As December draws to a close, we’re all looking forward to a bright future in 2019.  With a new year, it’s the best opportunity to make new positive changes such as finally going to install solar in your home.  If you’ve been curious about solar power, then this might be the year you finally decide to embrace it.  Consider the following reasons to bite the bullet and install solar in your home:

Looming Electricity Rate Hikes if You Don’t Install Solar

There are looming regulatory rate hikes you may not have heard about.  Last May, Southern California Edison (SCE) and the California Public Utilities Commission announced a $5 billion rate hike that will increase an average homeowner’s electricity by 19%.  If your electricity bills are already too high, this is the perfect time to install solar in your home.  Start acquiring your electricity from the sun and lowering your electric bill when you install solar in your home.  Make SCE send you a check for the electricity you’ve contributed back to the power grid.

The Federal Tax Credit

If you install solar in 2019, you’ll still be able to enjoy the 30% federal tax credit prior to the government’s phase out plan.  You might as well take advantage of the full benefits afforded by the federal tax credits before it reduces significantly over the next few years.

California’s 2020 Mandate

While all new homes built in 2020 or later require solar installation, you might want to take some inspiration from those homeowners.  Global warming is expected to hit California particularly hard, and we have opportunities to be leaders in cleaning up our environment. It helps that saving money goes hand in hand with saving our environment as well.

If you’ve been considering switching to the clean renewable energy provided by solar power, then 2019 is your year to make some big changes and install solar in your home. By going green, you can put a little bit more of the green back in your wallet too. Call Top Tier Home Energy  (949) 296-2296.

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When considering switching from using traditional electric power to solar power, many home owners are confused about how solar batteries work.  It’s often one of the most misunderstood elements of a solar power system. It’s understandable as most homeowners don’t have a degree or specialty in science and engineering.  Not to worry, the experts at Top Tier Home Energy are able to demystify solar batteries for you so you understand exactly what you’re getting and what you can expect:

Solar Batteries Allow for the Generation of Solar Power to Turn into Electricity

When homeowners install solar panels on their homes, they do so to dramatically reduce their electricity bills.  The potential to generate a separate income from the energy produced and stored in solar batteries is also extremely appealing.  Over time, the installation of solar panels can pay for themselves when you consider that they can last approximately 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance and care.

Typically, when homeowners purchase a solar system, this includes solar panels at just the right pitch to collect enough energy from the sun.  A system also includes an inverter, and a performance monitoring system to ensure homeowners are able to track exactly how much energy they’re generating from the sun- a clean renewable energy source, and stored in solar batteries for later use.

In order to create electricity or energy to power your home, solar panels collect energy from the sun.  This is then passed through an inverter to convert it into a form of electricity and energy to power a home.  Solar batteries store this energy so that when the sun goes down at night, homeowners are still able to access energy to power their homes.  Just because the sun has gone down, it doesn’t mean that homeowners are living like our prehistoric ancestors by fire light.

Making Your Solar Batteries Work for You

Typically, homeowners’ solar panels and solar batteries are tied to an electricity grid.  In California, this could be Edison, for example. When your home solar power system is collecting more energy than you can consume as a homeowner, you’re energy neutral and reducing your carbon footprint.  You’re also eligible to make some money.  Excess energy from your solar batteries sent back to the grid can make you money in the form of energy credits towards future energy bills or a check cut to you.  It’s not a stretch of the imagination that this is a major caveat for homeowners considering the installation of a full solar system, from solar panels to solar batteries, and more.

Solar power has been exploding in popularity, but homeowners don’t necessarily know how they work.  If you’re still confused by the process by which solar batteries collect and store energy, give our experts a call at Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.

 

After a number of years, it’s quite common that home owners get that itch to renovate their home.  It could start with an idea that you’ve always wanted a nicer kitchen or it could be a massive project involving multiple rooms, the exterior, the yard, or more.  No matter how small or large, there’s ample room to go green with your home renovation.  Consider the following ways in which you can go green with your home renovation:

Go Green with Energy Efficient Appliances

One of the easiest ways to go green during a home renovation is to seek out energy efficient appliances.  These are easy to spot in stores because they’re labeled energy efficient under the Energy Star program.  Energy efficient appliances use less power and over time, essentially pay for themselves in savings.  Energy efficient appliances are one of the easiest ways to go green in your renovation.

