Image source: LG
What is the background of LG solar panels?
LG Solar, part of the global dominant LG Electronics Group, has its origins tracked back to the late 50’s as GoldStar. The LG Solar badge was forged in 2004 when LG Electronics merged several PV research labs with the intention of mass production of solar cells and modules, which it achieved with the opening of a factory in Korea in 2009. Since the mass production of LG modules began in 2009, they have been at the forefront of advancement in cell efficiency and technology which has resulted in the LG brand being held in the highest regard by solar professionals.
Where do LG solar panels rank in terms of efficiency?
LG has been a consistent market leader in solar panel efficiency. As of early 2018, a panel efficiency of a mind-blowing 20.8% has been achieved by the LG Neon2 360W (60 cell module). This puts LG right at the pointy end of the market in panel efficiency, which correlates directly to their very healthy reputation as a premium panel offering.
What solar cell technology do LG solar panels use?
The LG Neon2 range of panels has incorporated BiFacial cell. This cell technology allows the capturing of light from both the top and bottom of the cell. The clear backing sheet fitted to the Neon2 range allows light reflected back from the underneath of the module to also be captured, allowing a much greater efficiency and there resulting in a much higher generation. This in comparison to a standard cell that has a polymer backing sheet that prevents reflected light from underneath from reaching the cell.
What are the advantages of LG solar panels?
The major advantages of the LG modules is their huge panel efficiency levels (comparable to SunPower), gathering much more power per sq foot than most solar panels on the market. The warranties offered by LG are also extremely enticing, with the Neon2 range now coming with a very attractive 25 year product warranty (most standard Chinese modules have 10 years) and having a residual 87% power generating capacity 25 years after installation (once again, compared to 80-82% for most tier 1 Chinese panels). Company security should also be considered, with LG Solar a branch of LG Electronics, an internationally recognized company, it should provide a safe and reliable option with the honoring of warranties. This isn’t always the case with these larger diverse international companies, with BP being the perfect example of a company turning its back on a division of its business.
What are the disadvantages of LG solar modules?
The major disadvantage of the LG solar panel range is cost. Modules offering such attractive efficiency, slick looks with market-leading warranties do not come cheap. Costings can be up to triple the price per watt of respected tier 1 manufacturers, which often pushes LG into a pricing bracket out of reach for everyday Americans. This costing hasn’t been helped by the 30% import tariff on solar panels.
Would our SolarReviews experts choose LG Solar modules for the roof of their homes?
No. Although the LG solar panels have very attractive features, in the premium range of panels available on the US solar market I would suggest sticking with the soon to be US manufactured SunPower panels (currently Philippines, Mexico or China) or slightly cheaper Panasonic. SunPower have a better performance warranty (8% decline over 25 years, compared to LG’s 13%, with Panasonic at almost 10%), a slightly better panel efficiency and the warranty is held here in the US, by a US-based company. In saying this in the same breath, these premium modules should only be considered if you like getting the best of the best and/or have a limited roofing area where you want to squeeze as much wattage out of the area as possible. Alternatively, my suggestion would be a more cost-effective module like REC.