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REC solar panels review

Overall Rating From 53 Reviews:

REC solar panels review

Average Customer Rating:

Tier 1

REC

REC is short for Renewable Energy Corporation. The company was founded in Norway and and its headquarters are still there, but but its solar panels are produced in Singapore.

They produce tier one panels with 10 year product and a 25 year performance warranties that are certified as corrosion resistant. As of late 2016 they do not have an Australian office. This means that under Australian Consumer Law, whichever company imported the panels is responsible for the product and performance warranties.

A US Company Has A Similar Name

There is a company in the United States called REC Solar that installs commercial scale solar for businesses. They do not make their own solar panels. It is easy to confuse the two when looking for information on REC.

Manufacturing Capacity

REC is medium sized producer of solar panels. Their manufacturing capacity was around 1.3 gigawatts at the end of 2016. This means it would take them only 4 years to produce as much solar capacity as the whole of Australia had installed at that time.

Company History

REC was founded in Norway in 1996 under the name Fornybar Energi AS and produced its first silicon wafer in 1997. It became REC after merging with another company in 2000. By taking advantage of Norway’s comparatively cheap hydroelectric power, for a period at the start of the century, they become the world’s largest producer of multicrystaline silicon wafers used to make solar cells.

In 2008 and 2009 REC opened two new multicrystalline wafer factories in Norway. Then the company run into financial difficulties and shut them down permanently a few years later in 2011 and 2012. In retrospect it wasn’t a very bright move, but these are the sort of mistakes companies make when for some reason they decide not to accurately predict the future.

In 2010 they started production of solar panels in Singapore, and currently in December 2016 that appears to be where all their panels are produced. REC is expanding capacity at this facility.

REC is building a factory in China as a joint venture that should become operational in mid-2017.

REC Panels

REC produces two series of panels that are of standard size and likely to be used on residential roofs.

The first are called the REC Peak Energy Series. Their efficiencies range from 14.8% to 15.8%. They are certified as corrosion resistant, making them suitable for installation in coastal areas.

The second are called the TwinPeak Energy Series. They are 16.1% to 17.3% efficient and certified as corrosion resistant. They are an interesting design because they are divided into top and bottom halves and if one half is shaded it won’t affect the output of the other. This makes them more tolerant to partial shade and soiling than many other panels. But if they are installed where there is no shade it is of little benefit. And like all solar panels they perform terribly when fully shaded.

I don’t know the details of how Twin Peaks panels are packaged, but if they come wrapped in plastic that would make me as happy as that gum I like coming back in style.

REC Panel Failure Rate

On the REC site they state:

“...out of 4 million panels manufactured each year, just 400 might come back as product claims.”

Apparently they like the number 4, because that is the same as saying their failure rate is around 1 in 10,000. But the number 4 and death are often associated in Singapore.

While those seem like good odds, they don’t say this is the predicted failure rate over the panel’s lifespan. It instead appears to be their failure rate when they are new, which isn’t nearly as impressive as if it was over 25 years.

REC Is Not Very Bright When It Comes To Warranties

On their internet site there is a video that proudly proclaims they have:

“...the highest quality solar panels on the market.”

But despite this, they only offer a 10 year product warranty.

You’d think with the highest quality panels on the market they’d be able to offer a longer warranty, wouldn’t you?. After all, Solarwatt panels are on the market which means they must be of worse quality, yet they have a product warranty of 30 years. You would think that since REC panels are of higher quality they could manage at least 20 years. But, despite the beneficial effect it would have on their sales, they seem to be sticking with 10 years. This is despite the fact that a 12 year product warranty is becoming the norm for tier one panels.

REC Is Ranked As Most Financially Secure Solar Panel Manufacturer

Solar panel manufacture is a very competitive business and many companies have gone bust, leaving customers without warranty support. Currently dark clouds hang over the futures of many panel producers.