Install Solar Panels

If you’re able to do a major home renovation, installing a new solar panel system is one of the best ways to go green.  This is because solar energy is clean, green, and renewable.  By installing solar panels, you go green with your home renovation by severing your reliance upon fossil fuels that produce most electric power in homes now.  Over time, not only do solar panels save homeowners money in electric bills, but the amount of power generated can be sold back to the electric company, earning homeowners money in the process.  This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and to save some green in your pocket.

Install Low Emissivity Products

Low emissivity products such as doors and windows can prevent heat from escaping during the winter and the cool air from escaping during the summer.  This is accomplished with thin layers of items such as silver or other metallic particles. There are many different kinds of low emissivity products to meet your energy needs to go green in a home renovation.  If this is on your radar, then a consultant can help you to choose the right product to meet your energy needs.

Home renovations are often large projects, but even if you start small, you have options to make your home more environmentally friendly with your efforts.  If you’re looking to install a new solar panel system to maximize your potential to go green, contact Top Tier Home Energy  (949) 296-2296.

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When considering a new residential solar installation, many people are curious how soon they can start generating energy and saving money.  There are 4 factors that immediately stand out which will affect not only your production of solar energy but your savings as well.  In order to reap the benefits of a new residential solar installation, the following should be considered:

  1. Seasons

In areas such as Southern California, we experience very little in the way of changing seasons. Southern California is lucky enough to enjoy ample sunlight whether in the summer or in the winter.  It’s not unusual for a Southern California Christmas to reach 80 degrees.  Because of this warm weather, Southern Californians can expect more sunlight than most areas of the country.  This is great news for residents considering a new solar installation.  More available sunlight is better for increased solar energy production.

  1. Shade

It seems like a no brainer, but shade plays a significant role in the amount of energy produced by a solar installation.  If a home is located in large areas of shade, less direct sunlight will be available to produce energy with your solar installation.  It’s generally advised that residents with overgrown trees and obstructions do their best to trim them or remove them if they have decided they want to make use of the clean renewable energy that solar produces.

  1. Tilt

Tilt is another factor that will affect your solar installation’s ability to produce energy.  Tilt includes the slope of your roof, the angle that your solar panels are facing in your solar installation, and the direction your home is facing.  Ideally, to produce the most energy from your solar installation, solar panels should be mounted between 30 to 45 degrees.

  1. Azimuth

Azimuth refers to the angle from which the sunlight is beamed down. Getting the azimuth correct is critical to take full advantage of your solar installation.  When this is wrong, residents may experience a loss of up to 35% of available solar energy.

 

Prior to a new solar installation, it’s important to be aware of the many factors that could affect the quality of your energy produced.  When you consult with the experts at Top Tier Home Energy, you can learn more about each of these factors which will affect your energy production.  Start by calling us at (949) 296-2296.
 

Prior to Thanksgiving, the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) delivered a report to Congress and the President on the state of climate change today with some dire warnings and predictions.  Key findings in the report were that climate change is here and will affect all areas of American life- water, oceans, energy, human health and economics with varying degrees of disparity.  It is clear that in order to sustain the American way of life, we need to make a change to clean renewable energy or continue to follow a path towards damage to our way of life.

Facts on Climate Change

Despite some climate change deniers, climate change is real.  You need only turn on the news to learn that 16 of the past 17 years were the warmest on record.  Moreover, extreme weather events have increased in frequency and severity, costing tax payers over $1 billion per event.  The Climate Change Assessment predicts that we will not be able to stop the inevitable damage that will occur, although hope remains that we can slow down the damage if we work together to concentrate on reducing our carbon emissions.

