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REC Solar solar panels review

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Renewable Energy Corporation, more commonly known as REC, is an innovative vertically integrated solar manufacturer. It designs and manufactures solar panels for both commercial and residential properties. It has four product ranges – Alpha Pure, Alpha Pure-R, Twin Peak 4 and Twin Peak 5 – which suit all home types and energy consumption needs. At present, REC has manufactured over 46 million panels powering 20.5 million people at home.

REC Group Solar Panel Company insights

REC was founded as a Norwegian company in 1996, where it began manufacturing its first solar panels and where it is still headquartered. To reduce costs, REC began manufacturing solar panels in Singapore in 2010 and opened an operational headquarters there. All of its Norwegian manufacturing bases were closed down by 2012, due to market conditions. 

REC Group was acquired by a state-owned Chinese corporation named BlueStar in 2014, before being sold again in 2021. Indian multinational conglomerate’s subsidiary, Reliance Industries Limited acquired REC from Bluestar. 

REC Group has been listed as a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It has regional hubs in North America, Asia and Europe, where it supplies high-efficiency panels with high power outputs that come with a 20 or 25-year warranty. REC is an industry leader when it comes to implementing new solar panel technology. Its latest range of panels uses a twin design which yields a high power output, especially in shaded conditions.  

REC’s product ranges retain between 86 per cent and 92 per cent of power in year 25 of the panel’s lifespan. Its newest series of panels, Alpha Pure-R and Alpha Pure, have a maximum annual degradation of 0.25 per cent. Its products also come with a 25-year product and performance warranty, covering the panel’s average lifespan.        

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REC solar panel costs

REC solar panels feature innovative designs that are created to generate more power and remain efficient for as long as possible. Most of REC’s panels retain 92 per cent of their day-one power at the end of the panel’s lifespan. Comparing the solar panel cost for REC’s panels with others on the market, our researchers found REC’s pricing to be fair.

Solar company Price range Power output range Product warranty range
REC £171.60 to £260.80 365W 430W 20 to 25 years
Qcells £146.40 to £190.40 345W to 410W 12 to 25 years
SunPower £200.28 to £614.40 330W to 440W 25 to 40 years
JA Solar £188.40 to £262.80 365W to 420W 20 to 25 years
Jinko Solar £141.60 to £177 415W to 470W 12 to 25 years
Suntech £103.20 to £232.80 400W to 555W 12 years

Its product warranty ranges from 20 to 25 years and, although Q Cells has a lower price range, some of its panels come with just 12 years warranty. It’s also fair to note that REC’s newest and most expensive range of panels, the Alpha Pure-R, comes with advanced technology that ensures it generates a similar amount of energy in highly shaded conditions.

REC Group reputation

REC has consistently brought groundbreaking solar panels to the market, so it comes as no surprise that its reputation is good. The company has scored in the ‘Top Performer’ category of the DNV GL/PVEL PV Module Reliability Scorecard report consecutively since 2016. The DNV GL, a globally recognised leader in PV module testing, produces an annual report which names the industry leaders for solar panel manufacturers. 

REC Alpha Pure Series was the Inter Solar Award winner in 2022. Inter Solar is the world’s leading exhibition for Solar PV, holding annual events. The Inter Solar Award is presented to companies that exhibit innovative technological advances.    

REC Group best solar panels

To choose the best REC solar panels for this article, we examined different use cases for UK households. REC specialises in manufacturing solar panels that work well in low-light conditions – something that is a concern for many UK homeowners. Our researchers have considered different house sizes, energy consumption needs while prioritising price and value for money.   

How we calculate solar panels’ value for money

Our experts multiplied the efficiency by the power output and divided that figure by the cost to calculate the value for money. This provides a fair and measurable result for each of REC’s panels. To find out more, read our article on how we review solar panels.

REC Alpha Pure-R 430W: Best for energy-hungry homes

Key features

✓ Delivers 16 per cent more power than other solar panels

✓ Gapless cell layout captures more sunlight 

✓ Twin panel design reduces internal resistance and produces more power 

Specifications

  • Power output: 430W
  • Efficiency: 22.3 per cent
  • Warranty: 25 years product and performance warranty 
  • Cost per panel: POA

Pros

Compact design High performance Maximum annual degradation of 0.25 per cent

Cons

Price not widely available

REC’s Alpha Pure-R series is its newest product range featuring its highest efficiency yet and advanced innovative cell design. The Alpha Pure-R 430W is at the top end of the power output for this range and really packs a punch when it comes to performance. The panel is said to produce 16 per cent more power than other conventional panels which is thanks to its gapless cell layout. This design captures more sunlight, but luckily this doesn’t mean a larger panel design, REC have manufactured a compact yet powerful panel. 

