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REC Solar panels: the complete review

REC Group is Europe’s largest solar panel manufacturer, with offices in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Australia. The company was founded in Norway in 1996 and manufactures its solar panels in Singapore. REC is known for pioneering half-cut cell technology in 2014, which improved the performance of solar panels by cutting solar cells in half.

In 2022, REC launched its newest series of solar panels: the Alpha Pure-R. They now offer four series of high-power solar modules for residential applications, including Alpha Pure-R, Alpha Pure, N-Peak 2, and Twinpeak 4. REC solar panels are growing increasingly popular – they’re now some of the most quoted and most selected panels on the EnergySage Marketplace.

This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.


Key takeaways

  1. REC makes several lines of solar panels, including their Alpha Pure-R, Alpha Pure, N-Peak 2, and Twinpeak 4.

  2. REC’s solar panels range in efficiency from 19.1% to 22.3%, and they have a materials and performance warranty lasting for up to 25 years.

  3. REC solar panels cost between $2.50 and $3.46/W on the EnergySage Marketplace – that’s $15,000 to $20,760 for a 6 kW system, before the federal solar tax credit.

  4. Want to produce solar power right at home? Shop for REC solar panels (and many other brands!) today on the EnergySage Marketplace.

What’s in this article?

REC solar panels: what series are available?

REC offers several different series of high-quality solar panels for residential and commercial systems (they’re not commonly used in utility-scale systems), with their current focus on the high-power Alpha Pure and Alpha Pure-R series for homeowners:

  1. REC Alpha Pure-R

  2. REC Alpha Pure

  3. REC N-Peak 2

  4. REC Twinpeak 4

All of these solar panel series are monocrystalline, meaning they use a single crystal of silicon instead of multiple fragments of silicon in the case of polycrystalline solar panels. While monocrystalline panels tend to be more expensive, they’re also more efficient and perform better when the temperature changes.

In terms of solar cells, REC’s N-Peak 2 panels use n-type silicon while their Twinpeak 4 panels use p-type silicon – the major difference here is that n-type silicon is created with the chemical element phosphorus while p-type silicon is made with boron. The REC Alpha series offer higher power than the N-Peak and Twinpeak series. They use heterojunction (HJT) solar cell technology, which is known for better power density, efficiency, performance, and longer lifespans – and, the “pure” indicates that they’re lead-free, meaning a lower carbon footprint and no toxic leakage when you recycle your panels.

Here’s a breakdown of how REC panels compare in terms of power output and cell technology, depending on the series you choose: REC seriesPower output (Watts)Cell technology Alpha Pure-R400 - 430 WHJT Alpha Pure390 - 410 WHJT N-Peak 2 (black)350 - 370 Wn-type Twinpeak 4 (black)355 - 370 Wp-type

How do REC solar panels compare?

There are four key metrics that you should review as you evaluate solar panel quality: efficiency, performance, warranties, and price. We’ll explain what each of these means and why they’re important – and show how REC solar panels stack up against each other and other leading manufacturers in the solar industry.

Efficiency

The term “solar panel efficiency” refers to how well a solar panel captures sunlight and converts it into useful electricity. In the same conditions, a high-efficiency solar panel will produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size. For this reason, a higher efficiency rating is generally preferable.

The efficiency of your REC solar panels will vary depending on the specific model that you choose for your system. The most efficient solar panel on EnergySage is offered by SunPower at 22.8% – solar panels in REC’s product line have an efficiency rating of 19.1% to 22.3%: REC seriesEfficiency (%) Alpha Pure-R20.7% - 22.3% Alpha Pure21.1% - 22.2% N-Peak 2 (black)19.1% - 20.3% Twinpeak 4 (black)19.4% - 20.3%

Performance (temperature coefficient)

Temperature coefficient is an indicator of how well your solar panel performs in less-than-ideal conditions. Solar panels, like other electronic equipment, perform better when they are kept cool (ideally around 25° C/77° F). The temperature coefficient tells you how much your panel’s performance will change during hot sunny summer days.

For every degree above 25° C (77° F), your solar panel’s electricity production will decrease by its temperature coefficient. For example, REC’s Alpha Pure-R panels have a temperature coefficient of -0.24%/°C (the best performing). This means that if the panel’s temperature increases by one degree from 25° C (77° F) to 26° C (79° F), its electricity production will decrease by 0.24%. If its temperature increases all the way to 35° C (95° F), electricity production will reduce by 2.4%.