You hear a lot about your “carbon footprint” and what this primarily refers to is the amount of carbon emissions you are likely releasing into the atmosphere as a result of dirty energy sources such as fossil fuels or coal.  Even our electricity plants run on these energy sources instead of clean renewable energy such as solar power. Approximately 60 percent of our energy is obtained by fossil fuels, coal, and natural gas, despite the wide availability of clean renewable energy such as solar or wind power. As a consumer and a citizen of planet Earth, you can do something to change that by opting for clean renewable energy instead.

Climate Change and You

“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities… but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur,” reports the Climate Change Assessment. This means its up to each and every one of us to reduce our carbon footprint by turning to clean renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

As a homeowner, you can do more than most to reduce your carbon footprint by embracing clean renewable energy in the form of solar power.  By installing solar panels on your home, you can reduce your family’s energy consumption dramatically.  Further, you can also generate not only clean renewable energy for your own home, but enough to sell back to the electric company you currently buy energy from. This can help others to use clean renewable energy as well.

Trust Top Tier Home Energy for Your Clean Renewable Energy

When you make the switch to solar, you want the experts who will guide you through the process of going green with the clean renewable energy of solar power Top Tier Home Energy can walk you through the entire process and help you make the decisions on how big your panels should be, where to mount them, and how to get the most out of solar.  Give us a call today to start your bright future (949) 296-2296.

 

 

When homeowners start to think seriously about the benefits of installing solar panels, one of the most common questions that comes up is how long do they last?  Many homeowners are new to the process, not sure whether they’ll have high maintenance fees or if they’re at risk for additional replacement costs more often than they’d like.  The truth is that homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief.  Solar panels last a lot longer than you’d think.

How Long Can Solar Panels Last if Maintained?

The good news is after a solar installation, homeowners can look forward to your panels lasting in the range of 25 years.  Think about that- in 25 years, your children will grow up happy and healthy, your baby sapling trees will grow large and your car will have been replaced for the latest and greatest model multiple times.  25 years is a very long time.  It speaks to the durability of solar panels and their low maintenance.  These panels face the brunt force of the elements- wind, rain, sunshine, snow, or even hurricanes or twisters.  The good news is in California, we won’t have some of the most extreme weather and can enjoy some of the best weather.  However, maintenance is still necessary.

The average rate of degradation of solar panels is about .4% per year.  What this means is that even if they degrade over time, your new panels will be operating in the high 80’s to mid 90% over the years.  With gentle maintenance, you’ll still be reaping the benefits of solar panels for years to come.  A great solar power company can help you frame your expectations, teach you how to maintain your solar panels, and offer you support.

Tips For Extending the Life of Your Solar Panels

We can’t control the weather.  Depending upon the weather, your panels can experience debris, high winds, beating down rain or hail, and more.  This can wreak havoc on anything from your car to your motorcycle to even your home wherever you’re located.  However, you can do the following steps to extend the life of your solar panels:

  • Find an Exceptional Solar Power Company to Partner With.  The best companies are all about customer service.  Would you consider buying a new solar power system from someone who would abandon you completely? No.  Do your homework and partner with an exceptional solar power company so you’re sure to receive the best customer service for installation and helpful hints throughout the life of your solar power system.
  • Keep an Eye on Your Solar Panels.  You should actively monitor your solar panels, whether that means clearing debris off of them after high winds, or cleaning up the results of what appears to be sick birds.  It’s helpful to ensure your solar panels are not damaged, excessively dirty, or deteriorating from a lack of attention and maintenance.

Solar energy systems can potentially last you around 25 years.  That could be 25 years of your family enjoying freedom from high energy bills, earning money from energy credits, and reaping the benefits of solar power.  How long can your peace of mind last with clean, renewable energy?

When homeowners hear solar savings, they have expectations that they’ll instantly be flush with extra cash.  However, solar panels take time to acquire energy from the sun and produce energy for your home.  This means that as more time goes on, homeowners will start to see more solar savings with reduced or completely eliminated electricity bills. Within months, you’ll begin to see your investment paying off and within years, a solar system can completely pay for itself.  Consider the following ways in which you can determine your solar savings with a new solar system:

Use a Cost Calculator to Determine Solar Savings

A free cost calculator can help you to predict how much you will save by switching from electricity to solar power. Generally speaking, a solar cost calculator can take into account geographic data, shade homeowners experience and monthly electric bills.  Using this data, a solar cost calculator will produce a general idea of what you can expect in solar savings.  This is a great first step to determining whether a home is a good candidate for solar panels and it also provides a great benchmark for determining solar savings as time progresses.

