After CEI worked with PG&E on a five-year solar expansion program, the contractor was named the PG&E supply chain unit's Generation Supplier of the Year in 2011. It cited Cupertino Electric for strategic thinking, safety, quality, customer focus, diversity and commitment to sustainability.

PG&E has had ongoing natural gas pipeline problems, but its renewable energy division is moving ahead strongly, with CEI's help. "We have a mutually beneficial relationship," says Boncher. "They have always been a very demanding customer."

Boncher says CEI has focused on design-build, providing a growing menu of services like consulting/management, project management, energy analysis, engineering, technology evaluation and building information modeling. "Design-build projects always have challenging schedules, so we are now able to cover a lot of needs within the team," he says.

Recent high-profile CEI projects include: the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters (which earned LEED-Platinum certification); Caltech Schlinger Lab in Pasadena; and Lodi Energy Center. CEI also was named electrical contractor for the new $1-billion San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.

CEI's community outreach efforts have been impressive. It has a corporate charitable trust and matching-gift policy and donates more than 1% of its annual profit to U.S. charitable organizations.

Under another CEI program, employees provide labor, materials and equipment to people in need and groups such as the American Lung Association, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves and Fishes, Mercy Corps, Rebuilding Together and the San Francisco and Second Harvest food banks.

Last year, Save the Bay gave CEI its Corporate Bay Steward award for helping to build the nonprofit's new greenhouse. CEI also received InnVision's 2011 Spirit of InnVision award for assisting in remodeling the group's San Jose Donation Depot, which serves homeless families and individuals.