A Running List of ALL BNEF Tier 1 Solar Panel Makers Including 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 0

Everyone knows that once a company is included in the Tier 1 list, it means that it is recognized as one of the leading and largest companies in any sort of industry, and being on top also means that their products are profitable. That’s one of the reasons why consumers and financing companies or banks are always interested to know if a product or company is listed in Tier 1 brands. 

In this article, we are going to show you the tiering criteria and the complete list from the past four consecutive years, starting from 2018 to 2021. The Tier 1 list will also be presented by quarter.

BNEF Tier 1 PV List is about bankability

Quarterly, Bloomberg New Energy Finance publishes a new setlist of Tier 1 Solar Panel manufacturers which is mainly based on each company’s bankability or financial status. This Tier 1 list is made to have transparency between all those hundreds of solar PV modules on the global market. 

Most of the time, this tier list is used by many solar module manufacturers as a kind of advertisement and entitlement. However, BloombergNEF suggests that solar panel consumers, contractors or banks should not solely rely on their list as a measure of quality but rather consult technical due diligence firms since they’re the ones that are more experts in PV modules standards. Thus, the Tier 1 solar panel lists will only serve as a transparent ranking and comparison of hundreds of solar modules all over the globe.

Being included in the quarter 1 list will not secure any manufacturers’ spot on the next quarter as Tier 1 solar panels list changes almost every quarter, every year. Furthermore, a manufacturer can be subjected to exclusion in the list if it violates the criteria or failed to provide the complete data needed. Thus, the list of Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers from 2018 to 2021 differs from one another.

BloombergNEF PV Module Tiering Methodology: What Makes A Tier 1 Brand?

A solar panel manufacturer cannot be considered a Tier 1 candidate without passing all the given criteria. Generally, these solar companies need to submit all the documents and other requirements given by a reputable independent solar PV industry analyst. As one of the characteristics of a Tier 1 candidate is transparency and good data availability. After submitting all the important data, the analyst will start evaluating each solar manufacturer following the set of criteria.

BNEF claims that Tier 1 solar module manufacturers are those independent companies carrying their own brands and have their own manufacturing products with at least six different solar projects. Their company should be financed non-recourse by at least six commercial (ie not development, not export-import) banks, in the past two years. Any early financing or commissioning date will be counted for tiering, but refinancings of old projects will not be counted. The project location, capacity, developer, bank and module maker are also being monitored.

Additionally, if a manufacturer currently listed in Tier 1 has filed for bankruptcy or has any form of insolvency protection, or has been charged with major financial obligations as stated in court documents, it will be removed from the Tier 1 list until further notice.

2021 BNEF Tier 1 PV Module Makers List

This tiering system is mainly based on the bankability of the manufacturers and doesn’t guarantee high quality. Thus, it’s recommended to consider other factors to determine if one of these solar modules is best for you. 

(Editor’s note: We’re still looking for 2021 2nd Quarter and 4th Q Lists . We apologize for the inconvenience.)

In Tier 1 Solar panels list in 2021, not all manufacturers that are listed in quarter 1 remain on the list until quarter 4. But this is the complete list of solar manufacturers that are consistently included from quarter 1 to quarter 4.

2020 BNEF Tier 1 PV Module Manufacturers List

After careful evaluation, these are the solar module manufacturers listed on 2020 Tier 1 Solar panels. This tiering system is mainly based on the bankability of the manufacturers and doesn’t guarantee high quality. Thus, it’s recommended to consider other factors to determine if one of these solar modules is best for you. 

In Tier 1 Solar panels list in 2020, not all manufacturers that are listed in quarter 1 remain on the list until quarter 4. But this is the complete list of solar manufacturers that are consistently included from quarter 1 to quarter 4.

  • Adani
  • Boviet
  • Canadian Solar
  • First Solar
  • Goldi Solar
  • Heliene
  • HT-SAAE
  • JA Solar
  • Jinergy
  • Jinko
  • Jolywood
  • LG Electronics
  • LONGi
  • Neo Solar (URE)
  • Phono Solar/Sumec
  • Q-Cells
  • Risen Energy
  • S-Energy
  • Seraphim
  • Sharp
  • SunPower/Maxeon
  • Suntech
  • Talesun
  • Trina Solar
  • Ulica
  • Waare

2019 BNEF Tier 1 PV Module Makers List

BloombergNEF Tier-1 solar panel manufacturers list in 2019 was created to give transparency between several solar manufacturers known in the said year. It was solely based on their financial status and bankability and not advisable to use this list for the measure of quality. Thus, it’s recommended to consider other factors to determine if one of these solar modules is best for you.

In Tier 1 Solar panels list in 2019, not all solar manufacturers that are listed in quarter 1 remain on the list until quarter 4. But this is the complete list of solar manufacturers that are consistently included from quarter 1 to quarter 4.

