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Tiering it up! The Solar Panel Rating System

By Kristy Hoare on in How Solar Power Works

Tiering it up! The Solar Panel Rating System

In case you hadn't noticed, solar power is becoming more and more acceptable within society as a viable, reliable, clean and dollar saving energy resource. You could be excused for questioning the pace at which New Zealand is taking up the technology, our current energy sector is seemingly stuck in the past, draining the pockets of New Zealanders with over priced monthly energy bills. This leaves the industry in an interesting position in that who can we rely on in supplying us with solid materials and systems that will stand up to the harsh and unpredictable climates that New Zealand serves up on a daily basis, literally, every season of the year? With very little in ways of Government regulations, how are we to judge and compare when it comes to quality and quality assurance in solar power systems? Queue the tier system.

The tier system is simply the solar power industry's way of grading the solar panels.   Because options and knowledge matter when considering making the switch or upgrading your solar power system I have made a quick and easy to understand breakdown of the tier system for you convenience.

Solar Panel Tier System

Tier One

The tier one solar panels are the most desirable currently on the market. Companies in this tier must be vertically integrated manufacturers, allowing the solar panels to be built from the ground up, with knowledgeable and well-tested products and design methods throughout each phase of construction. Tier one panels use specific technologies, tools and applications to ensure the quickest, most reliable and efficient ways of building solar panels to completion. Companies involved in tier one construction have been in the solar power industry for at least five years or more, and their reputation as quality controllers and purveyor's of industry standards should allow the client peace of mind when considering the lifespan of a solar panels, and the company's ability guarantee and stand by their product should problems occur.

Tier Two

The tier two competitors are a middle ground player in the market. Their systems may be built in more labour-intensive situations, without the streamlined efficiencies that the tier one manufactures can provide. This is not to discount the quality of the product being built, but may effect quantities and availability of the desired product. Tier two manufactures are usually looking to expand their business, so little money can be spent on research and design, but obviously they are still trying to keep up with the latest developments on design and construction, but engaging in manual labour can slow down the technological processes.

Tier Three

The tier three companies currently make up the largest percentage in the market. Currently sitting at around 90%. With solar energy becoming more and more popular, businesses are sprouting up left, right and center. These companies are reliant on small manufacturing, hand assembled parts and construction, slowly building their company into a blossoming businesses. Often tier three businesses are simply assemblers of systems, no way involved with the manufacturing process. When investing in solar power, as when investing in any thing, you want your investment to be well looked after. Purely because of the influx of companies at tier one levels the insurance and guarantee is questionable. Will company A be around in 5 to 10 years time? Or will they close up shop tomorrow? This is a question that should be considered for all tiers and there respectable proprietors. Simple fact of the matter is that with the flooding of the market start up businesses are the most likely to go bust is the first 1-3 years. However, we all love an underdog story, and often it is the companies with the least that can provide the most, so you shouldn't overlook tier three manufacturers, just be confident that they can provide you with some sort of insurance when it comes to construction, longevity and quality of your new solar power system.

So, there is your quick breakdown of the tier system. Each and every individual manufacturer and solar business can offer you different applications and solutions to your wants and needs, the choice is very much up to you on how and who you choose to connect with when it comes to purchasing solar power systems. As with any purchase you make in life, it pays to have researched and discussed with those in the know on just what you are buying into.

All the best on your search for "good vibes & green energy".



Showing 3 comments

Posted by Matt on 2nd May 2017 08:02:39

Agree with Frank - not helpful at all without at least naming the Tier one and two

Posted by Frank on 23rd May 2016 22:46:34

I agree, this is not particularly helpful without telling us which companies are in which tier.

Posted by John on 13th May 2015 20:59:46

I think my message was posted before I had finished. Basically I was asking how would I know what Tier a panel I was to purchase belonged to?


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