REC is one of the leading solar panel brands, offering high efficiency and durability. REC stands for Renewable Energy Corporation, and the company was founded in 1996 in Oslo, Norway. REC is now headquartered in Singapore, and they have provided over 40 million solar panels around the world.
Solar panels from REC offer an efficiency rate of up to 21.9%, which is one of the highest ratings in the industry. Only two manufacturers have developed solar panels with a higher efficiency, and the difference is small: LG reaches up to 22.3%, while SunPower reaches up to 22.8%. REC is also a very affordable brand when you consider its performance:
- According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), home solar systems in the US currently have an average cost of $3.06 per watt.
- However, the average installed cost of REC solar panels is $2.76 per watt, according to data gathered by EnergySage.
In other words, REC solar panels offer top efficiency, while having installed costs below the industry average! 😉 They are also characterized by their excellent performance at high ambient (surrounding) air temperatures, making them ideal for places in hot climates.
Did you know? Some products from REC have a rated temperature coefficient of only -0.26% per Celsius degree.
REC Solar Panels: Main Product Lines
REC offers monocrystalline panels with high-technology solar cells. As you can see in the company website, REC has four product lines for the home solar market in the US:
|REC Product Line
|REC Alpha Pure
|Up to 21.9%
|385W – 405W
|Up to 21.7%
|360W – 380W
|REC N-Peak 2
|Up to 20.5%
|360W – 375W
|REC TwinPeak 4
|Up to 20.5%
|360W – 375W
The REC Alpha Pure series uses a 66-cell design, achieving an output of up to 405W. The other three product lines have 60-cell designs, making them more compact while still offering a high efficiency.
The Alpha Pure and Alpha series use the heterojunction cell technology, which results in solar panels that operate at high efficiency even when exposed to hot weather. Both product lines have a temperature coefficient of -0.26% per °C, meaning they only lose 5.2% of their performance with a temperature rise of 20°C.
Do REC Solar Panels Have a Good Warranty?
As you might expect from a premium solar brand, REC offers excellent warranty conditions. You’re covered against product defects and malfunctions for a very long time, which means your return on investment is assured.
- REC solar panels have a standard 20-year product warranty. However, you can extend the coverage to 25 years by hiring an REC certified installer, and you will also get a 25-year labor warranty, which is not included in the standard coverage.
- REC also offers a 25-year power production warranty. Their four residential product lines are rated for 98% performance after the first year. The Alpha, Alpha Pure and N-Peak 2 series have a degradation rate of only 0.25% per year, and 92% rated performance after 25 years. On the other hand, the TwinPeak 4 series offers 0.5% maximum degradation per year, and 86% performance after 25 years.
The product warranty covers you if any solar panels malfunction, while the power production warranty applies if they degrade faster than the specified rate.
Keep in mind that most solar panels achieve a payback period of less than 10 years, and even less than five years under favorable conditions. Using REC solar panels, you will have recovered your investment multiple times when your warranty ends.
The importance of working with qualified solar installers cannot be stressed enough. Even the best solar panels can malfunction when used incorrectly, exposing your home to electrical faults or even fire. On top of that, manufacturers will generally void their warranties if there is evidence that your solar panels were not installed properly.
How do REC Solar Panels Perform in High Temperatures?
The REC Alpha and Alpha Pure series have a temperature coefficient of -0.26% per °C, which is the best in the solar industry as of early 2022. Only two other brands have developed solar panels with this temperature performance: Panasonic and Solartech Universal. As mentioned above, a 20°C temperature rise will only cause a 5.2% performance drop when using these solar panels.
The excellent temperature performance of REC solar panels achieves synergy with their high energy conversion efficiency. This results in more kilowatt-hours over time, and higher savings on your home energy bill. REC panels are an excellent choice if you live in a place with a hot climate, since they sustain their efficiency even when the temperature rises.
There are solar panels that offer comparable efficiency ratings, but not the same temperature performance. These panels can match the productivity of REC under ideal laboratory conditions, but not when used for long hours under the sun.
What Are Some Alternatives for REC Solar Panels?
REC is one of the best solar panel brands available, and we only need to look at their specifications: the third-highest efficiency in the industry, top performance in high temperatures, and one of the best warranties available. For a fair comparison, we need to look at other top brands.
If you’re looking for high-efficiency solar panels, only two brands are currently above REC:
- LG offers a comparable efficiency (22.3%) while having a similar cost – $2.75 per watt on average, according to EnergySage.
- The most efficient brand is SunPower, reaching 22.8%, but you must pay a much higher price for that extra performance – $3.35 per watt on average, 21% higher than the installed cost of REC solar panels.
- Other high-efficiency brands include CSUN (21.2%) and Panasonic (21.2%).
With high-efficiency solar panels, each square foot of your roof generates more kilowatt-hours over time. However, you also need to consider other factors like the installed cost and warranty coverage.
The temperature coefficient is also important in hot climates. A solar panel with the highest rated efficiency will not necessarily have the highest return on investment.
REC solar panels are also characterized by their excellent warranty. Offering a 10–12-year warranty is regarded as an unofficial standard among the top solar brands, but REC goes above and beyond with a 20-year coverage (25 years with certified installers).
However, there are several competing brands that also offer 25-year product warranties. The list includes Aptos Solar Technology, Axitec, Certainteed Solar, LG Solar, Mission Solar, Panasonic, Q CELLS, Silfab, Solaria, SunPower and Winaico.
As mentioned above, a warranty is only helpful if your solar panels are installed and used correctly. Make sure you work with professional installers, or otherwise you can have many issues down the road. Your home solar system may fail in a short time without warranty coverage, and your property is exposed to a fire hazard.
REC also excels in high temperature performance, matched only by Panasonic and Solartech Universal. All three brands offer a temperature coefficient of -0.26% per °C, which is the best in the industry as of early 2022. Some competitors that come close include SunSpark Technology (-0.28% per °C) and SunPower (-0.29% per °C).
There are few solar brands that can match REC in all performance metrics. You can find a comparable combination of high efficiency, good performance at high temperature, and long warranty coverage with the following three brands:
- SunPower: Up to 22.8% efficiency, -0.29% per °C, 25-year product warranty
- LG Solar: Up to 22% efficiency, -0.29% per °C, 25-year product warranty
- Panasonic: Up to 21.2% efficiency, -0.26% per °C, 25-year product warranty
The average installed cost of Panasonic and LG Solar panels are similar to REC, while SunPower is a more expensive option.
After reviewing some solar panel specifications, we can conclude that REC is one of the best brands available. The brand offers a combination of high efficiency, high temperature performance and long warranty coverage that is only achieved by a few brands. Surprisingly, REC also offers below-average prices, and you can expect to pay around $2.76 per watt.
REC focuses on monocrystalline solar panels, which use your roof space more efficiently. This is an excellent feature when you have limited space since you get more kilowatt-hours per square foot over time.
If there are incentive programs in your location, you may be able to purchase REC solar panels at a much lower price. Before installing your system, make sure you aren’t missing out on any cash rebates or performance-based incentives.
Keep in mind there is also a 26% federal tax credit that applies nationwide, which means you get $260 back for every $1,000 invested in a solar panel system. If you’re also considering a home battery and plan to use solar panels for charging, it also qualifies for the tax credit.
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