REC is solar’s most trusted brand that produces quality solar panels. This Norwegian company was founded in 1996 and so far, has manufactured 40 million solar panels, 11 gigawatts produced, and is enjoyed by over 17 million people.
It goes with a vision that every person gets the benefit of electricity produced from the sun.
You are right, we are going to review REC solar panels in this post.
Solar Panels by REC
It has a good range of solar panels in its bouquet.
REC solar panels start from 305 watts and goes up to 405 watts.
It has a total of 9 series for its users and these are as follows:
The Technology of REC solar panels
The REC solar panels are based on the latest technologies that boost power, improve efficiencies, and reduce the losses in the solar panels.
REC employees HJT, half-cut, P-type, and N-type technologies in its solar panels.
Read: What are P-type and N-type solar cells?
The highlight of the technologies used in REC solar panels:
a) HJT (Heterojunction) is a unique PN junction that is made by sandwiching the crystalline silicon cell between the thin layers of amorphous Silicon (a non-crystalline form of silicon).
Using this technology, solar panels can harvest more energy and have improved efficiencies.
The solar panels based on this technology have a lower temperature coefficient of power and perform better in high temperatures.
In addition, the HJT solar cell offers better bi-faciality than any other technology.
b) Monocrystalline P-type solar cells have captured the largest market share for the last 4 to 5 decades of the solar industry.
This technology has the benefit of economies of scale and you can find them at a lower price compared to other equivalent technologies in the market.
c) Half-cut technology boosts the performance of the solar cell and improves its durability by:
d) N-Type technology uses the N-type solar cell that is made by combining thin P-type silicon (Silicon combined with Boron) with the thick layer of N-type cell (Silicon cell doped with Phosphorous)
Phosphorous has one electron extra than silicon.
(It has 5 electrons in its outermost shell while silicon has 4 electrons in its outermost shell).
The N-Type solar cell is more immune to LID (Light Induced degradation).
Read: What factors degrade the performance of solar panel?
During the manufacturing of P-type boron-doped silicon cells, the oxygen gets trapped inside the silicon.
When this type of solar panel is exposed to the sunlight, the boron reacts with the oxygen to form a complex compound, making electrons unavailable for the photovoltaic effect.
Resulting in a power loss from 1-3% in the boron-based solar cells.
There is no complex compound formed in the making of N-type solar cells.
Therefore, they are more immune to these defects.
The Efficiency of REC solar panels
The ability of the solar panel to convert sunlight into electricity is defined by the term efficiency.
= (Pmax/m²)/(1000 w/m²) x 100%
The REC solar panels are very efficient with the efficiency of 18.3% to 21.9%
Read: The most efficient solar panels in the world
The REC Alpha Pure series panels have the highest efficiency of 21.9%.
How well REC solar panels perform in high temperature?
We know solar panels lose power when their cell temperature increases beyond 25 °C.
The rise in cell temperature increases the cell resistance, and as result, we get less current.
The loss in the power with the rise in the temperature is represented by the term temperature coefficient of power.
It is written in %/°C and has a negative value, showing the loss in the power.
The lower value implies power loss would be less with the rise in the temperature.
For example, a solar panel with a temperature coefficient of power -0.40 %/°C, means that it will lose 0.4% of its Pmax with every degree rise in the temperature above 25 °C.
The REC Alpha Series has the lowest temperature coefficient of power of -0.26%/°C amongst all the series and N-Peak Series has the highest value of -0.35%/°C
The power loss using this term can be calculated as follows:
Assuming the cell temperature of 45 °C,
The power loss in Alpha Series would be:
(45 °C – 25 °C) x -0.26%/°C
= 20 °C x -0.26 %/°C
It means the Alpha series solar panel will lose 5.2% of its Pmax when its cells are operating at 45 °C.
Doing the similar math with N-Peak series (keeping the cell temperature same of 45 °C) temperature coefficient of power of -0.35%/°C, the power loss would be 7% of the Pmax.
