You may have seen ‘Tier 1‘ Solar Panels being advertised, what does this mean? The rating was developed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance Corporation to rate solar panel manufacturer’s in terms of financial stability. This does not mean a panel offers the highest performance or quality, this can make the rating somewhat misleading as it does not guarantee that the panel is free from defects or will perform over the life of the system. This is why the solar panel manufacturers reputation and history are just as important as their perceived quality.
The sun’s UV radiation and high summer temperatures create extreme conditions for any roof top mounted solar panel, especially in Australia and it can take 5 years or longer before any potential quality issues become noticeable. This is why the manufacturer’s warranty period; service history and reputation are crucial to selecting a quality solar panel.
Once installed outside and exposed to sunlight, UV radiation, high temperatures and weather, all solar panels will slowly reduce power output over time. Typically, it is expected the first year is 2-3% (due to the effects of light induced degradation), while the remaining 24 years will experience considerably less rates at 0.5 to 0.7% per year.
Tier 1 solar panels may not necessarily mean that it is a good quality panel, they are mere indicators that the manufacturer is reputable and there are some brands not rated that outperform Tier 1 solar panels