2020 New Build Mandate in Effect

California has always been the state leading the country towards a brighter, greener future. At the forefront of the nation’s green revolution, California constantly seeks new ways of innovating upon existing technologies to revolutionize society. Recently, solar panel installations have received renewed interest by the state, and are the subject of the California 2020 New Build Mandate guidelines. The new California Green Building Standards Code requires all newly built single residence homes to have solar panel installations. With home buying up in Orange County, San Diego County, and Riverside County, one has to wonder how these guidelines will affect Southern California residents?

Will The California 2020 New Build Mandate Save Money?

The answer is yes, the California 2020 New Build Mandate will. Newly built homes after Jan. 1 are required to have solar panel installations, while existing homes do not have to install solar panels. However, the California Energy Commission estimates that over a standard 30-year mortgage, a solar panel installation can save homeowners $19,000. Regardless of whether or not you are building a new home, solar panel installations are a sound investment to both save the environment and your money.

How Will The California 2020 New Build Mandate Affect Home Builders?

Home builders may be wary of the California 2020 New Build Mandate for new homes, however these new guidelines can help them just as much as home buyers. Home builders have the opportunity to form lasting business relationships with expert solar panel installation experts who can work closely with them on multiple projects, potentially driving down the cost of their bulk solar panel installation purchases. The California Building Industry Association estimates that solar panel installations will add $8,000 to $13,500 to the price of building new homes, making wholesale discounts of solar panel installations a great way to add surplus value to new homes. With home builders expected to absorb most of the cost of the California 2020 New Build Mandate, making connections with expert solar panel installation providers should be at the top of every home builder’s todo list.

Top Tier Home Energy: Ready For Change

At Top Tier Home Energy, we are more than ready to assist home builders in complying with the California 2020 New Build Mandate. When you need an expert solar panel installation provider for Orange County, San Diego County, Or Riverside County, look no further. We back all of our work with an industry-leading 25 year warranty. That’s nearly the entire length of a home mortgage, meaning that potential home buyers will feel confident in their new home’s solar panel installation. We’re excited to work with home builders in Orange County, San Diego County, and Riverside County as they strive to meet the exceptionally green goals set out in the by this ambitious new law.

Solar panels are a great way to offset energy costs, reduce the environmental impact of your home and a host of other benefits. If you’re wondering, “where are solar providers near me?” and want to install panels on your home, we wanted to share a few benefits to installing solar in the Orange County or Los Angeles County areas. 

Reduce or eliminate energy bills.

Did you know that Orange County and Los Angeles County have over 278+ sunny days of the year?  On sunny days, our customers who have completed a solar installation can generate a lot more energy than they consume, and then can trade that with the utility. 

Even cloudy days or locations can receive more than two hours of sunlight per day, while sunny locations receive an average of 5.5 hours of sunlight per day. Although sunny days will produce more solar energy, the best solar panels will continue to draw energy even when the weather is cloudy. Indirect, or diffused, sunlight will still help to power your home. Cloudy days usually produce around 10 to 20 percent of the power generated on sunny days.

Help the environment and help us all.

Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit harmful gases that are the primary cause of air pollution and global climate change. Not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment, but they are also a finite resource.

Renewable energy also improves public health. 

Coal and natural gas plants produce air and water pollution that is harmful to human health. But replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, such as solar power from a solar installation, can reduce premature mortality as well as overall health care costs.

Saving Orange County and Los Angeles County’s Water Supply 

We celebrate the fact that California is finally 100% drought-free. Solar energy requires little to no water to operate. So, not only does solar power not pollute water resources, but it also doesn’t put a strain on our county’s water supply.

Solar power also works during a drought or heatwave. Coal, natural gas and nuclear power use large amounts of water for cooling. During heat waves or severe droughts, as we’ve experienced in recent years, electricity generation is at risk. But solar power systems do not require water to generate electricity. It’s a win-win for all involved! 

There are many uses for clean renewable solar power that range from powering up your kitchen appliances to heating your home during the winter and keeping it cool in the summer. There’s no better way to do it than with the best solar panels with our Top Tier Home Energy solar panels.  If you’re ready to try out the many ways you can use solar power in Orange County or Los Angeles County, give us a call at (949) 296-2296.


As a solar energy installation company, quality and performance have been key criteria when selecting the best solar panels to supply. As a premier solar installation company in Orange County, our clients are the foundation for our success and their satisfaction is of utmost importance. In business for over a decade, Top Tier Home Energy owes its success to the quality of our solar installation and solar panels. 