In short, we can say that REC solar panels lose power in 5.2% to 7% when their cells are operating at 45 °C
Read: Best solar panels for hot climate
(Remember, the cell temperature is higher than the ambient temperature. And this difference can go up to 30 °C to 40 °C).
How strong are REC solar panels?
The REC solar panels are one of the strongest solar panels in the market.
The strength of the solar panels is defined in two ways, one is its capability of withstanding the snow load and another is its durability in handling the wind pressure.
The snow load rating is also called the front load and the wind load rating is known as the rear load rating.
Let us look at the strength of its panels:
Its snow load rating is one of the highest in the market.
REC is a Norwegian company where snowfall and hail are normal.
REC has designed the panels considering the people living in a similar type of climate.
REC solar panels warranties
You cannot have peace of mind after buying the solar panels if you don’t have a good warranty from the manufacturer.
The solar panel warranty includes (i) Product warranty and (ii) Performance warranty.
The product warranty protects the buyer from any manufacturing defect, premature wear and tear, and other environmental issues that arise in the panel.
The Performance warranty ensures that the solar panel is going to produce a certain level of power after 25 years.
Longer warranties (in years) are preferred.
REC offers an excellent warranty to its buyers.
It offers 20 years product warranty on its solar panels and if you are going solar with their certified installer you get 5-years extra warranty, making it a total of 25 years.
Pro tip: Go solar with their certified installers near to you. You will get a 5 years extra product warranty making it a total 25 years.
You get 25 years performance warranty in which the REC solar panel will produce 98% of its Pmax in the first year and thereafter the power will degrade by 0.25% every year till 25th year (in Alpha Series and N-Peak 2 Series).
In a N-Peak series and Twin Peak Series, it is 0.5% from the second year onwards till the 25th year.
Certifications of REC solar panels
REC produces the highest quality standard solar panels that are certified by the reputed certification authorities.
REC solar panels have the following certifications:
i) Quality Manufacturing: IEC 62941 Certification of the quality system for PV module manufacturing
ii) Environment and safety: REC ensures that its production process is safe for its employees and the product is safe for its users and environment friendly.
REC solar panels are ISO 14001: 2015 certified for Environmental Management Systems.
OHSAS: 18001: 2007 certified for Occupational Health and Safety Management
iii) Salt and Mist Resistance: Solar panels installed in locations near the sea and other water bodies tend to degrade faster due to salt and wet weather.
They together corrode the solar panels and affect their output.
The REC solar panels are Salt and mist resistant to the highest degree.
REC solar panels are certified for IEC 61701 with a severity level of 6
iv) PID Resistance: The Potential Induced Degradation is a power loss in the solar panels.
The PID effect creates a potential difference between solar cells and the panel frame, generating leakage currents to flow from the solar cell to the frame, resulting in power loss.
This effect is accelerated by high system voltage, temperature, and humidity.
You may not detect it in the initial years of installation but it becomes significant in the later life of the solar panels.
REC solar panels are IEC 62804 certified that ensures the highest level of PID resistance.
v) Fire Resistance: There could be a chance of short-circuiting in the wires due to loose connections or poor installation practices, resulting in fire.
The REC solar panels are fire-resistant with various national and international certifications such as:
vi) Cyclic wind loads: Cyclones can uplift common objects and can throw them anywhere at high speed.
Where they hit can cause heavy damage. REC solar panels are certified to AS 40404.2 and NCC 2016 LHL that ensures the solar panels can withstand these tough situations.
vii) Ammonia Resistance: Ammonia (NH₃) is a corrosive gas found in the places where farm animals are kept.
This is common in rural areas and villages.
The high ammonia concentration causes a chemical reaction and can corrode solar panels, affecting their output and useful life.