Efficiency and power output

The REC Alpha Pure-R 430W has a maximum efficiency of 22.3 per cent – this surpasses some of the leading manufacturers’ panels such as Project Solar, Suntech and SunPower’s. In addition to this, REC’s twin design splits the panel into four sections to reduce internal resistance, generate more power and yield more energy production in shaded conditions. 

Cost

The cost for the REC Alpha Pure-R is not widely available and our researchers found that you would need to request a quote. However, the 420W panel of that same series is priced at £260.80 – and undoubtedly the 430W exceeds this cost.  

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
REC Alpha Pure-R 430W 22.30% 430W POA
435W SunPower Maxeon 3 22.80% 435W £614.40
Project Solar Evolution Titan 445 21.40% 445W POA

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★1/2
Overall ★★★★

What is this panel best for?

Producing a large amount of energy in shaded conditions. Thanks to its gapless cell technology and twin design, the REC Aplha Pure-R 430W can yield a high amount of energy in the shade. 

Not good for

Households on a budget. The panel’s price is available upon request, but the 420W panel of the same series is priced quite highly. 

REC Alpha Pure 410W: Best for eco-conscious homes

Key features

✓ Gapless cell technology

✓ Twin design produces more power, including in shaded conditions 

✓ Lead-free panel, for less environmental impact 

Specifications

  • Power output: 410W
  • Efficiency: 22.2 per cent
  • Warranty: 25 years product and performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: £252

Pros

Stylish appearance thanks to thin barely visible wires High performance

Cons

Not budget-friendly

The REC Alpha Pure 410W shares many similarities with the Alpha Pure-R. It also features a stylish all-black design; in part, its tasteful appearance is down to its thin and barely visible wires and uniformly black-coloured cells. Featuring a similar innovative design, the panel’s twin design splits into twin sections – reducing internal resistance and producing more energy in shaded conditions. The panel would be well-suited for eco-conscious homes. The Alpha Pure 410W contains zero per cent lead. Lead-free panels are more environmentally friendly and don’t produce any toxic emissions that are harmful to humans.   

Efficiency and power output

The REC Alpha Pure is designed to capture as much sunlight as possible thanks to its gapless technology. This technology also translates to its high panel efficiency of 22.2 per cent, which competes with the likes of other leading companies Project Solar, JA Solar and SunPower’s panels. Though the Alpha Pure’s efficiency is impressive, we chose the maximum power output, 410W – compared with the SunPower Maxeon 3 435W, this isn’t high at all.  

Cost

Comparing the REC Alpha Pure 410W’s cost to other similar solar panels on the market was interesting since the price range was widespread. SunPower’s Maxeon 3 435W is more efficient than REC’s panel but nearly doubled in price. JA Solar’s Mono Perc 420W has a lower efficiency by nearly 1 per cent, but its cost is very low and power output is higher. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
REC Alpha Pure 410W 22.20% 410W £252
435W SunPower Maxeon 3 mono/white Module 40mm Solar Panel 22.80% 435W £614.40
420W Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Black Frame GR MC4 Solar Panel 21.50% 420W £114

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★★
Power output ★★★1/2
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★
Overall ★★★1/2

What is this panel best for?

The eco-conscious, medium-sized home with average energy consumption. The panel has high efficiency but not the highest wattage. Its gapless technology also works well in shaded conditions.  

Not good for

Homes on a budget. Compared to other similar panels on the market, it’s not the best value for money. 

REC Twin Peak 5 410W: Best for durability

Key features

✓ Twin panel design generates more electricity, even when shaded 

✓ Produce at least 86 per cent of its nameplate power in its 25th year 

✓ Strong frame design allows loads of up to 7,000 pascals (pa) 

Specifications

  • Power output: 410W
  • Efficiency: 20.8 per cent
  • Warranty:  20 years product warranty and 25 years performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: £165.60

Pros

All black design

Cons

Average efficiency

The REC Twin Peak 5 410W is both durable and stylish. Thanks to its elegant all-black design the panels are not an eyesore when mounted on roofs. The Twin Peak 5’s frame design comes armed with support extra bars – exemplifying strength and withstanding high snow loads of up to 7,000pa and the ability to yield more energy. Its 30mm frame height allows for easy installation, even where installation space is limited.    

