We are writing this letter to express our gratitude for your delivery of excellent service, stellar expertise, and the overall integrity of your company, so aptly named.
When we started “shopping around” for solar energy we were faced with what we thought would be an easy exercise. The internet led us right to the biggest solar companies out there. Early on we decided to buy verses lease and we interviewed 4 companies. The sales pitches sounded like one size fits all. What became evident to me was that these “big box” companies (located from Sacramento to the Bay area) were all overselling us and playing on our vulnerability as non-savvy consumers to overproduce energy. This means we would unnecessarily be purchasing several thousand dollars more in product that wasn’t needed. There was a pressure to make a decision in a timely way with incentives. We felt “sold to” and not at all comfortable with rushing this decision. Then we had an idea to ask around for local companies and a friend led us to your company via a satisfied customer.
What distinguished your company from the rest was that you are not just in the business of selling solar but are an energy company that offers solar as part of the formula for achieving a sustainable energy status.
Moreover, you showed us that we needed less solar panels to produce just the right amount of energy for our home and ultimately saved ourselves a substantial amount of money. The fact that you are a local business and being self-contained (providing your own hand- picked installation and maintenance team) made us more secure. Additionally, your company could start the project the following week, and have it up and running in a couple of weeks, while the other companies all told us that it would take 60-90 days for project completion. The added bonus of Owner, Ray Darby, Energy Engineer, performing an extensive energy efficiency assessment on our home as part of the agreement was unexpected and invaluable.
SmithThe process of our solar installation went without a hitch and your installation team was personable, professional, meticulous and respectful. The lines of communication have been wide open and your response to our questions has been immediate and informative. Being witness to how all ranks of your company work as a team is refreshing and seamless. Mr. Darby’s passion for sustainable energy and excellent customer service is reflected throughout the company.
We look forward to a long relationship with your company as we monitor and maintain our solar production efficiency. We also appreciate the invitation to consult with Mr. Darby at any time regarding any energy concerns or changes we make in our home.

With Gratitude,
Marcia Craig-Smith and Roger D. Smith, November 26, 2015

MikeBrattonRobin and I would like to commend your company, Sustainable Energy Group, for the excellent service from start to finish. The installation of our solar system is clean, was completed on schedule & is a very nice addition to the value of our home. Along with your energy savings suggestions that came with your energy analysis, our pay back on cost will be approximately 5 years. Our PG&E bills are down approximately 50%. We are happy customers!

~ Mike & Robin Bratton (2009)

Barber SolarWhen shopping for solar, we met our match in Ray Darby. He answered our many questions, introduced us to the micro-inverters uniquely designed for sites like ours, provided a clean, professional installation, and spent hours exploring options for energy savings in our home. In addition, Ray is easy to work with and a nice guy. He has our recommendation.

~ Mike & Leila Barber

None of the other contractors came even close to being as thorough as you were in explaining the program to us in terms we could understand, estimating our savings compared to our cost, completing the installation of the panels we chose, and taking care of the details for us with PG&E. We were especially impressed with how you took the time to evaluate our energy use habits, inspected our home for energy leaks, and showed us how we could further save with energy conservation. We continue to appreciate your contribution to energy conservation by the informative and interesting articles you write for the Union newspaper. We have never regretted our decision to install our solar panels or our decision to engage your company to install them for us. You gave us great service, great advice, and completed the installation in a professional manner. Please feel free to use our name as a reference for your service and for Sustainable Energy Group.

~ Jim & Janet Tam

I was so pleased to have chosen Sustainable Energy Group to engineer and install my solar photovoltaic and hot water systems. Ray Darby is a wealth of knowledge and experience and his installation was clean, precise and competently engineered to meet our criteria. Four years later, the systems continue to work flawlessly.”

~ Jeannie Tofanelli

Steve and PennyYour company is the most professional contractor that we’ve worked with in 20 years and we had so much fun with your crew that we were sorry when the job ended.

~ Steve & Penny O’Brien

Ray designed and installed my home photovoltaic array, solar hot water system, and hydronic heating manifold system. Friendly, highly knowledgeable, detail-oriented, on-time, and quality workmanship at a reasonable price. I recommend my clients to Ray and the Sustainable Energy Group for all their alternative energy needs.

~ Paul Racko

Large Commercial Example, 145 kW Photovoltaic System, Colfax, California
This system uses 528 RWE SCHOTT Solar ASE 300 Series Modules. The inverters include an SMA SunnyCentral 125 kW inverter, the first to be installed in the US, so Felix and Darby worked closely with SMA’s engineers from Germany to work out any kinks. The remain PV power was covered by an additional eight SunnyBoy 2500 watt inverters. It is the largest solar power installation in the city of Colfax.

Before committing to a PV system, we wanted to get a better understanding of our energy use and needs. We brought in Ray Darby, from Sustainable Energy Group in Nevada City (CA) and his long-standing partners, Dan and Joanna Felix, from Felix Electric, to do an energy audit of our store and to make recommendations about how we could reduce our energy costs. By adjusting our lighting and controls and installing a cool roof, they determined that a 145kW system from RWE SCHOTT Solar would meet our needs. Ray worked out all the numbers and managed all the paperwork, getting us a 50 percent rebate on the cost of the system from Pacific Gas & Electric. Dan and Joanna managed the system installation.

