“More than only price”: REC Solar on backing HJT and traceability in Europe

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The REC booth at Solar & Storage Live 2023 Image

PV Tech sat down with Singapore-headquartered solar module manufacturer REC Solar at the Solar & Storage Live 2023 event in Birmingham, UK, to discuss n-type production, its European plans and why price isn’t everything when it comes to solar.

Technology choices

“From 2024 we will have 100% focus on HJT (heterojunction technology),” said Harmen Schinkel, sales manager for Northern Europe at REC. “We now have a production capacity of approximately 1.8GW and it will grow to 2.2/2.3GW. We’re not the biggest in the market, of course, but we are aiming for the premium market segment, mostly the residential.”

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

When asked why REC has put its chips on HJT rather than tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) modules – to which many of the biggest manufacturers have committed – Schinkel said that the company had been working with TOPCon since 2018, but has decided to shift entirely to HJT. “With HJT you combine two technologies, [crystalline silicon and thin-film], you have a lower temperature coefficient and you have a far stronger, more flexible cell.”

He also touted the technology’s low degradation rates: “After 25 years our Alpha module will produce at least 92% of its power, and it’s got an annual degradation of 0.25 – that’s really low, and you can’t reach this with only TOPCon.” It should be noted that 25 years is industry standard lifespan for modules, but Schinkel said that REC’s Alpha series would likely continue functioning longer than that.

‘More than only price’

Conversation shifted to the European market and REC’s plans there. “We’re aiming for the residential market with our full black modules as it’s a really strong [market],” he said. “And we see more and more now the sense of traceability for European brands. I think this is becoming more and more important for homeowners but also for C&I projects.”

Many discussions around the show were focused on the supply chain and traceability in solar. A panel on Wednesday 18th   – reported on by PV Tech –  explored the emerging Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI) and the need to respond to the rising calls for supply traceability and ethical solar manufacturing. This followed shortly after two EU committees adopted a proposal to ban the import and export of products with any proven forced labour in their supply chains.

“There is more than only price and watt peaks”, Schinkel said, “A module will produce sustainable energy for 25 years, but you have to be sure that the module is also really sustainable.”

“I see the premium market which we are in growing more, because everyone is seeing that considering quality is becoming more important on your roof and in your system than only considering price.”

On the topic of price, all manufacturers operational in Europe have had to contend with the recent module price drops and the dormant stock sitting in Rotterdam containers, after the European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) published an open letter to the EU calling for measures to safeguard the industry against uncompetitively low-priced Chinese products.

“Of course it’s a problem…we are a premium European brand so we’re always slightly more expensive than the Chinese Tier-1 companies. For now the price gap is really big, so that’s a new challenge for us to keep up with pricing.”

But the solution could lie back in the technology, he continued: “It’s a temporary thing, I think, because p-type will be phased out and n-type price will have to come up a bit and then we come closer to a healthy market situation and pricing.”

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

Sponsored
June 21, 2024
PV Tech speaks to Autowell about some of its successes in recent years, and how it plans to expand its footprint into new markets.
June 20, 2024
Singaporean state-owned energy company Sembcorp has completed the acquisition of 245MW of renewables projects in Vietnam.
June 20, 2024
Greater supply chain independence is a priority for companies in the solar sector, according to Hardeep Singh at Intersolar Europe 2024.
June 20, 2024
A study exploring the feasibility of resurrecting PV manufacturing in Germany and Europe more widely has identified an eight-cent-per-watt cost gap between modules produced in China and those produced locally.
June 20, 2024
Chinese solar PV manufacturer Risen Energy has achieved a 24.7% conversion efficiency and 767.38Wp maximum power output on its heterojunction (HJT) Hyper-ion modules.
Sponsored
June 20, 2024
Ashley Wang, vice president, of Solar N Plus, talks about the company’s products, international footprint and production targets.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia