REC Solar Panels Review
How much do you like receiving your monthly electric bill? Probably as much as the rest of us. Some are taking matters into their own hands and ditching grid energy for solar. But it takes work.
To reap the benefits of energy independence, you have to research the different brand offerings. You can start by reading REC solar panel reviews.
REC solar reviews are a good guide to choosing solar panels and help you determine where this brand stands among the rest.
What To Look for in a Solar Panel
Before trying to understand what separates a good solar panel from a bad one, you need to understand the evaluation basics. All it takes is knowing a few key numbers and industry averages.
Panel efficiency helps determine how many panels are necessary. After estimating your average monthly energy needs, check the panel's efficiency.
Solar panels have efficiencies that range from 15% to 23%, with anything above 20% considered high efficiency. Higher-efficiency panels cost more but also mean you'll need to buy fewer units.
You'll also need to calculate in wattage and cells. The average residential panel has 60 cells, and wattages fall between 250W and 400W. The wattage determines how much electricity the panel can put out, and the cells determine the overall voltage.
Solar panel performance is measured by its temperature coefficient. As temperatures rise, panels become less effective. The standard operating temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, or 77 Fahrenheit. Then, with any upward shift in temperature, the power output falls.
Average temperature coefficients range from minus .2%/Celsius to minus .5%/Celsius. So, if a panel has a temperature coefficient of minus .25%/Celsius, the panel loses .25% of its power for every added degree Celsius. To assess this in a market context, know that the lower the temperature coefficient, the better the performance.
Durability is measured by Pascals (Pa), a unit for measuring pressure caused by wind and snow. Typically, solar panels have an average of 5,400 Pa. These numbers are important if you live in places with harsh weather conditions.
There are also a handful of certifications that independent labs test for. These help ensure quality and durability. The International Electrotechnical Commission is the leading authority on solar panel testing, and the main certifications to look for when evaluating solar panels are:
- IEC 61215: Tests for electrical characteristics, insulation resistance, performance in wind or snow, harsh climate durability
- IEC 61730: Tests for safety against electrical shock and fire safety
- IEC 62716: Tests for resistance to ammonia
- IEC 61701: Tests for resistance to salt mist corrosion
Solar panels come with two warranties: a product warranty and a performance warranty. Product warranties guarantee that the panel will function as it should for a given period, usually between 12-25 years.
The linear performance warranty guarantees that a solar panel will produce a specific amount of electricity annually. Normally a solar panel drops in output by a few percentage points after the first year, then by much less every following year. The average degradation rate is around .50% per year.
The best way to calculate solar panel cost is by the watt. The industry average is $3.00 per watt. So, if you plan on investing in the average solar energy system of 6 kWh, you can expect the panels to cost around $18,000.
REC Solar Panel Review
We've done the legwork. Now, let's look under the hood and get into our REC solar panel review.
REC is a popular solar panel company known for its high-end quality and technological innovation. REC has been on the cutting edge of solar panel technology for a long time and continues to break ground with new technology. For example, REC pioneered the half-cut cell, which reduced the PV cell size, so more could fit onto a panel, increasing performance and efficiency.
Where Are REC Solar Panels Manufactured?
So, where are REC solar panels made? REC is a Norwegian-founded solar panel company that started in 1996. In 2007, REC moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Singapore.
What Are the Most Popular REC Solar Panels?
REC features a slew of amazing solar panel models, including:
- REC Alpha Series: 380 watts, HJT cells
- REC N Peak Series: 310-330 watts, N-Tpye cells
- REC Twin Peak 2 Series: 300-330 watts, P-Type Cells
The first two are premium lines and rank among the market's best options. The Twin Peak 2 Series is a mid-tier model.
Regarding efficiency, REC is hard to beat, as its offerings range from 17% to 22.3%. The Alpha has the highest efficiency range, 20.7% to 22.3%. The N Peak Series is close but not quite as effective. It caps out at 20.3%.
If you look at some user REC solar panel reviews, you'll notice that users fully recognize REC's effort to maximize panel efficiency.
REC's temperature coefficient varies by model. The Alpha series is excellent and tests in at minus .24%/Celsius. The other two series are still great, but at minus.34%/Celsius, not as good as the Alpha. Compared to the general market, all REC panels perform well.
REC has also incorporated a Twin Design, meaning if one half is in the sun and the other shade, the half in the sun still collects energy. Many competing panels don't have this feature.
REC employs some of the most rigorous testing standards on the market. Design-wise, it has a series of support bars to defend the cells from pressure.
From a pressure-resistance standpoint, the panels support up to 7,000 Pa, which blows away the industry standard of 5,400 Pa. The added strength allows panels to provide similar energy yields, even under pressure.
REC Solar Panel Warranty
REC warranties are almost as competitive as other brands. They do have one catch, though. They offer 25-year product warranties on all their panels but only if you use a REC-certified installer. Otherwise, the panels only come with a 20-year warranty, which is good, but not as long-lasting as other leading market brands, such as LG.
Users, however, still consider the warranties and guarantees to have a large appeal, as certain REC solar reviews display.
Regarding performance warranty, REC is extremely competitive on its premium lines. Their Alpha and N Peak Series are guaranteed to retain at least 92% power until year 25, an annual degradation of .25%. On the other hand, Twin Peak 2 is 86%, or a .5 degradation, which aligns with industry standards.
When it comes to what you'll pay, REC becomes less appealing. Lower-tier options cost as low as $2.40 per watt, which isn't that painful on the wallet. But the higher-end models get as pricey as $3.60 per watt.
Are REC Solar Panels Any Good?
REC solar panels are an excellent choice because of their durability, enhanced technology, incredible efficiency, and long-lasting warranties. They are expensive, but with solar panels, it's often better to make a strong upfront investment rather than regret it later. Overall, REC is a great brand that consumers, based on their REC solar reviews, continue to trust for their solar needs.
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