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.

When people start doing their research into solar energy, one of the most common questions is whether or not solar panels produce solar powered energy at night. It sounds silly, but you have to wonder if solar panels produce renewable solar energy, then what happens at night? The truth is that with solar panels, homeowners are able to benefit from energy stored and produced during the day and turned into solar powered energy. There are multiple ways In which this happens:

Solar Powered Energy and Net Metering

Net metering is often misunderstood but it’s a simple concept. Homeowners connect their solar power energy panels to the grid and it functions similarly to a health savings account. In this way, solar power is gathered and if there’s excess, then it’s sold back to the electric grid. Because of the excess electricity gathered, homeowners are able to draw upon the solar power energy credits earned during the day. When homeowners’ solar panels store enough energy, not only are they able to use it at night, but the further excess is able to be sold back to the electricity company. This in turn could help homeowners make money back for their use of a solar power installation. Net metering allows homeowners to not only draw upon their bank of stored solar powered energy to use at night, but to also facilitate the flow of energy throughout homes, day or night.

Solar Power Batteries Keep Your Solar Powered Energy Flowing

Solar powered energy is extremely important, but especially with solar batteries. Solar batteries absorb energy directly from the sun. Instead of selling solar power back to the grid, solar batteries absorb the energy from the sun and the solar power energy battery provides stored energy to homeowners themselves. Homeowners are able to gain peace of mind for solar powered energy battery backup during power during outages or natural disasters. This allows homeowners the ability to gain a sustainable 24/7 source of solar energy, no matter the time of night.

The One-Two Punch of Both

The majority of solar powered energy systems actually combine net metering and solar batteries. What this means to the average homeowner with solar panels is that they are able to generate more energy, store this energy for use during the night or at later times, and even to make money off of solar powered energy due to selling electricity back to the grid system. The marriage of these 2 important technologies means that homeowners are better able to find a reliable and sustainable solar powered energy solution that provides energy when they need it and money back when they don’t.

No matter your choice, there are cost benefits and drawbacks to various aspects of a residential solar energy system. It’s important to consult the experts such as Top Tier Home who know how to help homeowners obtain the very best for their needs. Call Top Tier Home today at (949) 296-2296.

Solar power can save homeowners thousands of dollars per year in electricity costs and over time, can actually make homeowners money from the accumulation of solar power and the eventual sale back to the electric company. However, homeowners are aware that the upfront costs of a solar installation can be hefty in the beginning. That’s why many homeowners are opting for financing their solar power installation. Finding the right option for each homeowner can be difficult. However, we’re laying out the variety of financing options available to homeowners now that will result in larger savings later.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Solar Power Financing

When you own your own home, you have a line of equity available to you. After all, the reason you own versus rent is to build equity for your future. In order to make big purchases, many homeowners at one point or another, often take out a loan against the value of their home. What this means is that the bank is betting on the fact that you’ll pay your loan back or they’ll have a piece of real property to take to satisfy the loan.

By using your home as collateral, homeowners are able to gain access to the full amount in order to pay for a solar power installation upfront. The good news is this investment actually increases the value of your home. Payments to the bank to repay this loan are much less per month than other kinds of loans and allow homeowners to own their solar power installation from day 1- you’re an instant home solar owner.

Home Energy Renovation Option (HERO) Home Loan

A HERO home loan can offer homeowners seeking to upgrade to a solar power installation the ability to fund energy upgrades to their homes. HERO contractors are highly regulated and can offer repayment through homeowners’ property taxes. Rather than applying with your credit score, people are approved via the value of their home equity. Typically, homeowners choose a rate based on the number of years that they’ll need to pay the loan back and the rate is added to their tax bill. This is popular because it’s one annual payment. As a result, homeowners with solar power systems often experience immediate gains as a result of falling electricity rates and rising abilities to make money off of their solar power system.

Upfront Cash Payment

By paying in cash upfront, homeowners are able to realize benefits of solar power immediately. While this can be difficult for some homeowners, it can also be a smart investment in order to realize immediate benefits. This means homeowners are able to own their solar system on day 1. These homeowners are also able to gain the lowest price on a new system and be eligible for immediate tax benefits. This kind of improvement to a home also offers an increase in a home’s value. These can be attractive options to pay in cash upfront instead of delaying the costs via a loan.

Whatever your financial situation, homeowners are able to realize the benefits of a new solar power system. This means that whether they take out a loan or pay in cash, a new solar system can be instantly valuable. To find out more about your options, call the experts at Top Tier Home Energy at (949) 296-2296.

The promise of solar power is energy independence. Part of that great promise is the ability to save money, or even get paid for the energy homeowners produce to sell back to the grid. However, prior to being able to produce energy to sell back to the electric company, there are a host of energy rebates that homeowners can take advantage of in order to start saving faster. Both states and the federal government offer energy efficiency incentives in the form of energy rebates that homeowners can take advantage of immediately.