Keep Close Track with Net Metering

Most homes that are solar powered are connected to the grid via net metering.  This is a system of billing that keeps track of homes’ utility meter to determine the amount of energy produced.  The electricity homeowners’ solar panels generates is recorded in net metering and the solar savings are reflected in monthly electric bills.

Generally, homeowners can generate enough electricity to avoid paying an electric bill.  These savings can add up significantly for homeowners used to paying hundreds of dollars in electricity every month. If solar panels produce more energy than is actually used, then that energy is sold back to the grid and the electric company will reimburse homeowners for the extra power. A check every month can be a great way to keep track of the cost savings from switching to solar power.

The initial investment in a solar system can be daunting for some homeowners, but as they begin to see their solar savings for themselves it’s clear they made a smart investment.  Becoming energy neutral and paying nothing to your electric company is a great feeling, but as time goes on, your solar panels will pay for themselves and that is an amazing feeling.

If you are wondering how much you can save with solar panels, we can help! Call us today for an estimate.

Call Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.

 

At the beginning of the year, the U.S. imposed a number of tariffs, including on imported solar panels and solar cells. This tariff was set at 30%.  Every indication is that the U.S. is working to lower these tariffs soon, but until then people are struggling to understand the impact. Understandably so, home owners have enjoyed lower energy bills since making the switch to solar power.  Those are not going to significantly spike as the solar tariff will primarily affect manufacturers, not homeowners.

How the Solar Tariff Impacts Home Owners

The solar tariff was the result of a fixed percentage on these goods. Over the course of only four years, the solar tariff will be in place.  The good news to homeowners is that it will drop by 5% every year.  This means that as you ring in the new year soon, the solar tariff will lower to only 25%.  As you ring in the next year, your solar tariff will lower again and you’ll only have to pay a 20% tariff.

With the steady pace of newer and less expensive technology, solar panels and cells have been similarly declining.  This means that homeowners will still be able to enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills and energy credits with carriers. New studies out of the Department of Energy is placing the costs per kilowatt hour of solar falling far behind those of coal and gas.

Californians Can Benefit from Solar Incentives

Particularly in California, where programs are so favorable to homeowners using solar power, the effects will be minimal at best. There are many solar incentives that can help offset any additional costs. The tariff may add a few hundred dollars up front on the installation end, but the benefits over time will significantly overshadow the solar tariff. If you sell energy credits to your local power provider, you could actually make money off of your solar power system.

If you’re considering the switch to solar power, contact us for a free evaluation.  We can help you reduce your energy bills with this clean renewable source. Call us today at Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.

 

While we’re all busy making merry this season, chances are we’re also all consuming a lot of energy.  If you’ve already got your Christmas lights up, your tree plugged in, and the heating cranked up in preparation for hosting friends and family, you’re likely consuming a lot of energy.  It may be the perfect time for an energy audit.

Why Do You Need An Energy Audit?

An energy audit can help tell you where you waste energy.  If you find your electricity bills are consistently high, and not just through the holidays, you could be missing opportunities to lower your energy consumption and your energy bill.

While California’s 2020 mandate for solar energy is looming on the horizon, many homes across the state and nation are still wasting massive amounts of energy.  This could be due to unnecessary electricity use from too many appliances being plugged in to insufficient insulation to poor heating and cooling efficiency.  Whether you have a newer home or an older home, you should perform an energy audit.

