Congratulations! Your solar panels are now installed and your question is how much money will you be saving? Can you get your whole electricity bill paid for? What is life like after solar panel installation? 


Let’s  take a look at what an average household would spend in a year on their electricity bill. The average household uses approximately 11,000 kWh annually and with the current electricity rates at $ $0.1877. Average households are spending over $2,640 annually (bear in mind rates increase annually).


After solar panel installation, your cost for electricity and how much energy your solar panels will generate all depends on the amount of panels you had installed. Say your consumption is 10,000 kWh and your panels produce 10,000 kWh than your electric bill will be lower than $10 per month. Your service provider will have discussed the number or solar panels.


How can you earn credit with solar or perhaps even make money after solar panel installation?


Your solar panels generate energy or “credits”,  at times like mid day when no one is typically home. When you come home in the late afternoon you are using electricity and therefore using your credits. Over time if you have generated extra “credits” than you can sell those to the electricity company. The electricity company has a limit to the amount of credits you can sell to them via “Net Metering”, and some companies make it easier to do this than others. But life after solar panel installations means you may be able to make some money back. 


If this is something you are wanting to do you will first need to assess the amount of electricity you use, make sure your installed solar system is large enough to handle that consumption,  add a few more panels if necessary. The next thing to do is reduce your electricity usage.


There are many ways to earn credits passively, like family vacations or shutting off the AC when you leave home. Here are some other ways to use less energy and perhaps build credits: Make sure that when you leave a room that you turn the light off, unplug any devices or chargers you are not using. These are called Vampire devices. Although you may not be using the devices, they are still pulling energy.


To learn about how much you can earn in solar credit,  find out from your electricity company their cap on how many credits they will buy from you on a monthly or annual basis. You will receive a credit on your energy bill and if the amount of purchase credits surpasses your bill, you’ll then receive a check! That check signifies you did the right thing with solar panel installation. 


Life after Solar Panel installation typically involves money saved and often money made from the electricity company. Go Solar today, it’s truly a great investment.


For Solar Panel Installation in Orange County, Riverside, San Diego County, call Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.



As a homeowner considering solar installation, it is helpful to know the process of panel installation. After signing your contract there is a 5 Step process that happens before your solar panels are even installed on your roof. You have the right to the information involved in the process. Therefore, we have created a 5 Step Guide for you to know what to expect with your solar installation.

The average time for your solar panels to be installed, connected to the grid and producing energy for your home takes about one to three months once you have signed your contract with your solar installer. Solar installation doesn’t happen overnight or in a couple days as most people would think so here is the 5 Step guideline.

1. The First Step: A visit from the Engineer:

Soon after signing your contract with your selected solar provider one of two visits will occur.

You will get an engineer visit or a contractor visit to evaluate your home prior to solar installation.

An engineer will come by your property to evaluate the electrical compatibility of your home with the new energy system. The engineer will either be working for the company you signed your contract with or they will be an independent engineer directly contracted by that company.

The contractor visit involves an evaluation of the roof type, size of solar system that needs to be installed, angle of the roof, shade and sun exposure. They will, in some cases, also take pictures of the sight to show to the engineer. An engineer will then sign off on the job without coming to evaluate the home.

The evaluation process by either party includes checking your roof to make sure it is structurally sound to support the solar panels. The next thing the engineer will check is your electrical box, (the grey box located either in your basement or on the side of your house) to see if it has the capacity for the amps that will be moving through it for the new solar panels or if it needs to be upgraded. Along with the  visit, your home will be inspected by your local town government representative. This representative will make sure the whole solar installation process will be done properly.


2. The Second Step: Permits and Documents Prior to Solar Installation:

There are different ways to purchase solar panels. You can lease, take out a loan, purchase with cash or in-full, or through a power purchase agreement with the government. There are different forms of power purchase agreements with the government. The State and Federal Solar incentives are; Federal ITC, PACE, government Rebates, SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certifications) and local solar programs.

There is a lot of paperwork involved in the solar panel process just like in  most  big financial contracts. Among this paperwork you will find financial incentives along with the building permits. Depending on the state you live in there are different solar installation requirements. For example; certain states require a certain amount of space between the edge of the roof and the end of the solar panels, other states allow you to cover the whole roof from top to bottom. Your installer will know which requirements apply to you and your solar installation. A great thing about the company you choose and the paperwork is that the installer will fill out the paperwork for you. Nevertheless, you should still know what is in the paperwork and contracts .