The Various Kinds of Energy Rebates Available

There are a variety of energy rebates that homeowners are able to take advantage of in order to save money. When homeowners install solar panels, they’re able to realize many benefits. Whether homeowners apply for grant funding for energy efficient projects, or government services aimed at saving homeowners money, there are multiple ways in which homeowners can save. This includes the following types of energy rebates:

• Cash Energy Rebates- Many local governments, state governments, manufacturers and electric or utility companies offer cash incentives to use energy efficient products or appliances. These are the most readily available energy rebates available to homeowners seeking to save money on their electricity or power bills.
• Tax Credits- Tax credits are still available to homeowners seeking energy rebates for purchasing qualifying Energy Star appliances that are approved for the year. When filing taxes, the federal government can offer tax credits for the purchase of energy efficient products, whether solar or Energy Star appliances. As tax season looms, we can all use additional tax deductions in order to help save money.
• Federal Solar Incentives- Since 2006, the federal government has offered energy rebates for homeowners who have solar power systems. This has traditionally been approximately 30%, but as time progresses, this will soon dissipate. This is why the time to act is now. Homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of these important energy rebates now before the tax benefits are gone. Unfortunately, this benefit will reduce to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021. After 2021, the residential solar credits will disappear altogether, although commercial entities will reduce to a permanent 10%.
• State Energy Rebates- There are multiple states that offer additional tax and cash energy rebates. Depending upon homeowners’ state where their residence is located, there may be rebate incentive programs that could even pay for a residential solar power system.

There are a variety of energy rebates available to savvy homeowners who are ready to take advantage of time sensitive rebates in addition to money offered back by either manufacturers or Energy Star products. To find out more about these opportunities, contact Top Tier Home Energy at (949) 296-2296.

When people hear the words solar batteries, it’s easy to conjure up an image of something similar to a car battery installed in your home.  However, today’s solar system batteries are more similar to cell phone or computer batteries based on their components, not based on size.  Today’s batteries are constructed of lithium-ion offering greater energy storage per square foot and weight.

What Types of Different Batteries are There?

Solar batteries are traditionally AC- coupled or DC- coupled.  In the case of AC- coupled batteries, solar power gathered throughout the day is converted through a grid connect inverter from DC to AC, before the battery inverter converts the power to DC power and stores it in the batteries.  When energy is needed, the inverter converts it back to AC power to supply to the load.

DC- coupled solar batteries directly channel solar power to a solar battery charger, regulating how the batteries are charged. Because solar panels produce DC power and batteries store DC power, there is no need to convert the power.

How Residential Solar Batteries Work

Throughout the day, your residential solar power system collects energy from the sun and then sends that energy to its batteries for either storage or immediate use.  Top Tier Home Energy systems integrate with various kinds of solar batteries allowing more freedom for homeowners.

Once the batteries collect the power, intelligent software automatically manages which power source you’re connected to and drawing energy from.  Your home could be connected to the power grid or it could be drawing power from the batteries in your solar system.  So on a cloudy day, if your battery is not full, you may be drawing power from the grid to keep the lights on in your home or to power your water heater.  When homeowners’ batteries are full, the energy necessary to power their home is drawn from batteries, not the grid.  This allows them to save money by not drawing power from the grid provided by the electric company. Similarly, these batteries can help offset peak energy usage at night when people are home from work.

As homeowners’ energy needs change, they can scale up their solar power system to meet their changing energy needs.  This includes adding more solar panels and batteries to meet these changing energy needs.  If a homeowner suddenly makes an electric vehicle purchase and needs to charge it, their residential solar power system will be able to meet the increase in demand for energy.

With the power of solar system batteries, homeowners can become less reliant on grid power, lowering bills.  Eventually, as they generate more energy and more energy is stored, they can also sell energy credits back to the electric company.  The answer to energy independence and significant savings lays in the form of the clean renewable energy of solar.

Have questions? Call today, we’re happy to answer any (949) 296-2296.

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.


If you’ve ever looked at the market, there’s a wide variety of different residences out there ranging from single family homes to town homes, condos, manufactured homes, and more.  As many different homes as there are, there are also as many different roof types.  No matter your home or your roof type, installing solar panels on your residency is as easy as calling the experts at Top Tier Home Energy.

Installing Solar Panels Includes the Following Types of Roofs

As we’ve said, there are a variety of different kinds of roofs that homeowners can install solar panels on, including the following kinds:

  • Clay or slate tiles
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Wood or cedar tiles
  • Rubber roofs
  • Metal

Installing solar panels on these different roof varieties necessitates different installation techniques, but experts can safely and efficiently install a brand new solar power system on any kind of residential or even commercial roof.

Wooden and Cedar Roof Tiles

Wooden and cedar roof tiles are common to older homes.  While many homeowners with older homes ask themselves if they’re good candidates for solar power, the good news is they are.  In order to install solar panels on wooden or cedar roof tiles, solar power installers will drill a stud into the tiles and insert flashing underneath the wooden or cedar roof tiles in order to prevent leaking.  By installing solar panels in this manner, homeowners can rest easy that they can gain more energy efficiently and without concern for leakage.

Installing Solar Panels on Clay Tile Roofs

In Southern California, many homes have traditional Spanish tiles on the roof.  This is also a part of a Mediterranean trend in home building.  Traditionally, these tiles are made of clay.  As any homeowner with clay tiles knows, they are extremely fragile and can break very easily.

