State-of-the-art reliability assessment typically starts from a given circuit topology, for which the most suitable components are selected using a Physics of Failure analysis. This paper, however, addresses the topology selection stage, which is the foundation in designing reliable converters. Based on an overview of the reliability performance of different components, a methodology is presented as a guideline for comparing topologies to one another. The focus is directed at practical consequences associated with certain designs. Furthermore, an overview is provided on the latest developments in component technology reliability improvements. The developed methodology is mainly intended for demanding applications, where long lifetimes are required or elevated ambient temperatures are present. After the topology selection, an overview of possibilities is given that allows further increasing converter availability. Finally, the methodology is applied to the design of module level converters for building integrated photovoltaics, which is a high temperature application with a high desired lifetime. A prototype and experimental results are presented.