After my visit to the SERIS floating solar testbed, I spent some more time in Singapore visiting the REC factory!
I met my contact, Tran Thu, at their location in an industrial area outside of town. She welcomed me and started my tour by telling me about REC and what they do. REC was originally founded in Norway, but has grown to become one of the leading solar industry companies in the world. In their location in Singapore, they have both a cell factory and a module factory, as well as an office building in the down town area. I only visited the factory part, as it was the most interesting part for me.
REC´s main focus is solar power, and specialise in making the most efficient modules in the world. Their leading module type, the Alpha module, currently has a max peak efficiency of 380kWp. Thats like 20% more than any other standard module. Quite impressing I would say.
The Alpha module is also made differently than the standard modules I have seen before. They use half cut cells with HJT (Heterojunction) busbarless cells whereas normal modules usually only have 4 or 5 busbars. Older models might even have 3. So for a solar power enthusiast like me, it was highly interesting to see how far this technology has come and get the explanation to how the REC modules became so much more efficient than its competitors.
Every year they release a new product, always more efficient than the year before. I´m already curious what they will come up with next year.
In their module factory building, they have a showing of the ”evolution of their modules”. It takes you from one of the first ones, to their latest, and it was crazy to see how much they have changed over the past few years. Thu took me through all of them, explaining their differences and what they did year after year to make them better. She is the lead product developer, so she had so much knowledge about all the products we saw.
After, we went through the whole factory, seeing every step of how they made the modules. I have been through many factories on my solar journey by now, and from the outside they all look quite similar. The difference lies within each company’s specific technology. Still, I always learn something new at a factory visit. There is always something someone hasn’t mentioned before, or a new question that was triggered by something they said. No matter how many I visit, I still enjoy every single one of them. I´m always so impressed by the workers efficiency, and how well they all clearly know their role in the production. How they work together and handle the modules, knowing exactly what the other person is going to do. Even with machines, in solar module production, there is always some kind of human touch needed to make it perfect.
Before I left, Thu took me for a walk around the premises. That’s when it hit me how huge this place is. It probably took us around 30 minutes just to walk around the two main factory buildings.
The next day I took the bus to Malaysia, where I travelled around for a bit more than a week, checking out 4 different locations. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, was a clear favourite.
Then I went to Taiwan, Japan and visited a friend in Seoul. I especially fell in love with Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Such a beautiful place!
Seoul was the last stop before my China adventure began! Stay tuned for updates on my visit to OPES factory in Shanghai!