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Did you know that not all solar panels are as environmentally friendly as you might think?

There are many factors that impact the overall carbon footprint of a solar panel, for example: where it was manufactured; the materials used; and the energy consumed in building it.

So, while your choice to go solar is doing good, how much good can vary greatly. If you decide to go solar, you want to be sure that by your decision you are making a positive contribution to protect the environment and society.

Our Commitment

At REC, we believe that as the solar industry grows in importance, so does our responsibility to be good corporate citizens, as well as more sustainable.

That’s why since our foundation in Norway 25 years ago, REC has sought to combine high-efficiency innovations with sustainable manufacturing and equitable work practices to empower you to invest in an energy source which delivers positive outcomes for everyone.

Sustainability is key to our Code of Conduct, and our entire senior management is committed to upholding these principles in all business activities, governed by our Management System for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Our CSR initiatives and reporting are guided by the core subjects of ISO 26000, which provide holistic guidance.

Female REC employees standing with an REC Alpha solar panel

Human Rights & Labor Practices

REC supports fundamental human rights and actively abstains from any business activities that may compromise those human rights, including child labor, prison labor and forced labor.

  • We’re committed to modern anti-slavery principles, and adopt a zero tolerance policy towards human rights violations
  • We adhere strictly to the human rights laws in the countries where we manufacture, including Singapore and Norway.
  • We set high expectations of our suppliers upstream and undertake regular supplier audits to maintain the highest quality, including working conditions.
  • We strive to empower all our employees, ensuring that diversity and equality are part of REC’s responsible HR management practices.
Aerial photo of REC’s state-of-the-art solar manufacturing facility in Singapore, which has a 2.4-MW rooftop installation system directly contributing to the factory’s energy needs

Environment: Saving Energy, Water & Waste

  • At REC, we also use solar to make solar - to date, 3,000 kWp of REC solar panels have been installed at our production site in Singapore.
  • We use water responsibly - both in reducing the amount initially, and reusing as much as possible.
  • Unlike many solar producers, we reduce our use of hazardous materials, such as lead, to minimize our impact on the environment.
  • Using Industry 4.0 principles further supports our efficient manufacturing processes, lowering our environmental footprint.
Collage of various solar panel components having been recycled

Environment: Recycling & Upcycling for Higher Circularity

  • REC adheres to local regulations in our markets with the aim of recycling as much as possible (based on the long lifespan of REC solar panels of over 25 years, the module scrapping rate is low at an average of 0.5%).
  • Our panels are also designed to be easily recycled, after a long lifetime and many years of high performance.
  • We convert kerf, a by-product of the wafer production process, to high-quality solar silicon, enabling us to drastically reduce our carbon footprint to 6-7 kg CO2-eq / kg silicon compared to conventional processes (up to 140 kg CO2-eq / kg).
Two REC team members observing a test installation at the REC production plant in Singapore

Fair operating practices

At REC, we convey our values and social responsibility through our international business relationships.

  • We choose not to conduct any business with any countries, organizations or persons that are subject to sanctions or selective sanctions.
  • We examine all possible transactions or partnerships with regards to sanctions as published by the UN, the USA and the EU as well as other countries.
  • We have a Trade Controls Policy in place which is strictly followed.
  • On the sales side, we have implemented standards and policies for advertising and promotion to prevent unfair competition and unfair sales promotion.
Infographic of noteworthy installation using REC panels

Consumer Issues

We extend our CSR initiatives to consumer issues, by empowering individuals and businesses to make the switch to clean solar energy.

  • With 11 GW REC solar panels installed worldwide by the end of 2020, we are empowering more than 17 million people to make the switch to solar energy for a brighter future.
  • We choose to work with companies whose values are in line with our mission to deliver clean energy. 
  • We focus on long-term, sustainable and fair business relationships, fostered through our continuously expanding Channel Programs worldwide.
Community in the Himalayas enjoying the power of REC solar panels

Community involvement & development

We take the task of social responsibility seriously, even beyond our company, by supporting a number of projects and foundations aligned to our values.

  • Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit housing organisation working in communities across approximately 70 countries.
  • Donating solar panels to remote Himalayan villages, empowering every household with basic access to energy.
  • REConstruct, an initiative developed to supply REC Alpha solar panels at no cost to community groups impacted by the Australian bushfires.
  • The Honnold Foundation, empowering communities by providing REC Alpha solar panels to offset the bills of low-income families in Detroit, Michigan.

To make a positive environmental impact, it’s important our solar panels are sustainably manufactured, transported, installed, and eventually recycled.

With our latest innovation, the REC Alpha Pure Series, we have again demonstrated our commitment to sustainability by eliminating lead from panel components and making the panel RoHS compliant while providing customers with a higher power density of up to 219 watts per square meter

By doing so, the new product not only saves more carbon emissions but is also significantly easier to dispose of at the end of its working life with less impact to the ecosystem.

REC Alpha Pure empowers homeowners and businesses to drastically reduce their electricity bill and their environmental footprint.

Find out more about REC Alpha Pure

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