IcyReaper wants to know more about the panels that we selected. I checked through the previous posts and realized that I hadn’t talked about them at all. The PV panels are the heart of any solar system, so let’s review them.

When considering which manufacturer I wanted to go with for our PV panels, we wanted to go with a large, reputable panel manufacturer. SunPower, REC and Panasonic are three manufacturers widely known for producing some of the highest quality solar panels with low degradation and good warranties. For that reason, they cost up to 30% more, but I wanted reliability.

Although REC was originally a Norwegian company with a good reputation in the industry, their panels are actually made in Singapore. The company has been bought and sold several times, and is now owned by another company headquartered in India. The company makes panels with higher efficiency and more output at up to 470 watts per panel, but they are more expensive than some of their slightly less efficient models. It winds up costing more to get the extra output than it would to simply add more panels, and roof space isn’t an issue for me, as I have a lot of sun facing southern roof to work with.

We decided on the REC Alpha Pure 2 panel for our PV panel. The spec sheet can be found here (pdf alert). The panel is 1.8 meters by 1 meter, and has an output of 420 watts with an efficiency of 22 percent. It has a 20 year warranty and has been tested as retaining 92% of its rated output at 25 years. If the REC panels are installed by a certified installer, the warranty is extended out to 25 years. You can read a review on REC panels here.

REC solar panels operate at high efficiency, have a low 0.25% annual degradation rate and come with an excellent 25-year performance, product and labor warranty. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the panels are designed for 140 mile per hour winds and hailstones of up to 35mm. In my book, that made them durable enough to withstand some serious weather.

The panels look nice, because they are pure black with no light colored lines. They simply look better than the older panels.

The disclaimer: I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested.

Categories: Electric and Power


Rick Duplichan · June 23, 2024 at 8:08 am

I recently got my solar up and running on my new house. I could not be happier.

Steve · June 23, 2024 at 12:11 pm

DM – good luck with the system. You’ve really done you homework. We put in 52 LG 380W panels and 4 Tesla Powerwall2 a little more than 3 years ago. Couldn’t be happier with the output and storage. The panels will will run the house and cabin next door (9 tons AC) plus 3 upright freezers and 2 refrigerators and still charge the batteries to max on a clear Texas summer day.
day. The StormWatch on the batteries saved the day when we were covered in ice a while back for 7 days. We had 33 rolling blackouts and the only glitch was the millisecond to switch from the grid to the batteries and back to the grid. I bought a UPS to fix that.

IcyReaper · June 23, 2024 at 2:58 pm

That’s for this article,DM. I am just starting out on the Solar journey and your articles are very helpful and also got me to look at things I haven’t thought about. Since I’m currently live here in Southern CO, we need wind and especially hail protection for anything exposed also.

    Divemedic · June 24, 2024 at 6:33 am

    The REC panels are great for withstanding snow loads. I would start there.

Aesop · June 23, 2024 at 9:21 pm

Sounds good, but most of the panels I’ve looked at are nominally sized around 2’x4′.
Gonna have to throw in a Watts/in² to fairly compare apples to apples.

    Divemedic · June 24, 2024 at 6:29 am

    The ones used in residential installations are either 3 feet by 5.5, or 3 feet by 6.5. (Of course, they are metric, so it’s actually 1 meter by either 1.5 or 1.8 meters) This means that the two sizes are roughly 1.9 and 2.1 square meters.
    Full sunlight delivers 1000 watts per square meter. So looking at wattage, it’s easy to calculate efficiency. A 1.9 meter panel that is 100% efficient would deliver 1900 watts, and one that delivers 420 watts has an efficiency of 22%. (420 watts ÷ 1900 watts= 0 22)

      Aesop · June 24, 2024 at 11:15 pm

      Again, thanks for the details. I’ll have to work up apples-to-apples comparisons come the day.
      Nominal 2’x4′ panels scale better for planning purposes, but not if they’re going to be a lot less efficient or reliable as a penalty.
      The cheeriest news is the ongoing increase in efficiency and delivery of PV panels in general over the last decade, and a 25+-year reliability is noteworthy, especially in an area where there are even more clear sunny days than you have.

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