What Are Tier 1 Solar Panels?

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Introduction to Tier 1 Solar Panels

Solar energy is a clean and cheap energy that more and more people, companies and organisations are betting on. Installers of solar panels see how they have more and more work to assemble systems to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect, making the sun one of the most efficient ways to obtain the energy we use daily. But what is tier 1 in solar panels?

When it comes to photovoltaics, solar panels are fundamental because they capture sunlight and transform it into electrical energy. The quality of the solar panels is fundamental when selecting them to obtain the best performance. The tier 1 list is usually used to determine this quality to find the panels that offer the best performance.

Gain an understanding of the cost savings associated with solar panels by reading our blog “How Much Do Solar Panels Save?

What are tier 1 solar panels?

Tier 1 is a list compiled by the company BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance Corporation), where solar panel manufacturers are included according to their financial capacity. This means that the solar panel companies on this list are solvent and have a high financial capacity.

For a long time, this tier 1 list has been considered the ideal way to select the best solar panels, as it was assumed that companies with high creditworthiness and prestige had the best products on the market. Although it is true in many cases, the reality is that the best way to select a panel with high performance and durability is by looking at technical aspects and the quality of the materials, leaving tier 1 as one more element in making the decision (never the only element in the choice of solar panels to be purchased).

What is necessary to be included in the tier 1 list of solar panels?

The companies that appear on this prestigious list of the American company Bloomberg must previously fulfil a series of criteria.

  1. Have a high level of transparency concerning their supply chain.
  2. Manufacture and distribute own-brand solar panels.
  3. Have completed at least six projects of 1.5 MW or more and have been financed by six different institutions.

What Tier 1 Solar Panels Levels Exist?

The Tier 1 Solar Panels List has three different levels:

Tier 1 Level 1 (Large Manufacturers) Solar Panels

These include large companies responsible for manufacturing all components, from the cells to the solar panels themselves (known as a vertically integrated industry).

At this level are financially strong companies with a better chance of continuing to operate in the market in the long term.

Other characteristics of Tier 1 companies are:

  • They are leaders or benchmarks in the sector.
  • They have the best quality and safety certificates (such as ISO 9001, for example).
  •  They invest heavily in research and development.
  • They have a large infrastructure.
  • Automated manufacturing processes.

Tier 1 Level 2 (Small and medium-sized manufacturers)

In the next tier are smaller manufacturing companies with semi-automated processes (still have many manual processes that limit productivity, quality and efficiency).

These companies can present high-quality products, but their growth is limited by many aspects (economic capacity, low investment in research and development…).

Tier 1 level 3 (Assemblers)

At the lowest level of Tier 1, we find small companies dedicated to assembling solar panels, i.e. they do not manufacture any or almost none of their components but rather assemble panels with elements manufactured by other companies.

These companies do not invest in research and development and tend to focus on offering products at a low price to reach more users.

How to measure the quality of a solar panel

In addition to consulting the tier 1 list to determine the degree of reliability and solvency of the manufacturer or assembler of the solar panel, it is essential to take into account the features offered by each model.

Solar panel certifications are the best way to identify if it is a good purchase option. Among these certifications, we can highlight the following:

  • IEC 61215. This certifies that it has passed various quality tests.
  • IEC 62716. Certifies a high level of safety (electrical, mechanical, thermal, etc.).
  • IEC 62716. Tested against corrosion by ammonia.
  • IEC 62716. It has passed tests against salt spray corrosion.


Depending on the type of installation, it will be interesting to purchase solar panels that contain certain certificates manufactured by Tier 1 level 1 companies. For example, for installations in coastal areas near the sea, it is best if the solar panels have IEC 62716 certification to prevent the effects of salt from damaging the panels.

Buying solar panels with the tier 1 list in mind is a very useful reference, as you can identify the most prestigious companies in the sector. However, it is essential to know the different key aspects when buying solar panels that give high performance and durability (certifications that the product has, warranty offered, solar panel efficiency, temperature coefficient range, and positive tolerance in power).

If you want to make a solar installation in your home or work and buy the most efficient solar panels from companies that belong to tier 1, do not hesitate to contact us. We will study your case and propose the best solution so that you can enjoy a great photovoltaic installation that will supply you with the energy you need for a long period. When determining the quality of solar panels, its important to know answers to questions like, how are solar panels made, as this could impact the quality of the solar panel.

If you’re interested in purchasing or installing solar panels in Tasmania, Solar Panels Tasmania has you covered! Feel free to contact us and get your free quote today.



John Williams Solar Panel Expert Tasmania On A Roof

John Williams is a solar panel expert with 15+ years of experience, providing customized solutions and promoting clean energy in Tasmania. He has a deep understanding of technical and commercial aspects, a proven track record and stay updated with industry trends and technologies. John also holds a Clean Energy Council accreditation.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Renewable Energy from the University of Tasmania


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