Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), Oslo, Norway

With its mission as “Smart Energy for a Cleaner Future”, REC is the world’s leading solar cells manufacturer. Through its products, REC helps its customers harness electricity from solar energy – a free and abundant source of energy. With extraordinary growth since its inception, REC has placed strong emphasis in its continuous plans to reduce costs. Interestingly, the reduction in costs would be achieved more through the development of better technology as compared to relocating its facilities to countries with cheaper labor as most of their facilities are powered by automated machines. Coincidentally, REC is also building the world’s biggest integrated PV plant in Singapore creating almost 3,000 jobs in its first phase of hiring. REC shared with the BSM group that the reasons behind its plan to invest in Singapore is due to the large supply of talented engineers at low cost, low risk and government incentives.

During the visit, the group learnt about the the manufacturing processes of a solar cell, the corporate culture within REC and the company’s global expansion plans. The BSM group also had the opportunity to handle various solar cells in different stages of production, with the basic ones each measuring 0.2mm thin that could be easily shattered with only a slight push. REC also introduced its interactive website – REC Solar – which enables users to utilize Google Maps to simulate the placement of solar cells on roofs. The website would then calculate the installation costs, payback time, the levels of carbon dioxide offset and even the number of tree that the user can save from being fell with the installation.

REC also gave a presentation on corporate culture and leadership within REC with a focus on its Job Discussions (JD) program. The JD program aims to set goals and objectives at individual levels of the company’s hierarchy. The program works by ensuring close relationship between employees and their direct leaders, then reaching an agreement on goals, objectives and activities. REC highlighted that the JD program has been largely successful with employees generally being happier with their jobs after the program.

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