This is why when installing solar panels on a clay tile roof, experts take extra precautions.  This means the experts will remove your clay tiles to mount racking feet, metal hooks and flashing directly onto the home’s roof.  Then, new tiles will be inserted above these to conform with the home’s aesthetics.  In some cases, expert installers may place a new metal piece in its place instead.

Asphalt Shingles- the Most Common Type

The most common type of roof material is asphalt shingles.  These affordable shingles are very popular with home builders.  Because they are so common in residences, installing solar panels on asphalt shingles are easy and straightforward.  Installers will typically drill studs, install panel mounts and flashing to prevent any water from creeping in.

Metal Roofs

Some homeowners have really artistic homes and use metal roofs.  Installing solar panels on a metal roof isn’t as complicated as one would believe- it’s actually as easy as either clamping solar systems onto a raised metal seam or drill holes and add flashing to prevent any water damage.

Concrete Tiles or Rubber Roofs

Concrete tiles and rubber roofs are less common, but are still found in multifamily units.  In order to install solar panels on these roofs, solar power installation experts will install tilted or slanted metal racking in order to hold up the solar panels at the exact angle necessary to gather solar energy.  Alternatively, a ballast system might be used as a weighted racking system to hold solar panels in place.

As you can see, installing solar panels on a variety of different kinds of roofs is not difficult.  Homeowners can take pride in knowing that the experts they’re working with at Top Tier Home Energy can do it all.  For more information or to take advantage of solar power, call (949) 296-2296..



Recent Global Warming deniers have set back much of America’s energy policies and environmental policies by undermining efforts to embrace cleaner and more efficient forms of energy.  A recent report by the Environment America Research and Policy Center concludes that if America were to embrace even a fracture of the limitless and pollution free energy that shines on it every day, we could meet all of our energy needs.  This is the power of solar energy.  If more homeowners and businesses embrace solar energy, we’ll be able to leave behind a cleaner, more sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren.

The Potential for Solar Energy to Power More Energy than We Consume

Within the report, it states that the United States has the power to generate over 100 times more energy than it currently consumes by embracing solar energy.  Each state could in fact, generate more solar energy than its citizens and businesses consumes, freeing us from reliance on less clean energy initiatives.

The report offers a conclusion that states can obtain anywhere from 1 to over 100 times their energy needs from solar energy.  The majority of states that could obtain over 100 times their energy needs are largely a block from Middle America to the Southwest and Northwest. These states have populations that range from very dense to not very populated.  By embracing solar power, they can ensure they are able to generate more clean energy and leave behind a brighter future.

Solar Energy and You

Homeowners researching solar power installations can take comfort that their participation in this, by installing solar power systems, are able to contribute to a better future.  As more homeowners embrace solar power, they are able to generate more clean renewable energy, contributing to the self sufficiency of the state.  Moreover, they’re able to dramatically reduce their energy bills, and even make money by selling solar credits to the electric company.

It’s clear that solar power is the wave of the future and a smart bet for people and businesses to embrace.  Consider how we can minimize our carbon footprint, reduce the effects of Global Warming and help leave behind a better world for everyone.


(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.

We’ve heard for a while now that the solar tax credit will be reducing from 30% to lower over the years to come.  That’s why this is the perfect year for you to take advantage of the 2019 solar tax credit.  Homeowners will be able to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit with solar systems installed in their homes.

How the Solar Tax Credit Works

The federal solar tax credit was intended to encourage homeowners to go green and reduce Americans’ dependency on fossil fuels.  Due to popular demand, the federal solar tax credit was extended to 2020 by Congress in order to extend the 30% credit to homeowners.  In California, there is a mandate that all new homes install solar panels, but older homes are not required to install solar panels.  However, it’s anticipated that homeowners will rush to take advantage of the solar tax credit.

To acquire the solar tax credit, your solar installation company will offer you a receipt for the solar system’s total cost and installation process.  When tax season comes around, homeowners will be able to provide this information to their tax professional including items such as storage of solar batteries.

It must be noted that in order to take advantage of the federal tax credit, homeowners have to own their own solar panel system instead of renting it from a solar company. Additionally, in order to qualify for the solar tax credit, solar batteries must be entirely charged by the solar panel system, not an outside source.  These are important distinctions for homeowners seeking to make use of their tax credits for switching to clean green renewable energy.

Solar Tax Credit Eligibility Broken Down

As mentioned previously, there are a few conditions in order to make use of the 2019 federal tax credit:

  • Homeowners MUST own their own solar panel system and batteries in order to be eligible
  • Batteries must be fully charged from solar panels, not other sources
  • You must be a homeowner, not a renter of a property
  • Your solar panel system needs to be installed before the end of 2019

The Time to Act Is Now

Before the solar tax credit begins to diminish significantly, it’s time for you to act and install solar panels.  Go green and begin earning credits instead of paying major electricity bills.  Don’t wait to collect on your 2019 solar tax credit.  Consult with a skilled solar panel installation expert today and begin generating clean green renewable energy today that will save you money in the long run.

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

We proudly service Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County.

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