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True Renewable Energy

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13 User Reviews

5.1

Overall Score

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LAST UPDATED: September 14th, 2020

True Renewable Energy has been supplying the San Francisco Bay area of California with cost-effective energy solutions since 1984. In addition to installing high-quality SunPower solar systems for both residential and commercial projects, the solar provider also provides HVAC, windows, and roofing solutions — all with the aim of helping customers save money on their utility bills while remaining eco-friendly.

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The Good

  • Partnership with SunPower
  • Multiple Payment Options

Partnership with SunPower

One of the most compelling endorsements of the quality True Renewable Energy’s solar systems is the company’s partnership with leading solar manufacturer SunPower. As an authorized SunPower installer, True Renewable Energy provides expertise at every step, from initial consultation, to installation, to ongoing customer support.

Panels and Inverters

True Renewable Energy installs the SunPower Equinox™ system, which features some of the highest-quality and energy-efficient equipment on the market. SunPower solar panels and solar inverters come with an equipment warranty of 25 years, meaning the system is covered against flaws and defects for its entire lifetime. Additionally, solar panel systems installed by True Renewable Energy come with a 25-year workmanship warranty, covering the system against any mistakes made during the installation process.

SunPower Mobile App

True Renewable Energy customers have access to the SunPower mobile app (available for both iOS and Android), which consists of a suite of tools geared toward smarter energy management.

  • Usage and Output Data — Through simple, but visually engaging graphs and charts, customers can easily observe the state of their system, the energy the solar system generates, as well as the energy the household consumes. Customers can set specific time ranges on the app as well as observe trends in energy usage and output.
  • Bill Savings Estimator — One helpful feature of the SunPower mobile app is the bill savings estimator, which approximates how much customers have saved on their energy bills over a given period of time.
  • Notifications — Text alerts, messages, and other notifications provide insight, reminders, and suggestions for customers who need to troubleshoot issues affecting their system.
  • Support — The app also provides solar customers with a comprehensive knowledge base, a frequently asked questions menu, and an easy way to contact customer support.

Multiple Payment Options

True Renewable Energy offers a variety of financing options for customers interested in investing in solar energy. Having multiple payment options extends a solar company’s reach to customers of different financial backgrounds and needs, and it allows a greater swath of people to benefit from tax incentives and solar credits:

  • Purchase — For customers who can afford a significant upfront cost, and want to own their system outright.
  • Solar loan — For customers who want to own their system, but need additional help with financing. Solar loans through True Renewable Energy start at 0 percent down.
  • Solar lease — Typically for non-homeowning customers; they will not own the system installed on their rooftop, but can still benefit from the savings it brings.

The company also advertises a discount of $1,500 on any solar project for new customers.

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The Bad

  • Only Available in California
  • No PPA Option
  • Insufficient Online Information

Only Available in California

True Renewable Energy only serves customers living in California, primarily the Bay Area of California. Solar in California is already a competitive and provider-saturated space. Apart from its partnership with SunPower, True Renewable Energy possesses few qualities that set it apart from other California-based solar companies.

No PPA Option

True Renewable Energy does not offer power purchase agreements (PPA) to customers. While PPAs and solar leases function much the same, PPAs carry the distinct advantage of only charging customers for the energy their solar panel systems produce (as opposed to the solar lease’s set monthly rate).

Insufficient Online Information

While True Renewable Energy’s partnership with SunPower does much of the heavy lifting toward the company’s credibility, the company itself is either missing or has obfuscated important information that could inform a potential solar customer’s decision prior to purchase:

  • Industry certifications — True Renewable Energy does not mention any certifications from industry-recognized associations like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or the Solar Energy Institute (SEI). While this omission does not disqualify True Renewable Energy, these certifications provide credibility and separate good solar companies from great ones.
  • “About us” — The company’s website is missing valuable information about the company’s history, key personnel, relevant awards or recognitions, and details on the company’s most recent solar projects. Knowing where a company comes from, who represents it, and proof of work that extends beyond a single photograph are important contributors to consumer trust.
  • Social media — Save for the company’s YouTube page, links to True Renewable Energy’s social media accounts are either blocked (Facebook), broken (HomeAdvisor), or have been untouched for years (Twitter). The lack of access and activity represents a missed opportunity to connect with potential customers.
  • Multiple branded websites — Another problem is the company’s multiple branded websites under separate domains. While both sites ultimately lead to the same source, their presence presents a confusing situation for Bay Area customers looking to go solar.
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The Bottom Line

For more than 30 years, True Renewable Energy has been providing solar energy solutions to homeowners and businesses in the San Francisco Bay area. Through its partnership with SunPower, the company installs some of the best solar panels and solar inverters the market has to offer. While the company’s one-state reach and lack of certain financing options don’t set it behind similar companies in the area, the lack of transparency is alarming. Although the SunPower alliance contributes to the company’s credibility, customers should exercise caution before signing a contract with True Renewable Energy.

