SolarKobo Score: 4.8/5stars
LG Solar is one product category of LG Electronics. LG Electronics is a subsidiary of LG Corporation, a South Korean multinational company. LG Electronics Inc. was established in 1958 and is headquartered in Yeouido-dong, Seoul, South Korea. It has a workforce of over 75,000. In 2017, it announced revenues of $55.4 billion. In 2017, it produced over 2GW of solar panels. LG Electronics is present in about 118 countries, including Nigeria.
LG has won numerous awards for its ultra-efficient technology, design and high industry standards. LG produces all of their solar panels in their own in-house fully automated manufacturing facilities in Gumi, South Korea, and Alabama, United States. With 30 years experience in the solar industry, LG Electronics are now onto their fourth generation panels. In Australia and North America, LG modules although more expensive than other brands, are very popular.
LG Solar’s testing lab is the first manufacturing lab in the solar industry to be certified by all four major certification institutions (TÜV Rheinland, Intertek, Uderwriters Laboratories and DVE).
LG panels are manufactured under an ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) regime, and multiple tests are undertaken to ensure LG panels are designed and built for a 25 year life span under real world conditions of use. LG solar panels are subjected to a wide range of tests before being released into the market. LG performs the following tests on its panels.
Individual Materials: To ensure that LG solar panels function properly in terms of their component interaction, individual parts, such as wafers, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) film, glass and backing film, undergo stringent testing.
Material Test: In order to eliminate premature material fatigue, LG tests its panels for their weather resistance in wet and cold conditions.
Mechanical Load Test: LG tests its solar panels for their resistance to mechanical loads. A sophisticated mechanical load test monitors whether LG solar panels can resist adverse conditions such as wind, snow and ice.
Hail Test: Hail is any type of solid precipitation. Solar panels have to be built to withstand hail 28mm to 140 km/hr. In LG’s hail test, balls of ice are fired at the panels then their performance is checked to ensure full functionality.
Flammability Test: LG's flammability test is designed to determine the ability of each solar panel to withstand fire or fire hazards.
Static Mechanical: LG builds its panels to withstand loads of up to 800 kg of snow/weight per panel; and durability to vibration and frame stress with weight on the panels.
Climatic Test with Solar Irradiance: LG developed this test to determine a solar panel’s performance after prolonged exposure to open air conditions.
Thermal cycling: Standard IEC test requirement is is 200 cycles at 85°C to -40°C. LG panels tested up to 90°C for 800 cycles.
Humidity Test: The IEC standard is 1000 hours tested at 85°C with 85% humidity, LG panels tested to 4000 hours with 85% humidity.
Hot spot: Two electroluminescence tests are carried out during production plus best practice cell matching and a special module design feature with precision build quality of very low tolerances in soldering precision all combine to minimize hot spot risks
Module Breakage Test: Stone chips, in particular, are a natural enemy of solar panels. LG’s module breakage test examines the panels’ resistance to stones and other objects that might hit the surface.
Maximum Output Test: After undergoing the various “environmental impact tests,” LG subjects each module to a maximum output test. The panel must consistently reach maximum output to pass this test.
LG Solar decided to test its panels against some other high quality European panels, in one of the harshest testing regimes to replicate extreme and prolonged weather conditions. The same panels are sent through a combination: Damp Heat Test (2000 hours); Thermal Cycle Test (400 cycles); Humidity/Freeze test (40 cycles) Result, after such accelerated degradation: LG panels still generated 95% output, and thus passed the IEC benchmark while European panels generated 87.3% output, and thus did not achieve the IEC benchmark. Source: Adelaide Eco South
LG makes only monocrystalline panels unlike many other manufacturers who make both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline N-type cells generally have greater efficiency and lower degradation compared to more common lower cost poly or polycrystalline P-type cells. Read about these two types of solar panel technologies and what makes monocrystalline panels more efficient than polycrystalline panels here.
LG makes two ranges of solar panels.
NeON R Series Solar Panels
NeON 2 Series Solar Panels
NeON R Series
The Neon R is the flagship series of LG Solar with efficiency ranging from 18.8 to 21.4%. They come with high grade IBC N-type cells used in its manufacture. They are constructed with a cell structure that eliminates electrodes on the front to decrease the possibility of shading and increase the potential for light absorption. They are also made with a streamlined award-winning design suitable for aesthetic integration into residential roofs.
The definitive feature of the panels in this range is that the n-type cells used in their manufacture have almost no boron. This leads to less LID (Light Induced Degradation) right after installation. LG offers eight different designs and specifications of its solar panels under three ranges under this series
The traditional NeOn R
The NeOn R ACe
The NeOn R Prime
The newest panels in this range incorporate a new AC module with an Enphase microinverter and wifi communications on board.
