What is a Tier 1 Solar Panel

What makes a solar panel “Tier 1”?

Over the last 6 months the most common questions that keep coming up in conversation in Geelong are…

Are european panels better than Chinese panels?

What is the difference in quality of solar panels ?

What makes the panels you supply better than others?

What is a Tier one solar panel?

Today I’ll discuss Tier one solar panels.  There is no one exact clarification to what makes a Tier 1 solar panel, although a generalised concept has been accepted for the industry.  This can be broken down into 4 specific sections.

Requirement 1:  Solar History

Solar manufacturer / company must have been producing solar panels for more than 5 years minimum. There must be a proven track record to show that the company has proofed itself in the industry

Requirement 2:   Verticle integration of solar panels

Quality and reliability, all Tier one manufacturers need to have a fully vertically inter grated manufacturing process with there materials. What this means is that they do not outsource there materials from other suppliers.  They produce there own components and have full control over every item that goes through there production line

Requirement 3:  Solar panel assembling line

The process in which the solar panels are manufactured.  Tier one manufacturers have primarily a fully assembled robotic assembly plant . The benefit of this? If every item runs through the exact same process day in and day out there shall be no room for human error from panel to panel.  Obviously these panels still require periodical testing to maintain quality control but much less room for error occurs in robotic production lines

Requirement 4:   Research and design.


You  will hear the terminology of R&D in the industry a lot amount the larger players on the market. To be classified Tier one, proof of a large quantity of research and design has to be shown, to make sure that the manufacturing is only getting better and the companies are not letting there design capabilities slip. There is no actual fiscal amount denoted to pass this criteria , but an understandings that the companies are maintaining high levels of R&D.

In conclustion , regarding Tier 1 solar companies

A lot of people are under the understanding that to become a Tier 1 company you need to have great fiscal backing and stability.  This is not actually the case but if you find any company that is whiling to pass all these criteria mentioned above, then there is a good chance that they are a feasible company.  A general understanding though is that most if not all Tier one companies are bankable (most likely to still be around) in the short to mid term.  Knowing the solar industry there is no guarantees that manufacturers will not come and go.  Just look at the latest closer of Solarmax inverters. Solar max was a high quality Swiss manufacturer of solar inverters and quality was not an issue, financial constraints in the market pushed their per rant company into recievership.

So in summing up, if you were looking for a good top of the range Solar panel there is a good chance that the solar panel your looking for will be a tier one panel manufacturer and you should have a little price of mind that the panels we want installed are more likely to have the quality and design with customer service you require.  By no means does this discount some solar panels on the market that do not fit into the Tier one category, it nearly means they don’t fit all criteria above and due file fence should be made before making any decision.

Stay tuned for more blogs on solar panels including the difference between poly and mono crystalline solar panels . Which style panel produces more power in which conditions.

Check out more solar Blogs from Velocity Solar

Brad Ott
Velocity Solar