The time frame for this second step of the process depends on your installer and how fast he fills out the paperwork and gets it all submitted. Make sure you keep checking in with your installer so that things get done in a timely manner.

3. Solar Installation Scheduling and Equipment Ordering:

Before you can order your equipment you will have to chose which equipment you would like installed. This decision will be done before you sign your contract. There are multiple companies that manufacture Solar Panels. To pick the right equipment for you there are two things to consider; Solar Panels and Inverters. The company you are working with will most likely have a company that they mainly work with but make sure you do your research on multiple companies to make sure you pick the right equipment.

What you need to look for is durability, efficiency, aesthetics and price. Spend time researching the highest rated Solar Panels, Micro inverters vs. String Inverters vs. Power Optimizers.

Once you have chosen the equipment you want installed on your home, signed the contract, had your inspection, and the paperwork has been submitted and approved, you can order the equipment and set the installation date. The solar installation date is normally scheduled the day your equipment is delivered. Scheduling also depends on how busy the company you’re working with is.

4. Installation Day:

There are multiple steps to the solar installation process. The normal solar installation time frame is one to three days.

The first step is the roof inspection; the installer inspects the shingles to make sure they are all in good condition and that they are all attached properly.

The second step is to set up all the wiring that will connect the electrical panel to the general power system of the panels.

The third step is installing the railing that attaches the panels to the roof. This railing will stabilize the panels and will be the only thing attached to the roof. This is a very important step, the installer needs to make sure everything is secure so that the panels do not come loose and fall from the roof.

The forth step is attaching the solar panels to the railing. The installer needs to make sure the railing is level so the panels are straight and level.

The fifth and final step in the solar installation process is the installer connecting the inverters to your electrical panel. The inverters convert direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy which is used in homes and on the electrical grid.

There might be one additional step and piece of equipment needed for the solar installation; this will add time to the solar installation. The installer may need to install a power meter for Net Metering. You should do your research if you want a Net meter installed or a SREC. Net Metering is a system of “debit and credit”. If you use more energy than you’re pulling in you will still owe, if you pull in more energy than you use than you will have a credit on your energy bill.

5. Solar Installation Approval:

The last thing that needs to be done in the whole process of having Solar Panels installed on your home is to have the local government representative approve that the solar installation was done correctly. They will need to approve the wiring, railing installation, panel installation and securing and that the whole solar installation meets the local requirements and codes.

Once your solar representative approves the solar installation, a representative from the local electric company will come and do a second inspection to make sure the wiring is done correctly to their codes and requirements. When given the okay from both representatives you will be all set and ready to start generating energy for your home. The whole inspection and approval process will take about two weeks to complete.

The time frame can be extensive depending on how much research you do before making your decision and signing your contract. Once all is said and done it will be well worth the wait.

Top Tier Home Energy is committed in providing the best quality solar panels with the most efficient solar installation time. Our team provides the highest quality customer service and will be with you every step of the way.

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


We’ve seen a lot of growth in the Solar Industry, and, as a result, we have also seen a lot of companies come and go. Why, do you ask? It’s due to how companies define their success. Many homeowners are in a panic due to the inability to dissolve their solar contracts with their current solar power contractor, even if that company is no longer around.

How does a solar power contractor define success? In a number of ways: Gross Sales, Wattages Sold, or even the total number of installations.

At Top Tier Home Energy, we have been in business for over 10 years. We define success by quality installations and happy customers. We welcome our customers into our Top Tier Home Energy family because that is the dynamic we strive to create. A long lasting bond reinforced with a genuine, caring staff. Not all solar power contractor businesses are the same. Top Tier Home Energy is not looking to make a quick buck, but to deliver the best quality solar installations. We have over a thousand happy customers and over eleven thousand kilowatts installed, but our priority has always been establishing an excellent reputation through quality work as your solar power contractor.

How can you, the customer, know which solar power contractor is the best choice for your Solar project?

We recommend doing some research. Look into companies, parts, and the installation process. Call the offices, ask questions and communicate with contractors. A little time invested can yield big rewards and avoid headaches in the long term.

At Top Tier Solar, we support our customers by offering honest answers and making ourselves available.

