Sharp Park
South SF
West Menlo Park
Woodside

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94011
94014
94015
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94017
94018
94019
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94021
94025
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94044
94060
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94128
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Know What You Want
Know What You Want from Your New Solar Panel Installation

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 San Mateo County.

Be able to answer the following:

  • 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 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
Questions to Ask in Person about Local Solar Providers

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, which solar panels do you recommend 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 electricity work in San Mateo County?
  • How long does an installation take?
  • When can I receive a written estimate?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for Clients of San Mateo Solar Contractors

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar provider 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 San Mateo 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 you can’t find a Diamond Certified solar panel 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 your solar contractor.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by San Mateo solar installation companies 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 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 company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    Questions you may want to as former and current solar clients include:

    • 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 in solar power for your home or business?
    • 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 Mateo Solar Panel 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 installer because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass.

    If a Diamond Certified solar provider isn’t available or suitable, you will have to do some research on your own.

    While performing your searches, you will want to be certain that any solar companies you consider are properly licensed. All contractors 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.

    Help Ensure You Get the Solar System That’s Best for You
    Learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar contractor/installer 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 thorough explanation.

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  • How To Work With
    Before You Hire a San Mateo Solar Panel Installation Company

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified solar installer because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass.

    If a Diamond Certified solar provider isn’t available or suitable, you will have to do some research on your own.

    While performing your searches, you will want to be certain that any solar companies you consider are properly licensed. All contractors 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.

    Help Ensure You Get the Solar System That’s Best for You
    Learning the basic terms and concepts of solar energy will make your working relationship with your solar contractor/installer 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 thorough explanation.

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

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

    Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Mateo County solar company.

    • Be clear and upfront with the solar contractor you’ve hired for your solar panel installation services. 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 will help diffuse a tense situation and can help preserve your working relationship with your solar contractor.
    • Before you hire a solar installer in San Mateo County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the solar contractor/installer representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local solar contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. You can avoid most conflicts by being clear about your expectations and theirs,.
    • 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 contractor/installer can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the solar panel installation on schedule.
    • Pay for the new solar panels and solar installation services promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer?

    Solar contractors in San Mateo 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
Review Your Invoice and the Completed Solar Panel Installation

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 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 can be made; checking the invoice can help correct them promptly.

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 warranties or guarantees provided by the solar panel manufacturers and the solar installation company.
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Written Warranties
Insist on Written Guarantees for All New Solar Panel Installations

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 San Mateo County 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 transferable 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

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 Mateo 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.

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 temperatures.

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 warranty, 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 warranty 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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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, bio-fuel, 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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