Efficiency and power output

Compared with other REC panels, as well as other leading manufacturers, the Twin Peak 5’s 20.8 per cent efficiency is average. Although it is well-suited to medium-sized homes, with advancements in technology, there are lots of panels with 21 per cent or more efficiency in recent years. However, its twin design splits the panel into two sections, which yield more energy, even in partially shaded conditions. Its power output has an annual degradation of 0.5 per cent, retaining 86 per cent in year 25. 

Cost

The REC Twin Peak 5 410W’s efficiency didn’t quite match up to others on the market. Q Cell’s Peak M-G11A and Longi Solar Hi-Mo’s panel’s had an efficiency of 21.4 per cent  – both of which were more cost-effective, too. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
REC Twin Peak 5 410W 20.80% 410W £165.60
410W Q Cells Q Peak M-G11A Duo 410W Mono Solar Panel 21.40% 410W £152.40
Longi Solar 405W Hi-Mo Black Frame Solar Panel 21.40% 405W £128.40

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★
Power output ★★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★1/2
Overall ★★★1/2

What is this panel best for?

Withstanding high snow loads. The Twin Peak 5 has extra support bars that allow up to 7,000pa, which far exceeded the average 5,400pa offered by other panels on the market. 

Not good for

Homes that require high panel efficiency. The TwinPeak 5’s 20.8 per cent is ok, but there are plenty of panels on the market with higher efficiency. 

REC TwinPeak 4 370W: Best for budget

Key features

✓ Twin design produces more energy even in shaded conditions

✓ 0.5 per cent annual degradation 

✓ 86 per cent power in year 25 

Specifications

  • Power output: 370W
  • Efficiency: 20.3 per cent
  • Warranty: 25 years product and performance warranty
  • Cost per panel: £147.90

Pros

Designed to work well in shaded conditions Budget-friendly

Cons

Not suitable for large households

The REC TwinPeak 4 370W is a powerful yet budget-friendly solar panel. It’s one of REC’s most affordable solar panels, and though it doesn’t have the highest power output it still features REC’s twin design. Meaning it yields more power in shaded conditions than other manufacturers’ panels of similar power outputs.     

Efficiency and power output

For a budget-friendly panel, the TwinPeak 4 370W still has a decent performance. Its 20.3 per cent efficiency is above average and would be well-suited for small homes. Its 370W power output isn’t the highest in the series, but it has a good balance between cost and performance.  

Cost

We compared REC’s TwinPeak 4 370W’s price with other panels on the market. The TwinPeak 4 series is slightly dated now and newer panels on the market have topped both the TwinPeak 4’s efficiency and power output for a more cost-effective price. 

Both the JA Solar Mono Perc 495W and Trina Vertex S 425W panels have an efficiency of 21.3 per cent and are both priced less than REC’s panel. Their power output is higher, too. 

Panel name Efficiency Power output Cost per panel
REC TwinPeak 4 370W 20.30% 370W £147.90
495W JA Solar Mono PERC Half-Cell MBB Silver Frame MC4 Connectors Solar Panel 21.30% 495W £135.60
425W Trina Vertex S Mono Black Frame Solar Panel 21.30% 425W £117.60

Our rating

Efficiency ★★★1/2
Power output ★★★
Value for money (ExP/C) ★★★1/2
Overall ★★★1/2

What is this panel best for?

The TwinPeak 4 370W is best for households on a budget. The panel still has a good performance and features the twin design, but for a lower price than REC’s other product ranges. 

Not good for

Value for money. When we compared this panel to others on the market, we found that there were panels with higher performance for a similar price. 

Frequently asked questions about REC Solar Panels

REC is a global solar panel manufacturer founded in Norway in 1996. Manufacturing solar panels for two decades, its panels are distributed across Europe, Asia and North America. The company has manufactured over 46 million panels throughout its two decades in business powering 20.5 million people’s homes.

REC began manufacturing solar panels in Norway in 1996 but has since moved its production to Singapore – where all of its panels are manufactured. However, its headquarters remain in Norway and it has regional hubs in North America, Asia and Europe.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.