According to Solar-Estimate.com as of August 2019, our solar panels are on the list of best solar panels to buy. The key reasons for making this list are:


+ Very high quality solar panels+ Highest efficiency and temperature coefficient

+ The best performing solar panels in the market

So what are the best solar panels? SunPower solar panels. 

Best Solar Panels: Still in Business

Much like our business, SunPower has been in business for a long time- for over 30 years in fact. Many solar panel companies do not remain in business after a few years, but SunPower continues strong as a solar panel manufacturer. Solar panels are meant to function for years. It’s important to install a solar panel that’s parts and components are readily available for maintenance. 

Best Solar Panels: Warranty

What good is a warranty if the company offering the warranty is no longer in business? Well, it’s null. SunPower offers an amazing home warranty. Here are their solar panel warranty specifications which, we believe, makes it the best solar panel warranty: 

  1. 25 Year Warranty. To start, a warranty of such extent is only possible with high quality solar panels. SunPower solar panels are of the highest quality and materials making them the best solar panels. 
  2. No Out-of-Pocket Cost: SunPower pays for repair or replacement including labor and shipping* If your solar panels ever faulter, SunPower will pay for the cost of repair or replacement parts. That cost savings certainly makes SunPower solar panels the best.
  3. Highest DC guarantee after 25 years. SunPower guarantees that their solar panels won’t lose more than 8% of their original DC power output in 25 years. Most other companies offer a 19% guarantee. To provide such stellar performance truly takes the best solar panels. 

Best Solar Panels: Efficiency

According to Energy-Sage.com the #1 Ranking Best Solar Panels for Efficiency are SunPower solar panels. 

A solar panel’s efficiency is a measure of how well it converts sunlight into electricity. Based only on maximum module efficiency, here are the top five manufacturers that make the best solar panels:

Data from Energy-Sage.com

Best solar panels by efficiency

1 SunPower 22.8%

Solar-estimate.org echos SunPower’s #1 placement, stating SunPower solar panels are the most efficient for homes.

Solar panels with higher efficiency require fewer modules. If you have a smaller roof, efficiency becomes a very important factor.

Below is table data from Solar-estimate.org

Table 5. The 5 most efficient models of solar panels by manufacturer
# Manufacturer Most efficient model Wattage Rated efficiency
1 SunPower SPR-X22-370-D-AC 370 W

Temperature Coefficiency 

SunPower is -0.29 Temperature Coefficient. A solar panel’s temperature coefficient is a measure of how much or little a panel’s production is lowered in hot temperatures. Despite hot weather and conditions, SunPower offers reliable production. 

SunPower solar panels are among the most popular solar panels. In fact, according to solar-estimate.org SunPower had the #2 best-selling solar panel module from June 2018 – November 2018. While this information may not add too much substance to the best solar panel claim, we believe consumers have it right. A consistent demand is often an indicator of high quality products. 

Solar Panel Installation Company Availability

Solar panels, no matter how great, can only excel when installed properly. The availability of quality solar panel installation companies is important. While we can not vouch for other companies, we can say, working with SunPower is not an instant process. SunPower qualifies it’s installation dealers to ensure quality control and proper installation. SunPower installation dealers can be found throughout the domestic United States. 

Top Tier Home Energy is Orange County, Riverside County and San Diego County’s best solar panel installation company. Experience and feedback from real clients tell a truth a company can never do for itself. Our client testimonials and reviews can provide you with a deeper understanding of our installation process and the quality and care our expert home installers provide. 

Best solar panels combined with best solar panel installation is a winning combination. Select the best team.

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


It’s tax season! And to celebrate the final year of the 30% federal tax credit on solar purchases, we’re offering a special rebate for one month only. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to take the next step, here’s a good one!
For a limited time, you can receive a $1,040 mail-in rebate with the purchase or lease of a SunPower® Equinox™ system with X-Series panels, one of the most efficient panels on the market.

Plus, by going solar now you may qualify for a 30% federal tax credit on solar purchases, before it drops in 2020.

How to claim your $1,040 mail-in rebate

  • Purchase or lease a SunPower Equinox® home solar system with X-Series panels
  • Sign your contract by April 15, 2019
  • Complete and forward the rebate form with attachments within 90 days of receiving the final invoice

Call (949) 296-2296 or click here to take advantage of this rare opportunity and start saving with Top Tier Home Energy!