NeON 2 Series
The LG NeON 2, the bestselling of the two series, was launched to great fanfare in 2015. It came with an innovative busbar design which allowed LG’s monocrystalline cell to harvest greater electrical energy from available sunlight. LG's panels in this series are manufactured using a proprietary technology by LG, the Cello Technology. This innovative design is made up of 12 super thin busbars on the monocrystalline cells surface. The engineering behind the design facilitates improved light absorption occupying minimal surface area. Reducing electrical loss by increasing the number of electrical paths in the cell. The Cello Technology is by far one of the most significant and game-changing innovations in recent solar panel design history.
Cello is short for 'Cell connection with Electrically Low loss, Low stress and Optical absorption Enhancement'. Cello Technology™ incorporates the following features into every NeON® 2 module:
12 thin wires in each solar cell instead of the usual 3-5 busbars: Photons absorbed from sunlight have more pathways to enter to produce electrical current in NeON 2 cells. This also reduces vulnerability to power generation loss due to microcracks.
Circular wires: Innovative wires that help the cells absorb light more efficiently by scattering the light more effectively within the cells.
N-type solar cells that include almost no boron (B) – oxygen (O) pairs: The B-O pairs in the p-type cells used in many solar modules eliminate electrons that could be generating energy. The NeON 2 modules are made with N-type cells that are based on phosphorous. This means they experience almost no Light Induced Degradation (LID).
A double-sided cell structure: The double-sided cells enable NeON 2 modules to produce energy from both the front and back.
An improved aesthetic: When compared to modules that have larger, visible busbars, NeON 2 modules have a more uniform appearance – and NeON 2 Black modules are available with the all-black appearance most homeowners prefer.
The NeON 2 also incorporates a reinforced frame design that enables the modules to endure a front load of up to 5400 Pa and a rear load of up to 4000 Pa. This means the NeON 2 can handle about 112 Psf of snow load or 180 mph winds. Also, NeON 2 modules also perform well on hot, sunny days, when many solar modules tend to produce less energy.
The NeON 2 come in variants of designs specifications and range from 325W/ 330W / 335W / 340W.
LG guarantees full performance of its panels for 25 years. In the event of failure, LG panel would replace the panel. LG is one of the few panel brands that offer a 25-year warranty on its panels. Majority of brands offer only provide a 10-12 year product warranty period. This high warranty offering from LG shows the high level of confidence they have in their modules.
LG's performance warranty is also well above average with a minimum 90.08% retained capacity after 25 years on the Neon 2 and an impressive 90.8% on the Neon R.
The efficiency of a solar panel is how well a solar panel will perform its function of capturing sunshine and converting it into useful electricity. A high-efficiency solar panel will produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size in the same conditions.
The efficiency of LG solar panels varies depending on the specific model. On the lower end, LG panels have approximately 18.4% efficiency, while premium LG solar PV products can operate with as much as 22.0% efficiency. This puts them close to the highest positions in the efficiency charts of solar panels. (Only Sunpower panels have higher efficiency ratings than LG panels.) This range is ideal for many home solar systems.
LG panels are highly rated by customers, dealers and installers alike not only for their impressive aesthetically-pleasing design and construction but also for the construction quality, detail and finish which are of the highest standards possible anywhere globally.
LG Solar is a premium brand and by far more expensive than their non-premium counterparts. In 2017, LG became market share No.1 in the United State’s residential solar market. In Australia, it is regarded as the number one choice in panels. LG solar panels, though by far more expensive has very few competitors in the industry that can compete with the quality of its solar modules, service and reliability.
LG has service, repair and after-sales centres and shops in almost all the major cities in Nigeria. This means easier access to warranty claims and post-purchase services. It therefore receives a 4.8 stars rating from us. As always, SolarKobo helps its clients make the best choice in all solar electricity products.
Update: LG To Exit the Solar Panel Market
On 22 February, 2022, LG Electronics announced that it will be exiting the global solar panel manufacturing business. The company’s exit is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. In the meantime, solar panel production will continue until the second quarter so as to keep inventory for future service support. Increased material and logistics costs, as well as severe supply constraints, were cited as the main reasons behind the decision. LG says it will however, shift its focus to energy storage systems and home energy management.
Considering the position that LG occupies in the solar industry, this comes as a significant loss for the solar world. At this time last year, another solar panel giant, Panasonic announced its departure from the market, saying it will subcontract and outsource the manufacturing of its solar panels. SunPower made a similar decision in 2020.
These three brands are considered the premium brands of solar panels. LG's decision is unlike that of Panasonic and SunPower. The loss of the LG brand represents a major blow for the solar world.