Australian solar power solutions provider Energy Matters has announced the company has entered into an agreement for the purchase of 20 megawatts of REC Peak Energy solar panels.
This represents enough output capacity to power over 5,000 Australian homes and reduce electricity generation related carbon emissions by 32,000 tonnes a year. The agreement is Renewable Energy Corporation’s (REC) biggest deal in Australia, and one of the largest single solar panel supply agreements in Australian history.
Victoria based Energy Matters was the first Australian company to offer REC solar panels for the local home solar power market and since the panel’s local debut in the middle of 2010, the modules have rapidly gained popularity.
“REC solar panels have been very popular in Europe for some time and the trend is continuing in Australia,” says Energy Matters co-founder Max Sylvester. “The reason for the rapid uptake is REC’s Peak Energy solar module series provide an excellent balance of value and performance.”
According to Energy Matters CEO, Jeremy Rich, “REC is currently the only fully integrated solar panel manufacturer in the world, producing poly silicon, wafers, cells and modules 100% in-house. Some other manufacturers do produce all these components, but they need to buy additional quantities from third parties along the way. Each time another party is involved, it’s a weak link in the supply chain. REC having total control over the entire cycle simply means better production reliability and quality control. In turn, this means we can supply a superior quality product to our clients with confidence.”
REC Solar’s products have received substantial recognition; including being voted the top ranked module in a March 2010 Photon Magazine efficiency test. In another study carried out by the respected Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, REC panels were placed ahead of two major Chinese and European brands after a year-long performance ratio test. The Peak Energy series were also nominated for the coveted Intersolar Photovoltaics Award this year and won the Solar Industry Award for Module Innovation, presented by Solar PV Management Magazine.
“REC solar panels have an industry leading energy payback time of one year as a result of an innovative production process that uses 80 to 90 percent less energy than traditional methods; making them an even more environmentally friendly solar panel. Their smaller footprint provides more power per square metre – an important consideration in relation to getting the most from a rooftop area,” says Mr. Sylvester. Energy payback refers to the duration to recoup the energy that went into production of a solar panel.
Norway-based REC’s massive expansion has seen the company setting up manufacturing operations closer to Australia.
“In November, REC officially opened one of the world’s largest integrated wafer, cell and module manufacturing facilities in Singapore; an investment to the tune of 2.5 billion Singapore dollars – the third largest foreign green field investment ever made by a Norwegian company,” says Mr. Rich. “The Singapore plant has already produced 1 million REC Peak Energy solar panels”.
Mr. Rich says while Energy Matters were never really surprised that REC solar modules would take off in Australia given their quality and investment value, this purchase is just a sign of things to come for the company.
“This major supply agreement came sooner than expected due to incredible demand from home owners and businesses for our REC panel based solar power system specials. With our commercial medium-scale solar farm division also ramping up, we expect to be making many more similar purchases in the time ahead.”