LG Solar has recently announced that it will completely cease the production of solar panels by June 30, 2022. This represents a significant loss in the solar energy space as LG was one of the leading manufacturers of premium, high-quality, high-performance solar panels.
Formerly known as Goldstar, LG was always at the forefront of solar technology advancement since the company started manufacturing solar modules in 2009. LG was a Bloomberg Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer that earned countless industry awards for its ultra-efficient solar technology, cutting-edge innovation, and industry leading warranties.
In this article, we will be taking a look back at LG’s long run in the industry by reviewing the company’s latest and, as it turns out, last solar panel offerings. We will be looking into the efficiency, performance, build quality, warranty, and pricing of LG’s fourth-generation solar panels.
LG Solar Panels: Product Line
LG manufactured all of their solar panels in-house. The company had fully-automated facilities in Gumi, South Korea, and Alabama, United States. In early 2022, the company released their fourth generation of solar panels.
LG built the reputation of being a trusted manufacturer of top-tier solar panels, and LG solar panels represented some of the best solar panels in the market, having held an unparalleled return rate of only 40 in 1 million.
While most solar manufacturers were producing affordable panels based on P-type monocrystalline cells, LG focused their efforts on producing premium panels based on N-type monocrystalline cells that have higher efficiency and longer lifespan. In order to stay competitive, however, LG started manufacturing a more affordable line of solar panels built on the lower cost P-type monocrystalline cells.
Neon R Series
The Neon R was LG’s flagship solar panel series. Neon R panels had a maximum efficiency of 22.0% and could generate up to 380W of power.
Neon R panels had the latest IBC technology that gave it better low light performance, very high efficiency, and extremely low degradation. Additionally, the LG Neon R panels had the best temperature coefficient and had excellent performance even in hot weather conditions.
Neon 2 Series
The Neon 2 was LG’s bestselling solar panel series. Neon 2 panels had a maximum efficiency of 21.4% and could generate up to 370W of power.
Neon 2 panels used LG’s proprietary Cello technology that enabled solar absorption from both sides of the cell. LG’s Cello Technology was one of the most important innovations in solar panel design and was a winner of the Photovoltaic Innovation Award at the Intersolar Industry Event held in Germany.
Neon H Series
The Neon H shared a very similar design to most modern solar panels available in the market. Neon H panels solar panels had a maximum efficiency of 20.6% and could generate up to 385W of power.
Neon H panels were essentially an upgraded version of LG’s more affordable Mono X Plus panels; whereas the Mono X Plus panels used half-cut P-type monocrystalline cells, Neon H panels, instead, used half-cut N-type monocrystalline cells in order to effectively increase power and efficiency.
Mono X Plus Series
The Mono X Plus was LG’s only range of panels that used the more cost-effective P-type monocrystalline cells. Mono X Plus panels had a maximum efficiency of 21.1% and could generate up to 370W of power.
Mono X Plus panels were specifically designed for customers who want good-quality, budget-oriented solar panel options. Mono X Plus panels were made in China and were based on the emerging half-cut cell design that’s also offered by leading Chinese solar panel manufacturers, including Trina Solar, Jinko, and Longi Solar.
LG Solar Panels: Efficiency
Solar panel efficiency is one of the most objective ways to determine the quality of a solar panel. Solar panel efficiency refers to how well a panel can generate useful electricity from the amount of sunlight it captures. All things being equal and within the same conditions, solar panels that have high efficiency ratings produce more electricity than panels with lower efficiency ratings.
Most solar panels on the market today have efficiency ratings typically ranging from 15% to 20%. While LG panels had varied efficiency ratings depending on models, the company had always been an industry-leader in solar panel efficiency.
- Neon R panels had a maximum efficiency of 22.0%
- Neon 2 panels had a maximum efficiency of 21.4%
- Neon H panels solar panels had a maximum efficiency of 20.6%
- Mono X Plus panels had a maximum efficiency of 21.1%
LG's high-efficiency solar panels had allowed homes with limited roof space to generate all the electricity they needed to power their appliances.
