Edible Monterey Bay

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Solar Technologies: A Local Pioneer in Solar Energy

With so many solar companies around, customers might wonder how in the world they’re supposed to choose among them when searching for a way to reduce home or business electricity costs. There’s so much to consider—everything from commitment to customer service to how the panels themselves are manufactured.

One of the original solar companies in the Monterey Bay area has been refining its approach for almost 20 years. And that’s why Solar Technologies Inc. has been able to provide its customers with superior service, high-quality U.S.-made solar panels and equipment, and experienced personnel—all at a reasonable price.

“We’ve been helping customers save money on their electric bills since 1998,” says Jeff Parr, president of Solar Technologies. “We figure that over the life of the systems we’ve installed, we’ve helped customers save a total of $250 million on their electricity costs. That’s how powerful solar really is.”

Founded in Santa Cruz, and now with offices in both Santa Cruz and San Ramon, Solar Technologies is one of the oldest solar companies in the state. The company does both commercial and residential installations and, because it’s local, is able to precisely fit each system to maximize savings for every customer.

“We know what works and what doesn’t work, because we’ve done so many systems,” says Parr, who notes that being familiar with the local climate, weather patterns and other factors is a distinct advantage.

Solar Technologies is also rolling out a new benefit for area residents who want to learn more about how solar power systems work. Parr notes that a new Solar Learning Center will be opening at the company’s Santa Cruz office at 705 N. Branciforte Ave. by the end of July.

“This will give people the chance to come in and see the equipment for themselves, and we can sit down and create a proposal for them if they’re interested,” says Parr. Solar Technologies is also a certified Tesla dealer and will have Tesla powerwalls on display, showing the many possibilities of this unique home battery system in addition to an electric vehicle charging station.

The current boom in solar systems has given both homes and commercial buildings the capability to generate electricity—not only greatly reducing electric bills, but also creating green, earth-friendly power that reduces your carbon footprint while still providing reliable power for your day-to-day needs.

As soon as the solar system is turned on, it starts generating free electricity from the sun. While there are many factors that can influence your savings—such as, location, shade, system size, utility rates, weather and local policies—the more solar energy you produce, the less electricity you have to buy from the utility company.

Solar Technologies works with customers to find the right finance option, which can include leasing, loans, or a cash purchase. Depending on the size, energy usage and local utility rates, a solar system may pay for itself in five to 10 years. After breaking even through bill savings, customers will enjoy free renewable electricity for the lifetime of the system—usually 25 to 40 years.

Another thing that Solar Technologies takes seriously is its customer service. It’s one of the few solar companies that has its own full-time service department, says Parr, providing faster, better service whenever needed.

The company also does everything it can to find local suppliers and distributors, and is a Master Dealer for SunPower solar systems made in nearby San Jose. It’s one of only a select few solar companies in the state to have earned SunPower’s Master Dealer designation. “SunPower equipment is considered the best in the industry, and among the most powerful and reliable panels you can buy,” says Parr.

Parr points out that Solar Technologies “controls the process from start to finish” using their own employees to install systems, rather than subcontractors—and providing help every step of the way. That’s why having an in-house service department is also vital to great customer service, rather than relying on installers to fix any issues that might arise.

Solar Technologies consistently gets five-star ratings on Yelp and is also a Diamond Certified business, which means they must get a 90-plus rating in highest quality in customer satisfaction. “We really work hard to do right by our customers,” says Parr.

Some of the projects that Solar Technologies has worked on include the Mount Hermon Conference Center in Felton, Oakland Unified School District, Ramar Foods in Pittsburg, the Oakland Zoo, and Geo. H. Wilson mechanical contractors in Santa Cruz. An upcoming project, just announced, is to install Solar Technologies systems for Santa Cruz County office buildings, Parr says.

“We really focus on our local community, retaining our employees, and providing a way for our customers to save money on their electric bill each month,” says Parr.

Solar Technologies Inc. • 705 N. Branciforte Ave., Santa Cruz • 14 Beta Ct., San Ramon • www.solartechnologies.com • 831.359.4348 or 925.939.8300

About the author

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Kathryn McKenzie, who grew up in Santa Cruz and now lives on a Christmas tree farm in north Monterey County, writes about the environment, sustainable living and health for numerous publications and websites. She is the co-author of “Humbled: How California’s Monterey Bay Escaped Industrial Ruin.”