Comparing different brands of solar panel manufacturers is by no means an easy task as you need to compare apples with apples, ensuring you compare panels that are the same size in terms of power output.
Yet, it becomes more complex as the solar panel game is a highly competitive industry with each company jockeying for the number 1 spot on a continuous basis.
Innovation is driving change in the industry so fast that today you may be number 1 but tomorrow you might be number 2. Here you can take a look at the best solar panel manufacturing companies. Although there are a lot more out there, the Top 50 is based on the amount of MW capacity installed globally per annum.
The great thing for consumers investing in solar power is that they are spoilt for choice, so one should do their homework before making that big decision on what solar panel to go for.
There are a number of tools also available on the internet that allows one to compare the technical details of different solar panels and there are also a number of things to look out for when comparing different solar panels.
It’s not only about how much juice you can get out per a panel, or even the cost. But, also the panel aesthetics, the reliability and quality of the panel and the warranty period and conditions.
In this article, we’ll discuss how REC solar panels compare with GCL solar panels.
REC Solar Panels
REC is also a vertically integrated solar panel manufacturing company also offering Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) solutions.
Over the years they have won numerous international awards. They are well known in the industry for having the lowest warranty claims too. REC Solar is the largest European solar panel brand and developed the propriety TwinPeak technology.
Their unique TwinPeak solar panel range is packed full of technology improvements and is based on the polycrystalline technology platform.
One of the first notable achievements is that REC TwinPeak line of panels consists of 120 half-cut solar cells within the same dimension as a standard 60 cell solar panel.
This has been achieved by laser cutting standard cells into two. The benefits of this are that the electrical resistance of the solar cells are reduced as now electrical current doesn’t have to travel as far as it does with conventional solar cells. The result is a solar panel with more power output.
The second technology improvement that has been included in REC’s TwinPeak line of panels is PERC. PERC is an acronym that stands for Passivated Emitter Rear Cell technology.
PERC is a new type of solar panel architecture. The main advantage of PERC is that it enables manufacturers to achieve higher efficiencies than with standard solar cells which are reaching their physical limits.
PERC adds an extra mirror-like reflective layer at the back of the solar cell that is invisible to the naked eye.
The solar cell is unable to capture all the sunlight it receives so the reflective layer bounces the sunlight back to the solar cells. This gives the solar cell an extra chance of converting that sunlight to clean energy.
The PERC layer also assists in reducing the temperature of the solar cell therefore producing more energy.
The REC TwinPeak series also includes 5 busbars, that’s three more than conventional standard solar panels.
The busbars act as a conductor of the electrical current produced and transmits it to the inverter.
Having extra busbars means electrical current has less distance to travel. This vastly improves the reliability and electrical flow of the panel.
Another technology improvement to REC’s TwinPeak panel range is the introduction of a split junction box.
Most solar panels have two junction boxes that allow the flow of electrons to happen. The TwinPeak has three junction boxes. The addition of the third junction box improves heat dissipation of the panels and increases their durability and reliability.
Heat is an enemy of solar panels, as the higher the temperature, the less power is generated.
The REC TwinPeak solar panel offers superior performance in partly shaded conditions.
This is due to the fact the panel has 6 smaller strings configured across the two independent sections of the solar panel.
A standard panel in partially shaded conditions would lose 100% of its output but an REC TwinPeak solar panel would only lose 50% of its power output in partially shaded conditions.
REC TwinPeak (265-285 Wp) and TwinPeak 2 (275-295 Wp) solar panels come in a choice of silver or black frame. REC TwinPeak 2 BLK2 (275-285 Wp) is a fully-black solar panel, which looks great, but, unfortunately, is not the best solution for the Australian climate.
GCL Solar Panels
GCL is a part of the Chinese company the Golden Concord group.
GCL claim to supply 29.1% total worldwide wafer capacity yield, representing 22.2% of the silicon market share.
Traditionally a solar panel manufacturing company, they are now also expanding into the energy storage and EV charger space.
GCL Solar invests a considerable amount into innovation, ever striving to improve solar panel efficiency gains.
The company recently announced that it had raised its self-developed Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) solar cell average efficiency to 20.1% in mass production.
It marks a major step forward in advancing the efficiency improvements of polycrystalline panels.
GCL has recently released their Poly PERC black silicon diamond wire half-cut module, achieving efficiency levels of 20.8%.
GCL is also jumping onto the black silicon solar panel bandwagon. Switching to black silicon cell technology with their own unique proprietary PERC technology increases the unit cell efficiency by 20-25W higher than the conventional type of solar panel.
GCL Solar have also embraced the half-cut cell revolution with a range of solar panels dedicated to this technology improvement. Their range of half-cut cell solar panels ranges in size from 320 W to 360 W with efficiency ratios spanning from 18.5 to 19.4%.
GCL solar also has a range of solar panels utilising bifacial technology.
What is bifacial technology? A number of the big solar panel manufacturing players have commercialised the technology. The race is on to squeeze as much power output as possible per solar panel and bifacial technology does just this.
Bifacial modules produce power on both sides of the solar panel increasing total energy generation. They are also more durable as they use a layer of double glass.
This means both sides are UV resistant, and potential-induced degradation (PID) concerns are reduced when the bifacial module is frameless.
Traditional opaque-backsheeted panels are monofacial; bifacial modules expose both the front and backside of the solar cells. Bifacial solar panels should be installed on highly reflective surfaces so they can maximise energy production on the rear side.
The solar panel industry is highly competitive with industry driving innovation constantly to improve reliability, durability and efficiency of solar panels.
Costs are coming down too, as the technology matures.
REC Solar and GCL are leaders in innovation in the solar panel space, and each has focused on specific technology improvements to increase the efficiency of their panels. Both companies are solar giants and manufacture high-quality solar panels.
REC Solar line of TwinPeak panels includes a whole range of technology improvements such as using half cut cells to minimise electrical resistance and shading losses. Their panels also include PERC technology, more busbars than conventional solar panels and split junction boxes to assist with heat dissipation.
GCL solar has joined the black silicon movement ramping up mass production of this solar technology. They have also recently achieved efficiency ratios of 20.1% for their multicrystalline panels.
GCL Solar have also included PERC technology into their black silicon panels to maximise efficiency. Their range of bifacial solar panels provides the ability to produce generating power on both sides of the panel, thereby increasing the power output per a solar panel.
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