Seven of us from BSM Scandinavia 2015 were given the unique opportunity to visit REC Solar Pte Ltd in Tuas on 5 March 2015. Our hosts for the afternoon visit was Abdul Wahid bin Yahya and his team from Learning and Organization Development, REC. The BSMers were Sheryl-Ann, Danial, Myra, Alfred, Rohith, Shivira, and BSM course instructor Tom Estad.
Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) is a Norwegian company that is a leading global provider of solar energy solutions. With more than 15 years of experience, REC offers sustainable, high performing products, services and investments for the solar industry. Along with their partners, they create value by providing solutions that better meet the world’s growing energy needs.
Headquartered in Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: RECSOL), with employees worldwide, it generated revenues of USD 680 million in 2014.
With respect to REC’s foray into Singapore, Prime Minister Lee officially opened REC’s integrated solar production facility in Tuas on November 3, 2010. This milestone is the largest single investment ever made by REC, the largest clean tech investment ever made in Singapore?, at 2.5 billion Singapore dollars.
REC Singapore produces wafers, solar cells and solar panels for customers worldwide, with production based upon multi-crystalline technology. For 2012, a total of 722 MW of solar panels were produced at REC’s Singapore facility.
One key concept highly regarded within the REC Singapore’s production facility is safety. During our visit, safety was emphasized continually either verbally or through visual cues, such as posters and warning signs strategically placed in prominent areas. Even within the staff canteen, safety videos were played on-loop, to ensure that staff members are always aware of various potential hazards in their workplace and to impress certain safety work habits on them.
Our tour of the facility comprised the solar cell and solar panel production facilities. Even though REC Solar employs about 1,500, the production process is highly automated and requires precision engineering tools. We learned that REC has a highly efficient manufacturing process in place and that defects are kept at near-zero as a result.
The role of many employees along the production lines is to carry out inspection duties. To achieve strict quality control standards and REC’s yield rate of above 99%, cells are thoroughly inspected by hand and at the first sign of defect disposed of. We learned that REC takes a strong stand in being responsible in its waste clearing – waste is sent for recycling.
To our astonishment, we learned that some HDBs in Singapore have contracted third-party installers to install solar panels to power homes. However, to provide a single flat with the electricity a family needs requires 4 to 6 panels. Due to the large size of the panels, space constraints limit increasing the use of solar power, but REC believes that innovations such as double-sided solar panels will overcome such limitations.
All in all, the future of solar energy shines bright and we can start looking forward to cleaner, renewable energy in Singapore and the rest of Asia.
– Danial, Myra, Alfred