Energy Audit Steps Towards Identifying Energy Waste

According to the Department of Energy, 48% of energy use is from heating and cooling systems and another 18% from water heaters.  What this means is your energy audit should be examining the devices you use to heat and cool your home including:

  • Checking heating and cooling appliances and replacing these with energy efficient units
  • Performing an energy audit on hot water use
  • Looking for spaces around doors and windows where you might be leaking air
  • Installing low flow showerheads and energy efficient dishwashing and washing machines

Another culprit for energy waste is poor insulation and sealing.  If you discover in your energy audit that your home is poorly insulated and sealed, you could be overpaying by thousands of dollars per year in energy bills. To perform an energy audit on insulation, try the following:

  • Look for gaps and leaks in insulation and sealing from gaps in your doorways, floors, electrical outlets, faucets and other fixtures
  • Check to see if you have adequate insulation in your attic or if there are gaps, especially around chimneys, windows, and ducts that could be filled in as a result of your energy audit
  • Perform an energy audit on your floors to determine if you’ve got properly insulated crawl spaces to prevent heat loss in your floors

And finally, perform an energy audit on your electricity consumption. Are you leaving lights on all day when you’re not home? Do you have inefficient appliances? All of these could contribute to preventable energy waste. Try the following steps:

  • Unplug appliances that don’t always need to be plugged in. You’re not using your toaster 99% of the time, so it’s safe to say appliances such as that can be unplugged
  • Toss out appliances that no longer work but you keep plugged in anyways
  • Use sleep functions on your computers, laptops, and televisions when they’re not in use or when you fall asleep before turning one of those items off
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs
  • Weigh the results of your energy audit against your ability to save with solar power

Explore Converting Your Home to Solar Power

Solar power is a clean, renewable source of energy that can significantly reduce energy waste and reduce your electricity bills.  It can also be a great source of tax rebates and income from selling energy credits.  To find out if you’re a good candidate for solar power, contact our experts today at Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296 or try our handy cost calculator tool.

The holidays are upon us and across the nation, temperatures are rising on the West Coast and dropping on the East Coast. What this means to home owners is that air conditioning and heating costs will soar as more electricity is being consumed. For home owners with solar panels, they won’t experience this energy suck and drain on their bank account.  However, to keep up the savings and potential checks from the electric company for purchased energy credits, it’s imperative that homeowners know their peak sun hours and how to calculate them.

Determining Peak Sun Hours

Many home owners mistakenly assume that while their solar panels are absorbing sun half or even most of the day, this translates into the most stored energy. This contributes to home owners’ energy, but it’s not the most accurate representation of how much energy solar panels are producing.  Instead, it’s helpful to determine the hour or hours between which those sun panels are absorbing at least 1,000 watts per square meter.

Obviously, the sun changes positions in the sky depending on which coast a home owner is located on, how many hours of sun there is, and how intense the sun’s rays are.  We all learned from Twilight that Forks, Oregon has the least amount of sunlight per year.  This is an area that would be hard pressed to determine peak sun hours when the sun is out so rarely.

Consider the following elements that contribute to peak sun hours based on atmospheric conditions, location, position in the sky, time of day and more:

  • Time of Day: Solar noon is often considered the peak of solar radiation and peak sun hours. This is because the sun is highest in the sky. In contrast to sunrise and sunset, the sun is positioned at a low angle, filtering more sunlight and less energy being absorbed by solar panels.
  • Season: The hot months of summer and the higher position in the sky often increases peak sun hours.
  • Geography: Communities closer to the equator gain more solar energy due to their proximity to the sun.

Calculating Peak Sun Hours the Easy Way

Within the continental United States, most home owners can expect to receive between 3 and 5 peak sun hours.  This is based on location, seasonal sunlight, and the influence of atmospheric changes such as clouds and fog.  Some communities experience more hours of sunlight such as the West Coast and desert states such as Arizona compared to areas like Maine or New Hampshire, which experience more seasons than the West Coast.

Home owners are able to Google insolation maps and charts for more information, but an easier way to calculate specific home owners’ peak sun hours is really through an insolation meter.  An insolation meter is able to calculate temperature, light intensity and solar power supply to solar panels.

By determining peak sun hours, home owners are better able to make informed decisions on purchasing solar panels.  Use Top Tier Home Energy’s handy cost calculator to determine how much you can save.

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