Cvetas says he's not seeing any movement in California's residential and hospitality segments. “But I think we're fortunate to be based in California,” he adds. “We're very bullish on the opportunities.”

John Boncher, president and CEO of Cupertino Electric Inc. (CEI), San Jose, says that although the firm's 2010 revenue dipped 1% from 2009's level, this year is off to a good start. He says that by July 2011, CEI had booked more revenue than it had for all of 2010.

“Pent-up demand—our pipeline—is looking strong,” Boncher adds. He says the firm moved into the renewable-energy market four years ago and is advancing well.

CEI's current renewable-energy work includes two PG&E projects in central California as well as a recently completed campus-wide solar project for the Lodi Unified School District.

The PG&E solar projects, located in Fresno, represent the first phase of a five-year, 250-MW program aimed at leveraging PG&E's expertise in power-generation development and project finance to expand the state's clean-energy market, according to the utility company.

The CEI-designed solar photovoltaic system for the Lodi school district consists of a 947-kilowatt installation at Ronald E. McNair High School; a 769-KW system for Bear Creek High School; a 197-KW system at Christa McAuliffe Middle School; and a 174-KW system at the school district's office.

Construction of the entire, district-wide solar power system is expected to be completed by late summer.

CEI's Boncher also sees promising opportunities in the expansion plans of the high-technology giants in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco area.

Boncher credits his company's experienced work force for riding out the bumps in the economic downturn. “We've been through various cycles through the years; this is our third recession as a team,” he says.

Boncher adds, “I think we've right-sized our business quickly enough to show a profitable balance sheet. And once we see clear skies ahead, we [will] begin hiring back any employees who were let go. It's a nice position to be in.”