As experts in solar power systems, we often are asked by nervous homeowners how solar panels work.  They’re interested in saving money on electricity, trying to sell credits back to the electric company, or even the sunsetting benefit of tax benefits tied to solar power.  It’s a valid question and something that most homeowners aren’t aware of- how do solar panels work to gather, convert, and store energy?  It seems mystifying to many and yet it’s not as complex as homeowners think.  In the following article, we’ll teach you how solar panels work and what you can expect.

What is Solar Energy

The sun is a huge source of energy.  Shining almost daily, the sun produces energy in photons.  Photons are light particles that penetrate our atmosphere to feed plants via photosynthesis and indirectly feed the animals and people who feed off of those plants.  While animals and people die over time, taking millions of years to become fossil fuels, solar energy does not take that long to produce power.  Instead, solar panels collect energy directly from the sun to power electricity including water heaters, and more.  While fossil fuels are finite in their collection and usage, solar power is not finite.  Instead, solar panels help to collect the power from the sun as a renewable clean energy source.  Solar power systems installed on residences and commercial systems help to minimize our carbon footprint because solar panels help collect clean green renewable energy.

How Do Solar Panels Translate Into Electricity- What’s the Process?

Electricity is a fascinating topic and one that few homeowners understand, whether from their own electric company or because they are obtaining electricity in other ways.  It’s something that homeowners often take for granted until they start to investigate solar panels and the power of solar energy.

Traditionally, electricity is the result of a current from charged particles.  This includes both positively and negatively charged particles.  As Paula Abdul once sang, opposites attract.  Solar panels include this same current of negatively and positively charged particles.  The sun hits the solar panels and creates a direct current from the negative side and positive side to create DC electricity.

As anyone who has bought new appliances knows, they traditionally run on AC power.  If solar panels connect DC power, how does that translate to AC electricity?  Solar power systems make use of an inverter to create AC electricity from the DC electricity that solar panels collect.

How Do Homeowners Cash In on their Solar Panels

Homeowners hear a lot that over time, their solar panels will pay for themselves or that they can become energy neutral as a result of their residential solar system.  This is true because electricity in California is on the grid system.  The grid allows for the production of energy that isn’t necessarily guaranteed.  When people gather solar panels credit, they are able to sell it back to the electric company.

Even though homeowners who have not yet collected enough solar power from their solar panels to make money off of it are still dependent upon the electric company, there’s potential to overcome that.  Over time, homeowners begin to walk away from needing to purchase electricity at off peak hours such as night time to earning enough credits to gain a check from the electric company based on their energy consolidation. At times, solar battery storage helps fill in the gaps as well.

Over time, the installation of solar panels is a very smart decision for homeowners. While the tax benefits are slowly going away, the benefits of reduced electricity bills and increased home resale value are huge for homeowners.  If you’re curious about the benefits of solar power and solar panels, call Top Tier Home Energy experts at (949) 296-2296.


Once upon a time, it was thought that residential solar was only a smart investment for those who planned to be in their home for “forever.”  However, as electricity rates skyrocket and more homeowners are selling their once “forever” homes to make a profit, realtors and lenders alike have realized that residential solar adds significant value to a home on the market.  Whether you plan on being in your home for 5 years or 50 years, adding a residential solar system adds significant value for resale.

Residential Solar is Less Expensive

These days, most homeowners are able to pay off the installation of a residential solar system in 4 to 5 years.  At that point, they’re able to start reducing their energy bill and eventually start generating energy credits to sell back to the electric company.  This is extremely attractive to home buyers as many are nervous about mortgage payments, home owner association fees, and more.  Buying a new home with residential solar reduces this nervous feeling because they’re able to imagine a future where they won’t have huge electric bills that often come with home ownership. Suddenly large homes with fancy built in amenities such as washers and dryers, dishwashers, dual refrigerators and more are more affordable to new home buyers.

Going Green is Cool

There is a cache of cool surrounding having a green home.  Many homeowners love being able to say they’re helping the environment by owning a home with residential solar.  It’s not unusual to have residential solar installed but it is highly sought after for homeowners seeking to minimize their carbon footprints and to reduce their energy usage.  In today’s society, where American energy has seemed to take a step back with the resurgence of older forms of energy, solar power emerges as trendy, cool, and something that educated people choose to provide for a better future of the planet.

