Renewable Energy Corporation (REC ) is one of the biggest European solar companies and is completely vertically integrated.What that means is that REC makes all the components in the crystalline silicon supply chain from polysilicon to wafers to cells and modules.REC was earlier primarily a polysilicon and wafer producer but it is not becoming more active in the solar panels area.REC Silicon and REC Wafer are among the world’s largest producers of polysilicon and wafers, respectively, for solar applications.This is the reason that REC solar panels are in general cheaper than other European and Japanese solar panels like Solarworld,Sharp,Kyocera and others.Due to the high cost of production,REC has shut down its factories in Norway and is mainly producing solar cells and solar modules at its new solar complex in Singapore.REC Solar has production facilities around the globe but it is concentrating its production in Asian factories.Despite stiff competition from Chinese solar panels which has led to bankruptcy of numerous solar companies in the West,REC is well capitalized and should be one of the survivors of the current solar price wars.As such the warranty on the solar panels from REC should hold good for the 25 years.
REC Solar started cell production on a quite small scale in 2003 in Narvik.REC Solar operates a cell production plant in Narvik, Norway and in Tuas, Singapore.In November 2010,REC opened its new integrated wafer,cell and module plant in Tuas, Singapore
Why REC had to move to Asia
The European Solar Companies had found things going tough in 2009 as the solar market changed radically with the Lehman crisis.As the prices of the raw material Polysilicon crashed and Chinese competition increased,these companies started bleeding red ink in a prodigious manner.The high cost structure of these companies with factories in Europe stood naked against the competition.With high debt loads,there was a high chance that these companies would go bankrupt.Most of them like Q-Cells,REC started to move manufacturing to Asia while Solarworld moved to Europe
REC Solar Panels Review
REC’s use of anti-reflective treatment on the module glass increases energy production and performance ratio.The treatment has been applied on all modules manufactured by REC since 2007.Note other companies like ET Solar are also using this technique to differentiate themselves from other solar panel producers in the market.REC Solar Panels are made using Polycrsytalline Technology which is lower cost and efficiency compared to using Monocrystalline Cells.
REC Solar panels are one of the better quality solar panels in the market and have come out at the top of the tests conducted by reputed independent institutes.However REC Solar Panels had a major recall of all panels a couple of years ago.This shows that the company is concerned about the customer service since i have not heard about any solar panel recall from other brands (though I am sure many have defects).The recall was due to regarding connectors in the junction box which affected about 7% of output. Many manufacturers have occasional failures but wait for the panels to be returned
REC Peak Energy Module
REC sells solar panels under the The REC Peak Energy Module Series which they claim to deliver more power per square meter due to several design improvements
1) REC modules have an energy payback time of one year. This is a result of innovations such as the new fluidized bed reactor (FBR) silicon production process which uses 80 to 90 percent less energy than traditional methods.
2) The modules are easy to install with made-to-fit cables and multiple grounding points that reduce the ground wire needed in installation
REC sells solar panels in the 220 to 250 Watts range.The voltage is around 40 volts and current of 8 Amperes.The module efficiency is between 13.5% to 15% which is standard for the polycrystalline technology.
REC Peak Energy Integrated Panels
In this series,REC sells the Solar Panels alongwith a Solrif installation system.This is meant for the rooftop market and comes under 3 models.These Solar Panels have the maximum efficiency of 15.1% sold by REC
- 240 PEI
- 245 PEI
- 250 PEI
REC Solar Panel Warranty
REC gives the same warranty as other leading solar panel producers that is 10 year product warranty and a 25 year linear power output warranty (max. degression in performance of 0.7% p.a.).REC also sells Solar Cells,Wafers, and Solar Systems.REC is a system integrator and a solar installer with major presence in the USA.
REC Solar Panel Prices
REC Solar Panels are being retailed at around $2/watt which is quite high compared to retail prices of good quality solar panels from China like Trina Solar and other for around $1.4-$1.5/watt.REC Solar itself is selling solar panels at $1.4/watt or lower to its wholesalers.Given the good quality of REC Solar Panels,it makes sense to contact the company directly for large orders as you can get a 30% sale price discount.Buying solar panels from wholesalers and distributors is a dumb idea anway as they can put a 30-50% markup on a product which is a commodity and easily availabe.Buying Cheap Solar Panels is not rocketscience and all it requires is some research and digging.
Reviews of other Solar Panel Brands
- Sunpower Solar Panels
- Sharp Solar Panels
- Sanyo Solar Panels
- First Solar Solar Panels
- Bosch Solar Panels
- BP Solar Panels
- CEEG Solar Panels
- Sunlink Solar Panels
- LG Solar Panels
- Solarworld Solar Panels
- Kyocera Solar Panels
- Sanyo Solar Panels
- Hyundai Solar Panels
- Sharp Solar Panels
- Samsung Solar Panels
- Kaneka Solar Panels
- Mitsubishi Solar Panels
- ET Solar Panels
- JA Solar Panels