In modern approximation methods linear combinations in terms of (space localizing) radial basis functions play an essential role. Areas of application are numerical integration formulas on the uni sphere omega corresponding to prescribed nodes, spherical spline interpolation, and spherical wavelet approximation. the evaluation of such a linear combination is a time consuming task, since a certain number of summations, multiplications and the calculation of scalar products are required. This paper presents a generalization of the panel clustering method in a spherical setup. The economy and efficiency of panel clustering is demonstrated for three fields of interest, namely upward continuation of the earth's gravitational potential, geoid computation by spherical splines and wavelet reconstruction of the gravitational potential.