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.

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.


Most new homes built in California are solar-powered. In fact, by 2020, ALL newly built California homes will require solar panels. That’s good news for our Earth. In spite of this mandate, however, homeowners desire solar panels and other features for a green home.

Here are three things to put into consideration if you’re thinking about building your dream green home.

1.   Understand the Terms ‘Green Home’ vs. ‘Net-Zero’ Home

  •      You might think a “green home” and “net-zero” home mean the same thing, but they are significantly different. A “net-zero” home has basically one goal: Reducing the home’s carbon trail to the point where it has zero carbon effect on the environment. This is achieved by generating electricity with bio-fuels and by efficient utilization of energy.
  •      A “green home” often refers to a home that is built using 100% (or close to) sustainable and environmentally non-toxic building materials and combines energy efficient technology to power the home. Besides using solar panels, that means building with materials such as refurbished wood, using tiles made from recycled supplies or using paints free of volatile organic compounds, often referred to as “VOCs.”.

By understanding these two distinct terms, you can more clearly build your custom green home. A net zero energy home is primarily focused on using no outside energy. A green home is almost fully built with environmentally friendly materials and powered by solar panels. Both homes use less energy and will be less damaging to the environment. If the goal of your family is to build a net-zero home, your architect’s choice of roofing materials, insulation, paint, and other building materials will be explicit to that energy-savings goal and may be less focused on materials used to build your home (such as reused or sustainable options). Make sure you know what your goals are.

2.   Design with Energy-Efficiency Codes and Future Market Trends in Mind

Your builder or architect should be familiar with the modern energy efficiency requirements for new construction, nevertheless, make sure you bring the codes up. You always want to be code compliant.

 In 2016 there was a 33% increase in the number of net-zero housing units built in the U.S. and Canada. Cities are setting green standards, such as in Austin, Texas, which has a 2050 target to reduce carbon footprint to zero for all new structures and homes.

As previously mentioned, in California, Title 24 regulations will into effect by 2020. Thus, all new California homes will soon be solar-powered. Consequently, if you’re asking your builder to include solar to your home now, you’ll be placing your home in the forefront of the real estate market.

3. Determine Your Budget for Energy Efficient Fixtures and Add-Ons for Your Green Home

Technology is always improving and advancing. There are countless fixtures and add-ons to consider when modernizing your home and making it more energy efficient to become a green home.  

The most common technologies that help reduce a home’s energy footprint are:

Energy-efficient windows

  • Energy-recovery ventilation
  • High-efficiency solar panels
  • LED lighting and maximized natural lighting
  • Heating and cooling pumps
  • Lighting sensors, smart thermostats, and other intelligent devices that reduce energy use when you’re at home and when you’re away.
  •  R-49-rated insulation and other caulking materials
  • Energy Star-rated appliances (refrigerators, washers, dishwashers, etc.)


The sun can now power more than just your light bulbs, there are solar powered pool heaters, water heaters, not to mention, electrical car pumps.


While some energy efficient items may be costly up front, the long term savings is typically substantially more. Determine your budget, then have a through conversation with your architect to decide what amenities and features your green home will have.


Top Tier Home Energy is committed to helping you accomplish your green home needs. We have the most aesthetically pleasing solar panels on the market. Our solar panels have an all black surface rather than a grid like surface which is often a architect and green home builders dream.


Building your own green home can be accomplished with careful planning and organized goals. It is always best to consider important factors before you begin construction. Consider the above-mentioned factors for a good start in building your green home.


For your green home solar panel installation, contact Top Tier Home Energy. We offer the most aesthetically pleasing solar panels and expert installation to make sure your design comes out perfectly. Call Top Tier Home Energy (949) 296-2296.



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.


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