REC solar panels are IEC 62716 certified, ensuring that their solar panels can offer the highest protection against chemical reactions caused by the high concentration of ammonia.
viii) 35 mm Hail resistance: In cold regions and high altitudes, the freeze water droplets (hail) can break the glass, causing significant damage to the solar panels, resulting in power loss.
REC solar panels are strong enough to withstand the impact of hailstone up to 35 mm in diameter and 20.7 g mass.
They are certified to IEC 61215.
ix) Dynamic mechanical load: REC solar panels are strong enough to withstand the heavy wind pressure and their strength is certified through IEC 62782 that verifies their toughness under real-life weather conditions.
x) Non-uniform loads: The solar panels are installed with some angle with the ground and any load that rests on the panel surface creates non-uniform and uneven pressure.
The REC solar panels are certified to IEC 62938, ensuring that panels are designed to withstand uneven pressure.
Price of REC solar panels
The REC solar panels are of very good quality that comes from $ 0.89/watt to $ 1.00/watt.
The REC solar panels cost above the average market price.
How to buy REC solar panels?
You can buy solar panels from their distribution partners that have a presence around the world.
Select your region and location, it will show you the addresses and the contact numbers of the distribution partners near you.
Contact them and get customized solar solutions.
This facility is available in the following locations:
Units produced by 5-kW REC solar panels
The units produced by the solar power system depends on many variables and some of the important ones are:
After considering all the losses, units produced by the 5-kW solar power system using REC solar panels is:
This difference is due to the variation in the sunlight in the above two places.
Oslo receives 2.78 PSH (Peak Sun Hours) while New Delhi gets 5.5 PSH per day
Pros of REC solar panels
REC solar panels are going to offer you the following advantages:
a) Reputed Brand: REC was established in 1996, it is a 25+ years old brand that is growing. It shows its solid foundation.
It has set up the benchmark for quality through stringent testing and reputed third-party certifications.
REC is a very reliable company and is committed to environmental sustainability.
Therefore, choosing REC solar panels for your solar installation is the right decision.
b) Latest Technology: REC uses a combination of the latest technologies such as:
c) Lowest Temperature coefficient of power: REC solar panels perform very well even in high temperatures.
It’s Alpha Series has one of the lowest temperature coefficients (-0.26%/°C) in the market.
d) Very Strong: REC solar panels have a snow load rating of 7000 Pa and it is the highest value amongst all the solar panels I have reviewed so far.
7000 Pascals corresponds to the pressure of 146 pounds per square foot (PSF).
No more worries hail storm-breaking solar panels.
Get REC solar panels on the roof.
e) Highly Efficient: The REC solar panels are very efficient with the highest efficiency of 21.9% (Alpha Pure Series).
f) Longest Product Warranty: REC offers one of the longest product warranties on its solar panels.
You will find a standard product warranty of 20 years and it is extended to another 5 years when you choose solar installation from REC certified installers.
h) Great performance warranty: REC solar panels have low degradation and produce more power in 25 years.
The Alpha series and N-Peak 2 Series solar panels will produce 92% in the 25th that is way above many solar panels available in the market.
i) Certifications: REC conducts stringent in-house tests and has many certifications for its quality and durability such as quality manufacturing, safe and environment friendly, PID resistant, Ammonia resistant, Hail resistance, fire-resistant, and many more.
All these certifications show the strong reliability of the REC solar panels.
j) Wide Network: REC has wide network of distributers, specifically in Europe, making it easy for the users to get prompt service.
Cons of REC solar panels
Although I have put it under the cons category, it is not when you consider the quality, durability, strength, and trust the REC solar panels offer to their users.
These values are still better than the averages that we see in the solar panel market.
But from the company of this repute, I was expecting better.
Profitability with REC solar panels
The Solar feasibility spreadsheet designs the complete solar power system and let you know the profitability beforehand.
In case you are planning to install the solar power system on the roof, designing it with this amazing tool would be a good idea.
I hope you find this post interesting.
Please share your experience of going solar with REC solar panels in the comment section.