REC Solar Panels – Independent Review

REC Roof Overlay

Overview of REC Group – Company History

Founded in Norway in 1996, REC has since expanded and currently has offices is 8 different countries across the globe. In 2010 REC became fully automated, producing 26 million solar panels in their Singapore factory. As a world leader, REC’s focus still remains at its core, to produce high quality clean energy products sustainably. In 2015 Norway’s Elkem Group (Bluestar Investment Co. Ltd) acquired REC. Elkem is a world leader in silicon production, this has aided the development of REC’s integrated photovoltaics in the global market.

Key Indicators

REC Group Solar Panels
Bloomberg Tier 1 RankingYes (Q1)
PV Evolution Labs Top PerformerYes (4/4)
Office location in AustraliaYes


What is a Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panel?

Bloomberg’s infamous tier 1 ranking is NOT a measure of Solar Panel quality in any way. It is simply an indication of the bankability of the manufacturer based on publicly released information on the financial health the company. This should give you an idea if the company is a large, well-known manufacturer.

See full list of Bloomberg Tier 1 Solar Panels

What is PV Evolution Labs Top Performer?

PV Evolution Labs with support from DNV GL independently test solar panel reliability. The tests are voluntary, with solar panel manufacturers paying to participate in the testing. This testing process is internationally renowned and is an accurate reflection of the solar panel’s performance.

REC solar panels have been ranked as a top performer every year since 2016.

See full list of PV Evolution Labs Top Performing Solar Panels

Why is office location in Australia Important?

Most solar panel manufacturers entering the Australian market first set up their distribution channels and worry about customer service later. This has led to many unhappy customers who are left trying to contact Chinese head offices to claim on their 10-year product warranty.

Relying on your solar installer is not always an option as we’ve seen many residential solar installers (including the large ones) go out of business well within the lifetime of the systems they are installing. 

REC has an Australian office located in Melbourne.

How much do REC Solar Panels cost?

Based on Solar Choice’s database we have provided the below-average costs as an indicative guide. These prices include:

  • Full turnkey Solar System with REC Solar Panels
  • Installation from a pre-vetted reputable installer from Solar Choice’s network
  • The STC rebate and GST
System SizeAverage Fully Installed Cost
6kW$7,659
8kW$10,556
10kW$13,896

Important Note: Prices will vary depending on location, inverter brand and which installer is used
 

Compare quotes from up to 7 installers in your area now.

 

REC Panel Technologies

Half-cut cells are the innovation that REC is best known for. The split module design is more efficient than the standard cell providing a number of advantages. Many other manufacturers are developing their own half-cut cell panels. The REC Group has opened a patent infringement lawsuit against Hanwha Q Cells in China, over the half-cut cell technology.

We are awaiting the launch fo the Alpha 72 which was scheduled to start production in May 2020. The Alpha 72 tested up to 450Wp at 21.3% efficiency, this combination of high performance and quality will enable REC to further capitalise in the market.

REC Alpha Series

REC Alpha Solar PanelThe Alpha Series is the most recent panel to be developed by REC, unveiled in early 2019. With capacity up to 380W, the solar panel is composed of 120 half-cut heterojunction cells. With N-Type silcon, the module has a slower degradation rate and a better temperature coefficient compared to solar panels using P-Type silicon. With a high-power density of 217.14 W/m², the REC Alpha 380W has a 26% greater annual energy yield compared to a typical 320W panel. The REC Alpha is solder-free which increases panel longevity, by removing the risk of potential cell damage from cracking. This feature also improves their sustainability, as the solder-free cell design reduces the lead content by 81%. The REC Alpha award-winning Twin panel design splits the panel into two twin sections, as pictured. This enables greater energy production in shaded conditions, getting the most out of the sun at all times. REC claims that after 25 years it will still have at least 92% of its initial power, which is an industry leading degration rate.

REC N-Peak Black SeriesREC N-Peak Black Series

The REC N-Peak Black Series solar panels utilise black monocrystalline half-cut cell technology constructed with N-Type silicon. The sleek and seamless all black panel was designed to provide an aesthetic option for residential roofs. The panel was the first solar panel to combine N-Type monocrystalline half-cut cells with a twin-panel design. The 305 to 325W panel has 120 half-cut cells, structured in 6 strings of 20 cells. The REC N-Peak Black Series has extra support bars, enabling the panel to hold loads 30% heavier than conventional panels. This results in a higher energy yield per square metre making it an attractive option where roofspace is at a premium.

REC TwinPeak 2 Mono SeriesREC TwinPeak 2 Mono Series Solar Panel

The REC TwinPeak 2 Mono Series is comprised of P-Type monocrystalline PERC cells, offering heightened efficiency accredited with REC’s industry leading half-cut cell technology. The efficient panel gets the most out of whatever space available. Not surprisingly, the TwinPeak 2 Mono panel is constructed as REC’s unique twin split panel design. This enables as previously mentioned, the benefit of electricity generation even when panels are partially shaded from the sun.

Full Range of Solar Modules Available in Australia

The majority of REC’s solar panels are approved by the Clean Energy Council for the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is Australia’s home solar rebate program.

These include the following models

REC Solar Panel Specifications

REC Alpha SeriesREC N-Peak Black SeriesREC TwinPeak 2 Mono Series
Cell Number120 half-cut cells120 half-cut cells120 half-cut cells
Cell Type Heterojunction Cells  N-TypeMonocrystalline Cells N-Type

 

Monocrystalline Cells P-Type
Power Output380Wp325Wp330Wp
Nominal Power Voltage38.1V34.4V34.3V
Power Density217.14 W/m²194.61 W/m²197.6 W/m²
Panel Efficiency21.7%19.5%19.8%
Annual Power Degradation0.25%0.5%0.7%
Dimensions1721 x 1016 x 30 mm

(1.75 m²)

1675 x 997 x 30 mm

(1.67 m²)

1675 x 997 x 38 mm

(1.67 m²)

Weight19.5kg18kg18.5kg
Warranty 20-25 Years20-25 Years20-25 Years
Operational Temperature Range-40°C to 85°C

 

-40°C to 85°C

 

-40°C to 85°C

 

Made inSingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Example of a REC Commercial Solar Project

In March 2020, REC Group installed the below commercial rooftop system on a farm in the Netherlands. The system REC installed is the largest REC Alpha panel setup in Europe, with the 1,415m² system’s capacity totaling 268.56 kWp. This system contains 746 REC Alpha panels and has the capacity to generate around 240,000 kWh of power a year. To put it into perspective, this much power could supply 80 average houses with electricity for a year.

REC Alpha Comercial Project Netherlands

Jack Boutchard

Writer at Solar Choice
Jack Boutchard

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