The short answer to choosing a good solar panel is to pick a brand from my trusted brands chart, it includes companies such as:
- And more than a dozen other brands - so there's plenty of choice.
The longer answer:
Look at the reputation and history of the company.
The whirlpool forums are a goldmine for discussions from other homeowners about specific solar panel brands, and their experiences with both the panels and the company (for warranty support).
I also host both write-ups of individual solar panel brands, as well as consumer-submitted reviews of those brands on my website here.
In terms of broad criteria to consider when choosing a good solar panel, I would advise you to look at:
- Relative price
- Whether the company has an Australian office for warranty support
- Company history
- Customer feedback
But - I would also advise not to split hairs too much when choosing. Solar panels, from a technology perspective, are simple with no moving parts. The difference between reputable brand A and reputable brand B is going to be absolutely marginal (although the sales directors of both brand A and brand B will vehemently disagree!).
But what about 'tier 1' panels?
My longer answer is here - but in short:
'Tier 1' status simply means that major investment firms have determined an individual solar company to be a safe investment choice for major solar farm projects.
There's a logical correlation between a brand being judged to be a safe investment, and one that puts out a good product - but not always!
There are a number of tier 1 brands that I personally would not put on my own roof.
And - the panels that I have on my own roof are technically not tier 1, even though they're excellent quality.