  • Adani
  • Boviet
  • Canadian Solar
  • First Solar
  • Goldi Solar
  • Heliene
  • HT-SAAE
  • JA Solar
  • Jinergy
  • Jinko
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • Jinneng/Jinergy
  • LG Electronics
  • LONGi Solar
  • Phono Solar
  • REC Group
  • Renesola
  • Risen Energy
  • S-Energy
  • Seraphim
  • Sharp
  • Shinsung
  • Sumec/Phono Solar
  • Talesun
  • Trina Solar
  • Vikram Solar
  • Waaree
  • Znshine Solar

2018 BNEF Tier 1 PV Brands List

Tier-1 solar panel manufacturers list in 2018 was made for the purpose of providing transparency between several solar manufacturers known in the said year. Thus, it’s recommended to consider other factors to determine if one of these solar modules is best for you.

(Editor’s note: We’re still looking for 2018 Quarter 1 list . We apologize for the inconvenience.)

In Tier 1 Solar panels list in 2018, not all solar manufacturers that are listed in quarter 1 remain on the list until quarter 4. But this is the complete list of solar manufacturers that are consistently included from quarter 1 to quarter 4.

Refinement: Tier 1 Solar Panels Producers List 2018 to 2021 (Who remains on the list for four consecutive years?)

After careful evaluation on the annual quarter categorization of Solar Panels Tier 1 lists from 2018 to 2021, we have come up with the complete list of solar PV module manufacturers that manage to stay on the rank for four consecutive years (2018 to 2021), the new and old manufacturers.

Listed for four consecutive yeas!

Solar manufacturers listed in Tier 1 list from 2018 to 2021 are as follows:

  • Canadian Solar
  • First Solar
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • Phono Solar
  • Risen Energy
  • Seraphim
  • Sharp
  • Talesun
  • Trina Solar

New solar manufacturers included in the 2020 and 2021 Tier 1 list are as follows:

  • Haitai New Energy 
  • Hyundai
  • Neo Solar
  • Q-cells 
  • Renesolar Yixing
  • Sunpower
  • Swelect
  • VSUN Solar
  • Ulica 

Other solar manufacturers included in three annual Tier 1 listing are as follows:

  • Astronergy
  • Boviet
  • Eging
  • Hansol
  • Heliene
  • HT-SAAE
  • Jinergy
  • LONGi
  • S-Energy

Not listed since 2019

Solar manufacturers included in the 2018 Tier 1 list but are no longer included in the next three years are as follows:

  • Akcome
  • Lightway Solar 
  • Shinsun Solar

Why is being listed on BloombergNEF PV Tier 1 List important?

Tiering system becomes a common discussion in the Solar PV module industry. Third-party companies such as Bloomberg NEF, PVEL Top Performers Scoreboard, and PV Module Index Report (by RETC) developed tiering systems for ranking solar module manufacturers. They publish lists of Tier-1 Solar Panel yearly to give consumers and banks a clear ranking of solar PV manufacturers, which they use as a reference for choosing what brand should they purchase or fund.

Generally, the tiering system of BNEF is based on the bankability of each manufacturer, but it was later on used by many manufacturers in advertising their brands on the market. Today, being included in the BNEF PV Tier 1 becomes a standard and a belief that all those manufacturers listed are notable and are offering profitable quality solar PV modules. For that reason, many solar manufacturers are applying for the BNEF PV tiering system. Besides, consumers are now also verifying if the solar brands being offered in the market passed the BNEF PV Tiering system or not, as they see it as one factor to consider when choosing solar brands.

Editor’s comment:

Given the complete list above, we can conclude that among those solar manufacturers all over the world, only a few have managed to remain on the list for four consecutive years. But as the BNEF claims, this Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer list should not be taken as a basis for standards and quality. Thus, we cannot guarantee that those solar manufacturers consistently listed are offering the best solar modules, nor those manufacturers that failed to maintain a consistent spot on the list are not good solar module providers. It is still recommended to consult technical due diligence firms to get expert advice on what solar brand to choose.

Another helpful note from BloombergNEF’s published methodology:

“We strongly recommend that module purchasers and banks do not use this list as a measure of quality, but instead consult a technical due diligence firm such as RINA (formerly OST Energy), ATA Renewables, Wood Plc, PVEL, Black & Veatch, TUV, E3, STS Certified, Clean Energy Associates, PI Berlin, Pvbuyer, Enertis, Oravia, Leidos Engineering, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) or Phoventus. These would usually consider what factory the module comes from, as well as the brand, and give an informed opinion on whether the modules will perform as expected.”

Many of these organizations do not make their evaluations readily available to the public, however.

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