Tier 1 Vs Tier 2 Solar Panels? What to Choose?

Multiple solar companies market their solar panels with a label of Tier 1 or Tier 2 solar panels. Although it may sound fancy, it often leaves solar consumers puzzled about its effectiveness.

The good news is that we curated a dedicated blog that will provide clear distinctions between Tier 1 and Tier 2 solar panels. Also, we will be assessing whether these solar panel groups hold any relevancy for solar users considering the solar PV system installation at their places.

What Are Tier 1 Solar Panels?

A short and simple answer to this question is: solar panels manufactured by reputable companies come under the Tier 1 group. At this point, it is necessary to understand that primarily this grouping pertains to ‘bankability,’ depending exclusively on financial parameters, rather than serving as a solar panel quality indicator.

Also, in the solar industry, Tier 1 solar panels are used as a practical mode for identifying top-notch solar panel brands.

Some common features of Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers include:

  • Proven track record of producing extended warranty solar panels, such as five years or more.
  • Publicly listed companies on a stock exchange or enterprises that show financial stability with a sound balance sheet.
  • Companies with automated manufacturing processes and a high degree of vertical integration.
  • Making substantial investments in marketing and branding.
  • Maintain a positive reputation for product quality and customer service.


Tier 1 solar panels have high-end quality, but solar consumers need to assess different factors, like warranty terms, efficiency, their needs, and the cost of panels.

What Are Tier 2 Solar Panels?

Tier 2 solar panels basically come under a catch-all phrase that isolates all solar panels that do not meet the Tier 1 criteria. There are no formal designations or registers for Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar companies. So, the manufacturers or companies that fall outside the Tier 1 category, produce Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar panels, and we can say it is an umbrella term for this purpose.

Tier 1 vs Tier 2 Solar Panels

Tier 1 solar manufacturers are fewer in number, as these account for a 2% fraction of the whole solar industry. So, to make vivid distinctions between Tier 1 and Tier 2 or 3, here are three key points to regard:

1.      Warranty

The primary difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 solar panels lies in their warranties and reliability. Tier 1 solar panels rouse confidence that their 25-year performance warranty will be supported. However, Tier 2 companies offer satisfactory warranties but less than 25 years with less chance of support in the future.

2.      Quality

Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 solar panel manufacturers utilize solar cell production lines and solar module assembly lines designed and constructed by the same engineering companies. However, Tier 1 solar companies have a low probability of defects.


3.      Cost

Since Tier 1 solar panels belong to high-end financial factors, they are 10-30% more costly than their Tier 2 counterparts.




Factors Tier 1 Solar Panels Tier 2 Solar Panels
Warranty Reliable 25-year performance warranty Lower likelihood of warranty support
Quality Reduced likelihood of defects Potential for defects
Cost higher upfront cost Often more budget-friendly upfront cost
Manufacturer Established and financially stable companies


A broader range of manufacturers, including smaller or newer companies


Are Tier 1 solar panels worth it?

While Tier 1 solar panels may come at a slightly higher price point, we believe the investment is justified. It is important to acknowledge that we cannot guarantee unequivocal differences in quality or the continued existence of specific Tier 1 manufacturers in the long run.

However, opting for Tier 1 solar panels enhances the likelihood of acquiring high-quality solar panels and having the 25-year performance warranty honored. Tier 1 brands typically prioritize safeguarding their reputation and, if they endure, are more likely to respond to warranty claims.

All in all, the choice to invest in Tier 1 solar panels translates to procuring top-tier solar panels with an improved prospect of enduring, long-term warranty support. This review holds value given the comprehensive lifespan of solar panels and their warranties, which span 25 years or more. We believe that paying a modest premium, generally in the range of $0.20 to $0.30 per watt, for premium Tier 1 panels is a worthwhile decision.

Final Thoughts

For solar users who want high-end solar panels with extended warranties and excellent customer support, Tier 1 solar panels are the best to invest in. However, solar consumers with limited power needs can opt for Tier 2 solar panels.

At Ultimate Solar Energy, we make your decision-making process so simple. We design customized solutions based on your requirements, using only the most premium products.


Get a Free Quote now!