Here are some topics for you to look at when choosing the best company:

  •  Check with the BBB and State Licensing Board for any complaints towards the company from previous clients.
  • Check with the State Licensing Board if a solar power contractor has a State License that they’re current with.
  • Check to make sure the companies Worker’s Compensation and General Liability Insurances are current.
  • Check that the employees are NABCEP PV installer verified and that you are getting proper and quality work done.
  • Check Google, Yelp, Facebook, BBB, etc. for reviews on the solar power contractor.
  •  Ask to call prior customers of the company for references and referrals. Even customers from a few years back.
  • Make a list of your concerns, wants and needs and ask the solar power contractor questions to make sure all your needs are being met.
  • Make a visit to their office and meet the employees and see how the business is operating.
  • Ask about Financing availability, including leases and PACE.
  • Ask if the solar power contractor is outsourcing the labor. If so ask which company they are outsourcing to and do the same research on them.

When selecting a solar power contractor, follow the above tips and take your time. At Top Tier Home Energy, we are happy to help you during your decision making process. In Southern California, Top Tier Home Energy is your premier solar panel installation company.

We are happy to help you with any Solar Panel questions you have:
Top Tier Home Energy  (949) 296-2296.


Many consumers who are thinking about going solar have heard the term “net metering” but aren’t sure what it means.

What is Solar Net Metering?

Put simply, solar net metering is a utility billing mechanism available in most states that offers a credit to residential and business customers who are making excess electricity with their solar panel systems and sending it back to the grid.

How Does Net Metering Work?

When you have a rooftop solar system, it can often generate more electricity than you consume during daylight hours.

With net metering, the homeowner is only billed for the “net” energy used each month, that is, the difference between the energy produced by the solar power system and the energy consumed by the house over the monthly billing period.

When your house or business is net-metered, you’ll see the meter run backwards, and that means, depending upon local policies, you may get a credit to hedge against the electricity you use from the grid when it’s not sunny or at nighttime. You are then billed only for your “net” energy use. The excess energy generated gets put back to the grid for your neighbors to use. (Read about net metering for businesses on the SunPower Business Feed.)

solar net metering

The Benefits of Net Metering

Solar net metering can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their utility bills every year, so it’s a good reason to make the money-saving choice and go solar sooner rather than later.

There’s another benefit from solar net metering. Since your solar system is generating electricity near the point where it will be used, this reduces strain on the grid’s distribution and transmission infrastructure and minimizes energy loss from sending voltage many miles from the nearest power plant. While some claim that net metering represents an unfair burden on non-solar electricity customers, many net metering cost-benefit studies have found the opposite to be true.

Does My State Offer Solar Net Metering?

Although some state regulators and utilities have proposed policies that challenge the value of simple retail NEM, there haven’t been many changes to the rules — yet.

The original retail net metering policies were designed for areas with low solar adoption. But with California, New York and other states seeing rapid increases in the amount of solar that’s being installed, there will be changes coming in the next few years. California has already instituted what’s being called “Net Metering 2.0,” and at least one study has shown how there are reasons to be optimistic about the new policies compared to the original retail net metering approach used in the Golden State.

To learn more about solar net metering and other related policies in your state, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). Another resource for information about net metering, pro-solar energy policies and consumer advocacy programs is the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), or ask your local SunPower dealer for the latest on possible net metering-related policy changes in your area.

There are many discussions taking place across the country on how to evolve the current programs. Net metering updates may factor in such things as a more accurate valuation of the solar energy flowing into the distribution grid; rate structures that charge more for electricity at certain times of the day (or night) or look at where on the grid the excess electricity is being generated; credits at a wholesale rather than retail rate; and the impact of residential solar energy storage batteries.

If you are already benefiting from net metering for your solar system, you likely will be shielded from any significant reductions — you will be “grandfathered” in, regardless of any changes that may impact the rate design of new solar customers.

So, to take advantage of current favorable net metering policies, don’t delay going solar. Visit our Going Solar page to learn everything from how many solar panels you’ll need to how much solar panels cost.

When you’re choosing the best solar panel for your home or business, the manufacturer makes a difference. Here’s a helpful infographic that summarizes why SunPower is different. SunPower is one of the leading solar panel manufacturers in the industry, known for quality and durability.

Visit our solar products page to learn how we design and manufacture our solar technology to meet rigorous standards for performance and reliability.


Why Homeowners Choose SunPower Solar Panels

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