Your solar panels will likely see more than a few hot and sunny days over the course of each year, so ideally, they will have the lowest temperature coefficient possible. REC solar panels have temperature coefficients ranging from -0.34 to -0.24: REC seriesTemperature coefficient (%/°C) Alpha Pure-R-0.24%/°C  Alpha Pure-0.24%/°C  N-Peak 2 (black)-0.34%/°C Twinpeak 4 (black)-0.34%/°C

Warranties

Whether you’re buying a TV, a car, or solar panels, the manufacturer should stand behind their product with a strong warranty. A solar panel’s materials warranty (sometimes referred to as the product or equipment warranty) is a guarantee from the manufacturer that they will replace your panel if it fails as a result of manufacturing defects or environmental issues.

Under their ProTrust warranty, REC offers a 25-year product warranty on any panels installed by a REC Certified Solar Professional installer, comparable to other leading solar panel companies like Panasonic, SunPower, and Q CELLS. But, if you choose to go with a solar installer that isn’t REC-certified, you’ll only get a 20-year product warranty. They also provide a 25-year power warranty, which guarantees that their panels will still produce at least 86% to 92% of their original output by the end of the warranty term, depending on the product series: REC seriesAnnual degradation (%)Power at year 25 (%) Alpha Pure-R0.25%92% Alpha Pure0.25%92% N-Peak 2 (black)0.25%92% Twinpeak 4 (black)0.50%86%

How much do REC solar panels cost?

For many homeowners, the final decision around the solar equipment you choose rests on cost. The total price you pay for a solar energy system with REC’s solar panels will vary depending on the other equipment (such as inverters and mounts) used in the installation, as well as the characteristics of your roof.

To identify the range of prices for REC solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, we analyzed quotes including REC solar panels that homeowners received from installers on the EnergySage Marketplace. Most REC solar PV systems are typically priced between $2.50 and $3.46 per watt, making them a strong value in the market for home solar.

This means that, for a 6 kW system, your gross cost (before you subtract any tax credits or other incentives) would be anywhere from $15,000 to $20,760. Additionally, most homeowners end up paying much less than the total gross cost. With the 30 percent federal tax credit for solar, which everyone is eligible for, a 6 kW system with REC’s solar panels would cost anywhere from $10,500 to $14,532. There are plenty of state-level solar incentives and rebates that can help you reduce upfront costs even further. And remember that when you go solar, you’ll produce free, renewable energy right at home.

Advantages & disadvantages of REC solar panels

As with any product that is such a significant investment, REC solar panels have advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind before deciding to make a purchase. Whether your primary motivation for switching to solar is sustainable living or decreasing your reliance on the electric grid by pairing your solar system with energy storage, it’s important to weigh your options.

Pros of REC solar panels

  1. Efficiency: REC solar panels are some of the most efficient panels on the market, and the company was an industry leader in pioneering half-cut solar cell technology which has increased solar panel energy production across the board.

  2. Performance: REC offers some of the top-performing panels on the market with two of their panel series having a temperature coefficient of -0.24%/°C.

  3. Power warranty: three of REC’s four solar panel series include a power warranty with an annual degradation of no more than 0.25% and a guaranteed power output of at least 92% at year 25. This is higher than many panels currently on the market.

Cons of REC solar panels

  1. Product warranty: REC’s full 25-year product warranty is only available to people who had their panels installed by REC Certified Solar Professional installers; panels installed by any other installer are only eligible for a 20-year product warranty. The product warranty also doesn’t cover inverters, unlike some other industry-leading warranties.

  2. Product diversity: REC only manufactures solar panels. Unlike brands like SunPower, Panasonic, or Q CELLS, It doesn’t offer other products like batteries, inverters, or other technology, limiting its revenue diversification.

How to find the best price on REC solar panels

Want to install a solar energy system? The best way to find a system that offers the best quality at the right price is to compare multiple quotes from different solar energy companies. On the EnergySage Marketplace, you’ll receive quotes from our network of qualified, pre-vetted solar installers, many of whom offer REC solar panels in their quotes! If you’re already set on certain equipment – REC or otherwise – simply make a note in your profile so installers can include it in your quotes.


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