Machines making solar panels

REC’s TwinPeak is quickly becoming the go-to panel for homeowners interested in performance, reliability, and how cool it looks to have a black on black panel array.

REC, which stands for Renewable Energy Corporation, is a Norwegian company who some time ago moved their manufacturing operation to Singapore.

They are currently producing around 1.3 Gigawatts in solar panels every year, which while making them a ‘medium-size’ manufacturer, is enough panels to provide for the Australian market twice over.

REC also happens to be one of the few manufacturers who have an easy-to-understand, well-designed website, where you can take a look at their various product lines.

Today we are interested in talking about REC’s flagship product, the innovative TwinPeak panel: a split panel, split cell, highly optimised multicrystalline piece of European engineering.

In fact, as the biggest panel provider to Germany, you can rest assured knowing the country world-famous for its engineering prowess chooses REC.

REC claims that their panels provide better output in the shade, more power per square meter than any standard 60 cell panel, and maximum aesthetics.

So what makes this company and its product, the TwinPeak, stand out from the competition?

History of REC

REC, originally named Fornybar Energi AS, was founded in 1996 by Dr. Alf Bjørseth, a physical chemist. In a few short years, REC became a world leader in silicon wafer production.

It has since been acquired by Elkem Group, a silicon and chemicals company. REC dominated the European market for many years, and as we said, is still a top pick for the German people.

It was in 2010 that the company moved its manufacturing operation to Singapore, where it has since stayed.

REC is now regarded as one of the industry leaders in high-quality, innovative panels such as the Twinpeak.

Innovative Technology

The REC TwinPeak panel utilises many technologies which are simply not present amongst its competitors.

It’s this level of innovation that has allowed REC to remain one of Europe’s most-used panels over the years.

To begin with, the REC Twinpeak panel achieves an efficiency of 17.1%, making it one of the most efficient residential panels on the market.

REC has also taken Australia’s coastal lifestyle into consideration by making their panels resistant to corrosion, meaning they won’t rust and deteriorate if installed close to the seaside.

However, these features are common among other panel manufacturers. It is what REC does that others do not that really sets them apart.  

Half Cut Solar Cells

Animation of half cut cells being manufactured

Most standard solar panels include 60 silicon cells in total but REC TwinPeak instead has manufactured a panel with 120 ‘half cut’ cells.

This is achieved by using a laser cutter to split the cell.

This reduces the overall resistance within each cell, increasing the panel’s power output, meaning a more energy-dense panel and a more powerful solar system.

This is because the wires connecting cells can cause massive power losses during energy production. Half cut cells have less current than their whole counterparts, causing less resistance throughout the panel.

Half cut cells have been shown to boost the power output of a module by 5-8W. It’s not surprising then that the market for half cut cells will increase by 35% in 2017.

PERC Technology

Animation of how PERC technology works

PERC, which stands for Passivated Emitter Rear Cell technology, has become an increasingly popular option among top-quality manufacturers.

Essentially, PERC panels are equipped with a mirror-like reflective surface on the rear of the cell.

This enables light particles that the panel wasn’t able to absorb when they first came into contact with the silicon cell to be reflected back up towards the absorbent layer.

This makes the panel more efficient, and therefore achieve a higher power output.

Twin Peaks are equipped with this technology, which is why they are able to achieve a 17.1% efficiency, which means that 17.1% of all the light that hits a solar panel is absorbed and its energy transferred to electrical power.

Four Busbar

Animation of REC bus bars

For a solar panel to actually produce electricity, the freed electrons within the panel must travel towards a copper wire where they become a current.

This copper wire is called a busbar and is designed to separate the solar cells and conduct DC power generated by the cells towards the inverter.

In a standard solar panel, there are only two. However, the TwinPeak panel uses four busbars.

This means that the cells have less distance to travel before they are conducted by the copper wires, improving energy flow and the overall reliability of the panel itself.

Animation of REC's junction box

Split Junction Box

Finally, the fourth innovation comes in the form of three junction boxes—instead of the usual two. A junction box is where the four busbars meet, and it is also where the solar panel is placed within the circuit.

A junction box has a positive and negative input to indicate the circuit’s flow.

By using multiple junction boxes, the Twinpeak panel is provided with increased heat dissipation and better reliability overall.

This is because the task of collecting and sending the power to the inverter is distributed among three components.

All these improvements make REC panels the most reliable and efficient in the world.

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Failure Rate & Warranty

It’s no surprise that because of REC’s countless innovations towards a higher quality and more reliable panel, their failure rate is exceptionally low.

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

That’s about one in every 10,000 panels.

Because of this, REC has the lowest warranty claims rate in the entire industry.

Despite the incredibly low probability that you will need your panels replaced, REC offers a 25-year performance warranty and a 10-year workmanship warranty.

If you choose an installer who is accredited with REC, then you will be rewarded with an additional two year warranty, as REC know they can trust the installer to get the job done without damaging their panels.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a run of the mill, just-get-the-job-done panel, then forget about the REC Twinpeak.

However, if you’re looking for a panel that attempts to push the envelope and experiment with new technologies, then look no further.

The REC TwinPeak takes advantage of innovative technologies like split panels, increased busbars, PERC, and multiple split junction boxes.

Despite pushing the boundaries, REC makes sure not to put your system at risk, delivering a panel with the lowest warranty claims rate in the industry.

If you’re that one in 10,000th customer that does get a faulty product, then REC will provide a 12-year warranty when your system is installed with an accredited installer.

Next Step

If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!

Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.

Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.

Photo credit: REC

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