Whether homeowners are seeking to reduce energy bills or to embrace a cool form of energy, the addition of solar panels to a home translates to higher resale value, which multiplies homeowners’ return on investment. In the current housing market, an increased resale value can translate to big dollars overall.

When considering whether or not to go green in your home, consider that with SunPower solar panels, you can produce over 70% more energy over the first 25 years.  Once you’ve installed SunPower solar panels, how you use that energy can be quite creative.  Consider the following ways in which you can use your new clean renewable energy:


Lighting Up Your Back Yard

With the clean renewable solar energy that you’re generating with SunPower solar panels, you can light up your back yard with colorful and creative lights.  You can impress your house guests and company when they come over with colorful light displays.  Imagine lighting up your pool, pergola, walk ways, trellaces, and patios with clean renewable energy.


Turning Up the Romance with SunPower Solar Panels

With SunPower solar panels, the energy you generate can be used to turn up the romance.  Picture how much you can enjoy powering and heating your hot tub sipping champagne.  With clean renewable energy, you can turn up the romance and not worry about how high your electric bill will be for your efforts.  You can take a dip every night and ignite the romantic spark in your relationship.  If you’re single, you can impress your dates with your elegant hot tub.


Powering Up A Holly Jolly Christmas Light Display

With SunPower solar panels, you can be the envy of your neighbors next Christmas with an intricate and bright light display.  You could deck your home out with every light you can find at the store and still be paying less for powering a massive display than your neighbors.  You can keep cozy all winter knowing that you’re producing more clean renewable energy and saving money at the same time.

There are many uses for clean renewable solar power that range from powering up your kitchen appliances to heating your home during the winter and keeping it cool in the summer. There’s no better way to do it than with SunPower solar panels.  If you’re ready to try out the many ways you can use solar power, give us a call at (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?

Ins and Outs of Industry Leading Solar Panel Warranties


Solar Panel systems for your home are a huge purchase to make, a costly investment in your home. A big factor involved in your purchasing decision should be the solar panel warranty of your solar panels.


Solar Panels are made to be durable and withstand extreme weather. They are built to withstand the elements: winds, snow, hot dry summers, hard rainfall and freezing winters. But there are always exceptions and some panels maybe faulty. This is where your warranty can make all the difference.


The Importance of a Solar Panel Warranty.


Solar Panel purchases are a big upfront expense with the promise of long term savings. Solar Panels generate energy and cut the cost of your electricity bill. But if you happen to get a faulty Solar Panel and it stops generating the expected energy promised at purchase than your savings can dwindle.


Your Solar Panel warranty is a guarantee your system will work and generate the energy you bought it for. All to often people fail to overlook the solar panel brand and accompanying warranty. Do not fall into this category. Make sure you select an industry leading brand (SunPower Panels offer the best warranty in the business).


Types of Solar Panel Warranties


There are different types of Solar Panel Warranties. The two most common warranties are a Product Warranty and a Performance Warranty.



  • Solar Panel Performance Warranty

Technology is a wonderful thing but like any technology product it will degrade over time. A Solar Panel Performance warranty will guarantee the expected production of the solar panels.  Solar Panels lose efficiency at a pretty reliable rate.


A typical Solar Panel will lose about 0.6-0.8% efficiency each year. This means your Solar Panels will not be able to generate the same amount of energy as they did brand new.


A performance solar panel warranty may guarantee 90% performance for 10 years and 80% performance for 25 years. While two warranties may guarantee the same performance overtime. You should definitely factor in the max efficiency rate of the panels as they may differ substantially depending on the brand. One brand may have a ME rate of 22% while another brand’s ME is 17%.


How do you determine when you need to use your Performance Solar Panel Warranty?


When checking your energy production, if you are producing dramatically less energy suddenly than there is probably an issue with the Solar Panel materials. If you’re generating less energy than you were at a steadier rate, call your solar installation company to assess your panels. If your performance is not meeting the solar panel warranty guarantee, the manufacture should replace your panels. Some companies will cover shipping and replacement costs under your solar panel warranty.



  • Solar Panel Product Warranty

solar panel warranty

The Solar Panel Product warranty is also referred to as the material warranty. It covers the material in the event something is faulty. For example, faulty wiring (caused by manufacturing defect), corrosion from water and sun exposure, premature wear and tear, and issues caused by elements would be covered under this form of solar panel warranty.


A typical product warranty is for 10 years. If you purchase your panels from a reputable company like Top Tier Home Energy you will get a 25 year Product warranty. A long solar panel warranty demonstrates confidence in craftsmanship. A long warranty, backed by a reputable brand is a great investment in the long run.


