With a name like that, Tier 1 panels sound like the best of the best, however, that’s not exactly the case. Tier 1 panels constitute the top 2% of all solar manufacturers globally. However, there are a number of factors which determine a panels rating including the amount spent on research, if the company itself is vertically integrated (they don’t rely on other companies in any way), the automation of their production, their company history as well as the efficiency of the panel itself. So while you could consider Tier 1 panels to be a safe bet, a lot of local companies are simply too small to meet Tier 1 standards, but could actually produce better panels. If you are looking for an easy way to determine whether one company will produce a better panel than the other, the tiered rating system is perfect for the average homeowner.