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Star Rating

4.4

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13 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

85%

4 grade

0%

3 grade

0%

2 grade

0%

1 grade

15%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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John Wittek Seattle, WA

I had True Renew load up my roof with 19 panels. I definitely generate an excess of energy in the spring and summer, and that's with charging my EV and blasting my AC on hot days to 69 degrees at night... It's nice.. PG&E also gives a generous check to account holder for owning an EV (it was $800 in 2019), PG&E has definitely hiked their rates so it's easy to burn through electricity even though my usage hasn't changed. Regardless, the process was quick and easy, installation only took 2 days. I've had these panels now for almost 4 years and they're great. One of my inverters went out, I contacted True Renew and they sent out their engineer Rick I believe his name was, who is very knowledgeable, he ordered the part and installed in about a week or so. Company sent me a check to cover my PG&E bill the month that the inverter went out. Nice people in the office they always kept me updated.

1 year ago

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Jeff Cornelia Oakland, CA

I was looking for someone that can get me a solar system but not ripping me off! I had true renewable energy come by and give me a bid and the rep Angel suggested 16 panels Financing was smooth and they presented me with options that fit me all for 0 down!!! After beginning the project their company kept me updated and after about 5 weeks I had my solar system up just waiting on PG&E to switch it on! Amazing service will recommend to anyone that's looking to save money and get efficient.

1 year ago

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Diana Shams Morgan Hill, CA

I had an excellent experience with TRE! They gave me a deal I couldn’t resist, way better than my last offer and they had more to give!! I was very pleased with the sales rep Ryan he came in very professional, an extremely heart warming individual. Tended to all our needs and expectations. The installers were great, clean and fast! The company exceeded their expectations with me in following up and giving me updates along the way as often as possible. I’m very pleased and I’m now looking forward to getting some more things done with them. Would def recommend!!!

4 years ago

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Samuel Clarkston, GA

Bought solar from them 2 years ago. Waited to make certain there was no bill after and I'm not paying any hidden fees like my rep Mike told me. He was 100% correct. Built a relationship with since he came to my house and I see mike as a friend now. True renew is an amazing company and very personable. Definitely

1 year ago

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Mick Ripon, CA

I had a great experience with True Renewable Energy! They were very polite and courteous. They answered all my questions and were extremely helpful. Not pushy and very informative. Will definitely return if I need any home renovations and would recommend to friends and family!

3 years ago

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francis Salinas, CA

this company makes you feel like part of the family they answered every question from start to finish i felt so comfortable with everyone i talked to in the company !!! very glad i chose to do business with this company ! if i need any other energy upgrades i will chose True Renew Energy again

4 years ago

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Jennifer Livermore, CA

Really great company, I'm glad i chosen them. They were very kind and professional, The specialist was very knowledgeable and friendly. They did excellent work. The quality of there products are amazing, I am definitely satisfied and would recommend them to everyone!

4 years ago

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jeff Pleasant Hill, CA

They did my roof. Bic my sales rep was very attentive to my needs and concerns and put me at ease. I have a 1920's Victorian and the roof has a very steep pitch. He assured me that they have experience with this sort of project. They finished work last week. Looks great!

4 years ago

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Whitney Livermore, CA

True renewable really helped me out. They got me the best deal for the best price which was way cheaper than the 3 other quotes i got . On top of that the rep was so nice and helpful explaining everything in detail so i can fully understand. I love these guys best company by far!

4 years ago

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Brandon Pittsburg, CA

Had an issue with them originally. But part my fault and they fixed everything and now I am happy. I have dealt with other installers who are cheaper, but make many mistakes. Thank you for everything

4 years ago

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Kam Gee

My experience with True Renewable Energy has been great so far, I am currently in the process of getting solar installed. The team has been great in communicating and making this such an easy process.

4 years ago

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Angie Livermore, CA

This company is terrible, extremely over priced and good luck if you ever need customer service. Sure someone answers the phone who says they will call you back but they never will. Also they use CaliforniaFirst Financing a non transparent fee heavy non bank financing company. You are not allowed to pay down your debt monthly so they can accrue interest and admin fees. It has been the most frustrating financing I have ever experienced. Usually when you finance the company actually wants to give you a way to pay them back. They call their financing a "bond". I called to get my pay off amount and was told it would be sent via email in 5-7 days. I told them I was considering a class action law suit due to their shady practices and I received it within an hour. The pay off amount included a $2,221 issuance fee? What the heck? I called the supervisor for customer care and of course she only works until 12:30pm and would be back the next day. I called before noon, left a voice mail and never heard back. Just save yourself the headache, the feeling of totally being taken and poor customer care and go with another company. Our system is suppose to have a fancy app that shows you the panel energy production...if it's working and when it's not and you call no one will call you back. Zero stars if it was an option.

4 years ago

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kate Botas Larkspur, CA

I hired true renewable energy on november 18, 2017. There sales people are good at lieing! Ryan and Chip sold us a product and we signed on. What a BIG mistake. The company has not completed the work. It is now 3 months later, and the company has been sloppy, careless, and completely unethical. They have literally put holes in the walls of my house, by moving solar boxes from place to place and have not repaired them. They refuse to call us back. We have left messages, written emails, and today I got a call from the owner saying that his company is not responsible for any of this. We were charged for installation of 5 skylights, and this was never done. The company, the people that work for them, and most of all the owner does not care. They will take your money and run! BEWARE. DO NOT HIRE THIS COMPANY

4 years ago