~ Jeff Pardini, General Manager at Hills Flat Lumber, 530-346-8685

Ray has always been a stand-up person in my world over the many, many years I’ve known him. I’m certain he is always looking out for his customer’s best interests.

~ Dan Felix, Former Owner of Felix Electric

Watson Mini-Storage
Small Commercial Example
14.8 kW Photovoltaic System, Elverta, California.
This system uses 72 Evergreen Solar model ES-A-200-fa3, 205 watt modules. The inverters are SMA model SB7000, 7000 watt inverters.
I have had four solar systems installed by Sustainable Energy Group over the past ten years. Each time the workmanship has been superior and the end product has exceeded my expectations. Sustainable Energy Group is truly committed to a more sustainable future, not just through solar PV, but through their ongoing commitment to sustainability in the broadest sense of the word.
The largest system I have is on my self-storage facility in Elverta, California. When the economy took a downturn in the latter part of 2006 I tried to find ways to keep our profits up. Although I had used Sustainable Energy Group once already I did solicit several bids from other local companies in the Grass Valley, Nevada City area. Sustainable Energy Group spent a lot more time than any of the others assuring I got the best possible system from planning through construction.
Several years after the installation we had a fire in a unit that burned a part of the building under the solar array. They came down and helped us get it up and running again at no charge. I’m glad to know that they are available for follow up and will be around in the future.
The bottom line is that Sustainable Energy Group has always gone above and beyond what might be expected of a company in working with myself and my employees. I have recommended them many times to others and in every case they got the contract. To me, this validates that they are an exemplary company providing a service and equipment at reasonable prices in a very professional manner. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have further questions.

~ Walt Watson, 530-277-6007

Ray has a creative problem solving approach to his energy projects. His passion and knowledge for sustainable systems engineering is unique. I always found Ray to be easy to work with and he has always been focused on results.

~ Robert South, Architect & Planner, principal of Robert South Design Group (415) 488-3504

I first hired Ray as an alternative energy consultant, decades before any of us had even heard the term “alternative energy”. I learned much from him then and I continue to learn from him every time we work together. Ray is a knowledgeable and creative guy who never fails to think outside the box, and whose insights invariably add value to our projects.

~ Brian Bisnett, asla, aicp, Principal at Bisnett Design Associates

Ray is very knowledgeable in energy conservation and the details on how to accomplish this in existing homes. His work is of the highest quality and reflects the passion that he has for his occupation. Ray sells solutions and not just equipment.

~ Bob Bielenberg, Retired from Bielenberg & McCoy HVAC

We have worked with Sustainable Energy Group on several jobs in Nevada County. They are very knowledgeable in energy efficiency and the details on how to accomplish this in existing homes. Their work is of the highest quality and reflects the passion that Ray has for his occupation. They sell solutions and not just equipment.

~ Seth McCoy, The Real McCoy Heating and Air

Whenever I have a question about energy efficiency in my remodeling projects I know that Ray is always there to share his insights and knowledge and provide practical recommendations.

~ Frans Velthuijsen, Owner, Quality & Quantity Construction Services, Inc

Ray has been a valued personal friend for over two decades, but he also designed the radiant floor heating system for my straw bale home. His clear explanations of options, including common-sense analysis of advantages and drawbacks of each option made it easy for my wife and I to make the right decisions about the heating design.

~ Nehemiah Stone, Principal at Stone Energy Associates

Ray is extremely knowledgeable on all things having to do with sustainable living and alternative energy. He is a hard working person of great integrity. I would highly recommend him for any job that you might need done.

~ Lori Lachman, Research and Development at Get Gone Traveler

We had Ray install solar PV and an evaporative cooler on our home, as well as tighten up our ductwork.. He really was a thoughtful contractor, looking out for our best interests during the work, and he was always open to input from me as to how to solve problems that came up during the process. For example, we brainstormed how to use the existing AC ducting to deliver a portion of the air needed for our advanced evaporative cooling system. When posed with unique problems, Ray was not only able to think of unique solutions, but was willing and able to brainstorm solutions with me in a rational manner. I would definitely recommend Ray as a solar contractor.

~ Scott Hickman, Retired Teacher

Ray Darby is the most knowledgeable person I have ever hired. He did a complete energy audit for my home and provided a solar PV system for our home. I intend to use Ray for any of my solar/ alternative energy needs and I will recommend him to anyone needing those services. He is a very nice person to work with too.

~ Mary Margaretich, Realtor at RE/MAX Performance, Inc

If you are looking for someone to consult on solar and energy questions and opportunities, Ray is your guy. He is the most knowledgeable and honest consultant I’ve ever worked with. Great guy on many levels.

~ Tim Ogburn, Owner at S and T Motorsports

Ray did an energy audit at our home in the fall of 2010 and we had our solar system installed through Sustainable Energy Group in 2011. Ray is extremely knowledgeable in the field of solar energy system design for homes and businesses.

~ Suzanne Chapel, CPA at RWS LLP