Member Letters

What our members say about us

Sept. 16, 2002

It is our pleasure to write a recommendation letter for Cooperative Community Energy.

We have been looking for the opportunity to go solar for many years now. The reason for the delay was the intimidating amount of information required to bring everything together: requirement analysis, design, financing, permits, contractor research, equipment research, etc.

The co-op helped us out as promised from the initial design to the installation and all the paperwork. Our installation was small, but in some ways challenging: our roof is facing east and west only. No good access to a south-facing roof. In addition, there are many trees that shade parts of the roof during the day. To overcome the problems of the roof orientation we explored a number of alternative designs that involved different number of panels, different inverters and different panel orientations and locations. Through the co-op members we had access to a pool of knowledge that proved invaluable. They were very well informed and very keen to find the best solution for out situation. After we explored out options and reached a decision, we used the co-op's Solar Pathfinder to find the panel locations that maximize energy production.

CCEnergy recommended three pre-qualified contractors, experienced with solar installations. After discussing our installation with them, we decided to work with Roy Phillips, who did an excellent and thorough job. He brought in a structural engineer to inspect the roof. In accordance to the engineer's analysis we reinforced the roof for the panel weight and wind-load. On the days of installation volunteers from the co-op came and assisted with the installation, giving the whole experience the feeling of a barn raising.

One of the areas that the co-op proved most useful was dealing with the required paperwork. The number of applications is intimidating. PG&E, CEC, the city of San Anselmo, the Fire Department, they all need a number of forms to be filled out, and for each a number of supporting documents. Furthermore, the clerks one deals with are not well informed and you get different answers depending on whom you talk to. (Clearly the required bureaucracy for home Solar installation needs to be reduced.) The co-op, headed by Dan Pellegrini, took care of all of the paperwork for us.

The co-op proved very useful during the inspections. Inspectors are not yet familiar with solar installations. The city of San Anselmo had no problems passing inspection, but the Fire Department did, and asked for modifications that were not required by code. Dan Pellegrini took on the case: he did the research and collected the information that proved the installation was in accordance to code. The Fire Department subsequently approved the installation.

All in all, the co-op made this a good experience for us, almost too easy. Equally important, it brought us in touch with a community of members who are making a commitment to solar energy.

Marios Leventopoulos and Charlotte Pilgrim
San Anselmo, California


Dan Pellegrini
CCEnergy
453 Fourth Street, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901-1653

Dear Dan,

I want to write to tell you how pleased I am with the solar installation that CCEnergy helped me with, and to recommend CCEnergy to others who are considering installation of solar power systems.

The assistance I received in all stages of the project was impressive. Don Barch did a great job of providing me with information to help me decide what kind of system to purchase, how much I could expect it to produce, and how it could be installed on my roof. Scott Ragsdale made it easy to actually purchase the system. Don's knowledge of the permitting process made it easy to obtain the necessary permits, and spared me a great deal of hassle. In a city like Cupertino, where knowledge of solar energy systems in the Building Department is pretty minimal, that's no small feat.

Don and Roy Padilla showed great patience with my constantly wanting to "help" in the installation, and it's hard to imagine how (outside of getting greater cooperation from the weather gods) installation could have proceeded much more quickly. There were two significant glitches during the construction, and their assistance (along with others at CCEnergy) greatly minimized the headaches that I directly experienced as result. The first glitch came at final inspection, when the inspector expressed some concerns about whether the system was too heavy for the roof. Don's knowledge of the code tables was invaluable in convincing the city inspectors that the system weight was in fact within code limits for my roof. The second glitch came when the inverter was not producing as much power as expected. CCEnergy was instrumental in convincing Kyocera to deliver an upgraded inverter, which was installed at no additional cost to me. That's customer service!

The co-op's assistance with PG&E was also very valuable. As PG&E constantly dropped the ball on the paperwork, CCEnergy was there, calling the right people within PG&E to ensure that the process continued to move forward, and final approval from PG&E was obtained.

Over this last summer, my solar panels supplied approximately 80% of my electrical consumption. It is so cool to see my meter run backwards. Solar power is real, and is making a clean contribution to California's energy supply. My panels are part of that contribution. I'd encourage anyone who wants to make their own contribution to solving our energy supply problems to consider working with CCEnergy.

Very truly yours,

Ken Brown
Cupertino, California


September 10, 2002

Dan Pellegrini
CCEnergy
453 Fourth Street, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901-1653

Dear Dan,

Hal and I would like to commend you on the fine job you did on the installation of our five-kilowatt solar panel array. The design you created was excellent. Having all the permits and bureaucratic paperwork handled expeditiously was a great plus. And tracking the buyback money from the state was most helpful. Your work in following the legislative process that threatened renewable energy and in rallying support for the continuity of the buyback, net metering, and the tax credit was a labor of love. Both Hal and I thank you for your effort.

The work done by Roy Phillips Construction, Inc. was first rate. Our solar array looks really beautiful and easily passed the building inspection as well as the PG&E inspection. Roy Phillips himself consulted with me on how to route the wires so that they do not show at all as they go from the panels to the meter. Roy Phillips and his crew went out of their way to be an unobtrusive as possible and to finish as quickly as possible.

Thanks for the fine job, Dan. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Linda Kramer
Tiberon, California


August 20, 2002

Scott Ragsdale
Cooperative Community Energy
534 Fourth Street, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901-1653

Dear Scott,

Muir Commons Homeowners Association received our first "post-PV" utility bill last week and we were pleasantly surprised to see a mere $10.00 fee for electricity. Usually our Common House is air conditioned during the peak summer months and our bills reach $350.00 or more. Clearly we have made one giant step closer to sustainability.

The pleasure of living with a photovoltaic power system can hardly compare to the fantastic joy that our entire community derived from the opportunity to host a PV installation workshop at our facility to coincide with the installation of the PV system itself. Without your support for this endeavor, it would certainly have never happened. Fifteen attendees from Canada, Florida, Colorado, Utah, and Southern California all came away from our training ready to initiate a new career. There are untold hundreds of people that we will have eventually affected once their knowledge and skills are put into action to install PV systems on their clients' homes.

And while coordinating and providing excellent services to execute the workshop, CCEnergy also fulfilled its role as supplier of the highest quality equipment and services for the entire photovoltaic system. Scott's experience with the PV industry meant that we had access to the highest quality installer, Sine Electric, and other staff presenters for the workshop syllabus. But as you know, the responsibilities for a PV system do not end with the final connection of wires.

Scott and CCEnergy responsibly and ethically carried out the duties necessary to secure the California Energy Commission buydown rebate and Pacific Gas & Electric E-Net metering agreement. Our rebate check arrived right on schedule.

On behalf of the Muir Commons Homeowners Association, I would like to extend our sincerest gratitude for the services you provided above and beyond the normal call of duty. I can highly recommend Scott Ragsdale and the other CCEnergy staff for any future photovoltaic system installations and related services.

Sincerely,

Charles Ehrlich, President
Muir Commons Homeowners Association
Davis, California

Recent postscript:

"... I'm almost beside myself with excitement! I received a phone call from a California Franchise Tax Board representative in response to my question about whether the individual members of our homeowners association are eligible to claim a portion of the 15% photovoltaic system tax credit on their state tax returns, based on their pro-rata share of ownership of Muir Commons' common property ... The answer was 'YES'!!! ..."

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