How do you determine when you need to use your Product Warranty?


You should contact your Solar Panel installation company if you notice some of your panels are not working. After an assessment, if your panels are determined faulty, your next step is to contact the manufacture. Your manufacturer should cover the shipping and installation costs along with the new Solar Panels.


Other Warranties


There are two other warranties to consider: Inverter and Battery Warranties.


An inverter warranty is typically shorter than that of Solar Panels. An inverter is one of the main components in the Solar System; it converts the generated energy into usable energy for your home. It doesn’t last as long as the panels and you can expect to replace it at least once in the life span of your Solar Panels. The average warranty for your inverter is 5-10 years.


A solar battery warranty has the same life span as an inverter: 5-10 years. The expected life for a battery is 15 years. A solar battery is used to store extra energy that was generated to use at a later time, like night time or peak times.


Voiding Your Warranty


When you receive your paperwork for your solar panels and Warranty it is best to read all the information and care instructions. Read all the fine print.


An example of something that will void your warranty is having an unlicensed worker repair your system or if you do not upkeep the surrounding environment to protect the Solar Panels like keeping trees trimmed.

Make sure a licensed installer comes out to look at or repair your system. This will ensure the life span of your warranty and your system.


The best warranty on the market becomes meaningless when voided: beware!


Why SunPower Warranties are Great


Top Tier Home Energy only works with the best solar panels on the market: SunPower solar panels. SunPower offers a 25 year warranty on your complete solar panel system, not just the panels. SunPower covers 100% repair, labor, shipping and parts cost. Additionally, SunPower guarantees your panels will not lose more than 8% of their original power output in 25 years.


Call us for your FREE Solar Panel Installation Consultation: Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.


“Will my Solar Panels also charge my Electric Vehicle?”

This is a question often asked by customers new to solar panels and electric vehicles. The answer is, yes! Yes you can charge your electric vehicle with your home solar panels.

There are two options to charging your electric vehicle from home.

Option One is going through the electric company and purchasing an electric charging station. You will pay more on top of your current electric bill to charge your car. This can get pretty expensive depending on how much you drive your vehicle.

Option Two is with solar panels. Since you already have solar, you will only need to factor in how many solar panels you need to charge the car and add that into how many you need total for your home. If you owned your electric vehicle prior to solar installation, the number of solar panels necessary should have been calculated for you.
If you purchased your electric vehicle after your solar panel install, the good news is the number of panels you need is very small.

Here is a step by step guide to determining how many solar panels you will need for your vehicle.

Step 1: Determine by how many kilowatt-hours it takes your car to go 100 miles. This is called Miles-Per-Gallon equivalent or MPGe. You can find this at fueleconomy.gov.
Step 2: Once you knows your kWh, ask yourself how many miles you drive per day.
Step 3: Estimate (round up) how many miles you will drive per year.
Example: If your car rating is 30 kWh/100 miles and you only drive 25 miles a day than you’re only using 7.5 kWh per day. That’s around 2,700 kWh energy usage in a year. With this estimate you can add up your household usage and add the required number of panels to your system.

Once you have the solar panels you need to power your home and vehicle, you will need to purchase and install an electric vehicle charger. You can purchase these just about anywhere now. Your car dealership will sell them, you can purchase them off Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, even Walmart.

If you are in the process of solar panel installation, that the inverter you install can handle the amount of power you will be using for your vehicle charger. If you already have a solar panel system installed, you will need to install a new inverter that can handle more power coming from the panels.

On average, you will need about 10 solar panels per electric vehicle.

That’s about it for the nuts and bolts of charging your electric vehicle using solar panels.

Here are some added bonus to electric vehicle charging with solar panels:

The first is you aren’t paying the electric company to charge your car, if set up right the electric company may even give you credits for solar they purchase from you.

You will support the environment with less vehicle emissions and less electricity emissions affecting the environment.

If you already have a Solar System installed and you claimed the Solar purchase on your taxes and you install another system to charge your car than you can claim the second solar panels purchase on your taxes also and save even more money.

You will reduce the cost of your car a great amount with not paying for gas and receiving bonus credit on your taxes.

Just as you did before you purchased your Solar Panels, make sure you do your research on your best options for Electric Vehicles, Chargers and Solar Systems needed. Make sure you are purchasing solar panels that will meet your needs and will save you money in the long term. At

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


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