Tier 1 panels are those considered of highest manufacturing quality, performance and reliability. Tier 1 solar module suppliers are vertically integrated, heavily invest in R&D, they use highly automated manufacturing techniques and they must have at least 5 years of solar panel production history.
Vertically integrated that they do not rely on other companies in order to build solar panels. This ensures the companies control over the whole engineering process from elementary principles such as producing the silicon cells to designing modules, frames and eventually the entire panel.
Research and development is the key to better understanding and advancing solar panels to become more efficient and less costly. Tier 1 manufacturers ensure this is an ongoing strategy to provide customers with high quality products that are continuously improved.Precision automated manufacturing techniques are in place to benchmark every unit and batch that comes off of the production line. They ensure that human error and contamination during the production process does not occur.
Tier 1 companies require at least 5 years of solar panel production history. 5 years is more than enough time for a company to prove that manufacturers are committed to build and maintain their customer base. This also reflects the minimum time required for a company to have proven solid production techniques, a proven product and survival among competitors. A minimum of 5 years into the business will give customers a sense of security, given that manufacturers will cover them for servicing or replacement of their system later down the track.
Furthermore, most Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers offer reinsurances to cover their warranties in case they were to go bankrupt in the future as added peace of mind.
If you want to finance a larger solar system, lenders will usually only consider Tier 1 panels to be financed. Below is a list of Tier 1 solar module manufacturers:
Tier 2 solar panels are the next line of competition in the solar panel market. Tier 2 solar panels contribute to 8% of the total number of panels out on the market. Tier 2 companies are existent for 2-5 years. Normally they do not invest much time into research and development for their very own solar panel products. Their production line is not as heavily automated like Tier 1 companies. Nevertheless, some quality control of components and an increasing degree of automation would be required for such rating. Tier 2 panels gain the upper hand in terms of capital price as they’re a cheaper option and still reside within a niche market. If you are looking for somewhat reliable panels at a low price, Tier 2 may be a suitable option for you.
Tier 3 solar panels on the other hand comprise 90% of the solar panel market. Tier 3 manufacturers are least involved in the entire engineering process of solar panel manufacturing.
Tier 3 manufacturers mainly focus on assembling components that are sourced from other companies. There is no research and development invested to build such solar panels. Manual labour is heavily relied upon in order to fabricate these solar panels. Due to the massive overflow of panels in recent years it is unlikely that Tier 3 companies will survive within the first 2 years out in the industry.
If you’re unsure what panels are best suited for your needs please contact us for more information.