The company has gained a competitive edge by identifying operational and customer improvement opportunities while leveraging technological innovation
Based on its recent analysis of the solar power market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) with the 2011 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Enhancement for leveraging its proprietary Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) technology and automated solar production processes to make solar power solutions more accessible to customers across the globe.
“Compared with retail electricity, solar electricity costs are higher,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Georgina Benedetti. “Reducing the manufacturing costs of solar panels can reduce solar electricity costs and put it on par with conventional sources of electricity generation, thereby increasing its uptake.”
A dominant player in the global solar power market, REC is active throughout the solar value chain from silicon production through to wafer, cell and module production as well as systems development. Through innovation, operational excellence, and industry-wide expertise, REC has become a highly competitive solar energy solution provider that creates enhanced value for its customers.
Offering a host of solar energy solutions, REC invests a considerable amount of its resources in research and development to focus on new technology. It spent Norwegian Kroner (NOK) 89 million on R&D, approximately USD 15.9 million or EUR 11.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to NOK 69 million, approximately USD 11.4 million or EUR 8.6 million, spent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
A key technological achievement for the company has been its proprietary FBR technology that produces solar-grade granular polysilicon, known as NextSi™, which provides operational efficiencies for both mono and polycrystalline wafer manufacturers.
“The FBR technology not only aids in energy savings of up to 80 to 90 percent in the course of the silicon refining process, it reduces both REC’s solar panels’ manufacturing cost and its Energy Payback Time to one year,” noted Benedetti. “Since no other market participant uses such technology, REC has developed a distinct competitive edge by delivering high value for money to its customers.”
REC products are amongst the first crystalline modules with an energy payback time of one year. This is the time it takes for a module to generate the same amount of energy required for its manufacture including all the balance of system components (BOS). As a result of technological innocation throughout the value chain, the carbon footprint of an REC system is only between 18 and 22 g/kWh CO2 depending on the manufacturing chain while a more conventional PV system has a footprint around 35 g/kWh.
The company’s customer-centric business strategies also include a solar installer and partner program for solar distributors and project developers, positive customer feedback, and customer retention are testimony to their feature-rich, competitively priced products. An increase in production capacity has increased their customer base globally. The company’s business strategy to reduce the average selling price of polysilicon in the first quarter of 2011 saw the sales volumes of polysilicon increase.
Overall, REC is poised to continue developing highly efficient solar products with its impressive technical expertise and powerful brand value in the global market with a commitment to partnership. In recognition of its role in enabling sustainable energy solutions, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present REC with the 2011 Customer Value Enhancement Award in the solar power market.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products. This Award recognizes the company’s inordinate focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to improved customer retention and, ultimately, customer base expansion.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.