But the clouds over REC are extremely tenuous. They’re more of a light mist, really. Because of the company’s current financial stability, REC has been ranked as the panel producer least likely to go belly up.

But don’t get too excited. Because they don’t have an office in Australia, the company that imports the panels will be responsible for their warranties, so REC’s financial stability is of little direct importance to Australians. So while I’m sure no Norwegian would stiff you, you have to ask yourself how well do you trust these Australians? A woman in Oslo told me they’re a bunch of convicts.

And things can turn around very quickly. Just 5 years ago REC couldn’t afford to keep their fjord factories open and shut down production in Norway. It’s hard to predict what things will be like in another 5 years.

High SVTC Rankings For Sustainability And Ethical Behaviour

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, or STVC to its friends, produces an annual scorecard where they rank panel producers on environmental sustainability and ethical behaviour.

REC came 4th out of 32 manufacturers in their latest report which was for 2015. In 2014 they came 5th and in 2013 they came 6th.

My Recommendation

REC produce quality tier one solar panels and I would have no problem installing them on my roof. However, they do not have an office in Australia, which means their importer will be responsible for their warranties. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how much you value the warranty being held by an Australian company and how much you trust that company.

Rating Comments Name State Postcode
The panels (3.5kw nameplate) are generating full capacity for the Fronius inverter even when the sun hasn't gotten far enough across the sky to directly face the (NW) panels.
Bought From: Local Power Review Date: 8 December 2016
Alwyn QLD 4285

Bought From: Solahart Review Date: 23 September 2016
Max NSW 2463
Operating as expected
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 5 August 2016
Rob WA 6076

Bought From: Green Energy Options Review Date: 20 July 2016
Diane VIC 3228

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 18 July 2016
Brett WA 6280

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 8 July 2016
Steve WA 6030

Bought From: Local Power Review Date: 28 June 2016
Richard QLD 4069
I Can't really assess the performance of the panels other than to sat the system overall is still working.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 13 June 2016
Andrew VIC 3145
No problems at all.
Bought From: Greenlife Solar Energy Review Date: 29 May 2016
Frank SA 5070

Bought From: Greenlife Solar Energy Review Date: 20 May 2016
Janet SA 5086

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 13 May 2016
Peter WA 6015

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 27 March 2016
Martin WA 6225
Faultless after 9 months
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 23 March 2016
Neil WA 6210

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 2 March 2016
Chris WA 6316
It has only been 9 months of service but all is working well. No issues.
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 10 February 2016
Joel WA 6158

Bought From: Green and Gold Solar Australia Review Date: 20 January 2016
Andrew QLD 4203
Despite having a total of 5.71kw on the roof, we never got much more then 5kw peak output. Probably due to the heat?
Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 7 January 2016
Soren WA 6167

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 10 December 2015
Peter WA 6210

Bought From: LG Energy Review Date: 12 November 2015
Phil NSW 2487

Bought From: Infinite Energy Review Date: 5 August 2015
Garry WA 6023
Never had another set of panels so cant compare it performance wise but seems to work well. Have a 5.5KW system and regularly get 4.5kw - 5kw of power from them.
Bought From: Green and Gold Solar Australia Review Date: 15 March 2015
Conor QLD 4557

Bought From: Solahart Review Date: 6 January 2015
Anon QLD 4154
Too early to tell yet as the system is only 6 months old
Bought From: Energy Aware Review Date: 9 December 2014
Kim NT 810

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 21 May 2014
Tim QLD 4563
Have cleaned them once in the first year.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 30 October 2012
Vik ACT 2602

Bought From: V Solar Review Date: 7 October 2012
Errol QLD 4223

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 19 September 2012
Steven NSW 2715

Bought From: Solar Solar Review Date: 18 September 2012
Patrick QLD 4034
We added 10 more panels in August to bring the system up to capacity. The initial 7 worked very efficiently, our power bill was almost halved so we hope to at least break even.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 17 September 2012
Bob TAS 7304