LG Solar Panels: Performance
The temperature coefficient of a solar panel is another important metric that determines its quality. Solar panels generally perform at their best when they are operating in an ideal temperature of 77° F (25° C). The temperature coefficient is a measurement of how well your solar panel will perform when it's forced to operate in less-than-ideal temperature due to extreme-heat weather conditions..
Temperature coefficient is an essential consideration when deciding on a solar panel, as solar panels will almost certainly be exposed to exceedingly hot weather conditions over the course of each year. A lower temperature coefficient—which is ideally as close to zero as possible—often indicates a high-performance solar panel.
Most solar panels on the market have an average temperature coefficient that range from -0.38% to -0.45%. LG’s solar panels offered above-average temperature coefficient ratings ranging from -0.30% to -0.35%.
LG Solar Panels: Build Quality
The build quality of a solar panel is another important consideration as it often indicates reliability and long-term performance. LG solar panels had a clean and uniform appearance out of the box. LG solar panels were supported by double-wall aluminum frames that were nearly two times stronger than the industry average.
LG also subjected their solar panels to two EL flash tests during production to ensure that they were free of micro-cracks or any other defects. The LG test laboratory—where the solar panels went through stringent testing and quality control—were certified by the 4 major testing laboratories: VDE, UL, TUV Rheinland, and Intertek.
LG solar panels rated high for corrosion and ammonia resistance, allowing them to be installed in coastal areas with elevated levels of salt mist. Additionally, LG panels had been rated as a top performer in DNV GL’s yearly PV Module Reliability Scorecard Report.
LG Solar Panels: Warranty
A solar panel’s product warranty guarantees that your solar panels will be replaced or repaired by the manufacturer, at no cost to you, in the event of an equipment failure.
While the majority of solar panel manufacturers only provide 10-12 year product warranty, LG provided an impressive 25-year product warranty on their Neon R, Neon 2 and Neon H series of panels. LG provided a 15-year product warranty on their Mono X plus series of solar panels.
A solar panel’s performance warranty, on the other hand, guarantees that your solar panels will be replaced by the manufacturer, at no cost to you, if they fail to generate enough power or if they fail to operate at the efficiency rating that they were originally designed for.
LG provided an industry-leading 25-year performance guarantee on all of their solar panels. For 25 years, LG guaranteed a 90% nominal yield production on their Neon R, Neon 2 and Neon H series of panels. The company guaranteed an 87.9% nominal yield production on their Mono X Plus series of panels after 25 years of use.
LG Solar Panels: Cost
Cost is a major consideration when deciding on a solar panel and when investing in a residential solar system. It is important to understand that the total cost of your system will vary depending on the inverters, mounts, and other equipment you use in your installation.
LG solar panels had an average price range of roughly $2.46 and $3.38 per watt. This means that your gross cost for a 6 kW system would have been anywhere between $14,760 and $20,280, which is a little steeper than the market average. However, LG panels were well-worth their premium price tags, considering that LG panels were top-tier solar solutions that significantly outperformed other more affordable solar panels on the market in nearly all of the performance metrics discussed above.
Spending $15,000 to $20,000 for solar panel installation isn’t unreasonable, but a lot of homeowners actually manage to keep the cost down significantly. There are plenty of state and federal grants, tax credits, and other solar incentives that could help you reduce upfront costs—including a 26 percent federal solar tax credit.
LG Solar Panels: The Bottomline
It’s unfortunate that LG decided it was necessary for the company to cease the production of their industry-leading solar panels, as the market for premium solar solutions had been completely dwarfed by the demand for budget-oriented solar offerings.
Over the course of the last few years, a growing number of manufacturers have started to successfully produce economical solar panels that come close to the efficiency and performance of the pricier LG panels. Ultimately, LG couldn't offer more competitive pricing for their top-shelf solar panels.
At the end of the day, LG solar panels are premium solar solutions that come at a premium price. LG panels are highly regarded by homeowners, dealers and installers alike, and it’s difficult to find any fault in LG’s best-in-class solar panel technology and world-class production standards.