Bought From: Sunshine Coast Solar Review Date: 12 September 2012
Ian QLD 4557

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 12 September 2012
John SA 5255

Bought From: Sunshine Coast Solar Review Date: 12 September 2012
Bob QLD 4565

Bought From: Assured Class Electrical Review Date: 11 September 2012
Ramon SA 5352
They seem to be performing just fine so far.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Don QLD 4815

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Amelia VIC 3057
Very happy with the performance, wish I had gone for maximum 5kw, on sunny day like today, we generate over 20kw, summer about 24kw.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Ginny VIC 3451

Bought From: Solar Centre Review Date: 11 September 2012
Lindsay QLD 4550
As above, they work in well with the inverter.
Bought From: GWM Solar Review Date: 11 September 2012
Murray VIC 3518

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Gregor VIC 3162

Bought From: RK Solar And Consulting Review Date: 11 September 2012
Dennis NSW 2170

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
MICHAEL SA 5043

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Irene WA 6171

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 11 September 2012
Max SA 5556
No dramas at all - they seem to be performing fine. Added an additional 13 235w panels for the upgrade. Installer manufactured a framework on-site so we could utilise both pitches of our second roof area - great work!
Bought From: Mode Electrical Pty Ltd Review Date: 11 September 2012
Graeme TAS 7250
235w x14 =3.3 im in credit from approx $450 p/qtr
Bought From: Nicholls Solar Review Date: 11 September 2012
Charles QLD 4069

Bought From: Solaris Solar Energy Review Date: 6 September 2012
Anon QLD 4300

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 5 September 2012
Grant QLD 4564
rec and et panels excellent quality and excellent performers,
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 5 September 2012
Mark TAS 7250
I have 14 rec panels which provide a nominal 3.3 kva they seem to produce about 2.7 kva in good sun conditions with occasional spikes to 3 kva.
Bought From: Sunshine Coast Solar Review Date: 4 September 2012
Denis QLD 4557
Again, haven't even given them a thought. they just sit there and do their job. Today, eg, sunny day with some clouds, early spring, yet we still generated 2.85 kW with a 3 kW system. Can't help smiling.
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 4 September 2012
Donna TAS 7307

Bought From: Omega Solar Group Pty Ltd Review Date: 4 September 2012
R QLD 4211

Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 4 September 2012
Brian SA 5096
Just need to be aware that you need to clean the solar panels, especially after rain that leaves your car looking dirty
Bought From: Energy Matters Review Date: 4 September 2012
Jan VIC 3018

REC has 32 solar panels in our database

Model Type Size PTC Performance Ratio Californian Approved
REC205PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline20518288.54Yes
REC205PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline20518288.54Yes
REC210PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline21018688.62Yes
REC210PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline21018688.62Yes
REC215PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline21519188.65Yes
REC215PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline21519188.65Yes
REC220PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline22019588.73Yes
REC220PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline22019588.73Yes
REC225PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline22520088.76Yes
REC225PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline22520088.76Yes
REC230PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline23020488.83Yes
REC230PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline23020488.83Yes
REC235PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline23521390.81Yes
REC235PE ECO (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline23521189.70Yes
REC235PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline23521390.81Yes
REC240PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24021890.83Yes
REC240PE ECO (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24021589.75Yes
REC240PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24021890.83Yes
REC245PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24522390.90Yes
REC245PE ECO (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24522089.80Yes
REC245PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline24522390.90Yes
REC250PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline25022790.96Yes
REC250PE ECO (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline25022589.84Yes
REC250PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline25022790.96Yes
REC255PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline25523090.08Yes
REC255PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline25523090.08Yes
REC260PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline26023490.12Yes
REC260PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline26023490.12Yes
REC265PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline26524191.06Yes
REC265PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline26524191.06Yes
REC270PE (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline27024691.11Yes
REC270PE(BLK) (60 poly cells)Polycrystalline27024691.11Yes
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