Solar panels are the most fundamental part of every solar system. In this article, we will discuss two of the most prominent solar panel manufacturers in the market: LG Solar and SunPower.
LG had been in the solar industry for 30 years, conducting industry-leading research and developing cutting-edge solar innovations. Note, however, that LG Solar has recently ceased the production of solar panels by mid-year 2022, which is quite surprising as LG was one of the leading manufacturers of premium, high-quality, high-performance solar panels.
Sunpower, on the other hand, has countless breakthroughs throughout its 40 years in the solar industry. Throughout the length of this article, we will look into the similarities and differences between the solar panels offered by both companies according to the following:
- Build Quality
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Product Line
LG Solar and SunPower both offer premium solar panels that have gone through stringent testing. Both have built a reputation of spearheading world-class solar research in order to provide customers with quality renewable energy solutions.
LG Solar exclusively manufactured all of their solar panels. LG solar panels were largely based on N-type monocrystalline cells that have higher efficiency and longer lifespan. However, LG started manufacturing a more affordable line of solar panels built on the lower cost P-type monocrystalline cells in order to stay relevant on the market.
You can find LG’s various solar panel offerings below:
|Panel Series||Power Rating||Efficiency Rating|
|Neon R Series||360W to 380W||22.0%||LG’s flagship solar panels|
|Neon 2 Series||340W to 420W||21.4%||LG’s best-selling solar panels|
|Neon H Series||360W to 425W||20.6%||LG’s upgraded version of Mono X Plus|
|Mono X Plus Series||335W to 370W||19.8%5 - 21.1%||LG’s most affordable solar panels|
SunPower also manufactures its own solar panels. SunPower solar panels use IBC cells with front-mounted busbars as opposed to standard monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells. The back side of the solar cells are lined with a fine grid of N-type silicon conductors. These N-type silicon conductors reduce shade coverage, thus increasing the solar panels’ efficiency.
You can find SunPower’s various solar panel offerings below:
|Panel Series||Power Rating||Efficiency Rating|
|E Series||340W to 360W||20.4%||SunPower’s most affordable solar panels|
|X Series||370W to 400W||22.8%||SunPower’s cost-effective solar panels|
|A Series||390W to 415W||22%||SunPower’s powerful solar panels for residential use|
|M Series||420W to 440W||22.8%||SunPower’s most efficient solar panels|
370W to 390W (residential panels)
405W to 420W (commercial panels)
475W to 500W (utility-sized panels)
|20.4%||SunPower’s highest-performing solar panels|
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Efficiency
The efficiency of a solar panel measures how much energy it produces compared to how much energy it absorbs from the sun. When your solar panels are efficient, you’ll be able to generate enough electricity for your home. Standard solar panel models have efficiency ranging from 15% to 20%. Solar panels with efficiency of 15% or lower means they perform poorly, while 20% above means that the solar panels are highly efficient.
Another factor to consider when looking into solar panels’ efficiency is their nominal power or wattage. The panel's wattage rating indicates how many watt-hours it can generate in a single hour in full, direct sunlight. Given that these figures represent the outcome of laboratory experiments, it is important to note that your panel is unlikely to generate these exact figures consistently. These ballpark figures, however, will give you some idea of what you’re looking at in terms of panel efficiency.
LG Solar’s Neon series had a maximum efficiency rating of 22% and a maximum power rating of 380W. The company's least efficient panels—Mono X Plus—had a maximum efficiency rating of 19.8% and a maximum power rating of 370W. Overall, wattage ratings of their product line were between 335W-425W.
SunPower's X-Series and their Maxeon 3 model have a maximum efficiency rating of up to 22.8% and a maximum power rating of 370-400W. The company’s E and P-Series solar panels have a maximum efficiency rating of up to 20.4% and a maximum power rating of 300-400W. Other products under SunPower X-Series are generally used in commercial businesses, with maximum power ratings of 470W.
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Performance
The performance of solar panels is generally measured through their average lifespan and temperature coefficient.
Solar panel lifespan takes into account the slow reduction in your panels' energy production capacity over a period of time, as specified by the manufacturer. The slower your panels degrade, the more electricity they’re ultimately able to generate for you in the long-term.
Temperature coefficient, otherwise known as heat performance, measures the percentage decrease in energy output for each degree Celsius above 25°C/77°F that the panel reaches. Solar panels, like any other electronics, produce less energy as they warm up. And because solar panels tend to absorb a lot of heat, their temperature is typically much higher than the surrounding air temperature. Thus, knowing your solar panels’ temperature coefficient is important to help you predict your panels’ performance in extreme-heat weather.
LG Solar guaranteed that some of their panels (depending on what model you prefer) would have no more than 0.6% degradation each year. This means that their solar panels could maintain about 83.6%-90% of its production capacity after 25 years. LG solar panels had an average temperature coefficient of -0.30% per every degree Celsius over 25°C/77°F.
SunPower guarantees that most of their panels will have no more than 0.25% degradation per year. Their solar panels can retain about 92% of its energy production after 25 years. SunPower solar panels have an average temperature coefficient of -0.29% per every degree Celsius over 25°C/77°F.
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Build Quality
High-performance solar panels typically come with excellent build quality to ensure maximum dependability throughout its lifespan.
LG Solar panels were supported by extra-strength aluminum frames that were rated to have twice the strength than market average. To ensure that the panels were free from any structural defects such as microcracks, LG ran two EL flash tests during the manufacturing process. LG solar panels went through rigorous testing and meticulous quality control in the company’s world-class test facility, which was certified by 4 major testing laboratories: VDE, UL, TUV Rheinland, and Intertek.
SunPower panels, produced by the company’s manufacturing-arm Maxeon, are built using the company’s patented metal-foundation design that allows IBC cells to dissipate more heat and better withstand high-temperature conditions. This makes the panels less likely to develop hotspots and micro-cracks, consequently ensuring maximum reliability and long-term performance. Additionally, SunPower solar panels are produced with environmental sustainability in mind, winning PV Magazine's annual Sustainability Award.
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Warranty
While most solar panel manufacturers provide very limited product warranty, LG Solar and SunPower both carry extended product warranties and performance guarantees on every solar panel they produce.
A solar panel's product warranty ensures that, in the case of a malfunction, the manufacturer will replace or repair your solar panels at no additional cost to you. On the other hand, a solar panel’s performance guarantee provides assurance that your solar panels will be replaced for free if your panels fail to operate efficiently for a certain period as guaranteed by your manufacturer.
LG Solar provided a 25-year product warranty on their Neon series of panels. The company’s Mono X plus series had a 15-year product warranty. All of LG’s solar panels came with an impressive 25-year performance guarantee. LG’s Neon series was guaranteed to have a 90% nominal yield production, while their Mono X Plus series guaranteed an 87.9% nominal yield production after 25 years of use.
SunPower’s solar panels across all series come with a 25-year product warranty. The company also guarantees an average of 92% nominal yield production after 25 years on all their panels.
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: Cost
When choosing a solar panel for your solar system, cost is an important factor to take into account. The cost of a solar panel is determined by various factors such as the solar panel’s type, size, and brand. The total cost of your solar system, on the other hand, typically varies depending on the inverters, mounts, and other equipment you use on the installation.
LG Solar panels were generally priced between $2.46 and $3.38 per watt. This indicates that for a standard 6kW system, your gross cost would have been somewhere between $14,760 and $20,280. Though this price range is higher than the industry standard, it is worth noting that LG panels performed exceedingly better than others with more competitive prices.
Meanwhile, SunPower solar panels have an average cost of about $2.47 to $3.74 per watt. A 6kW standard system, therefore, will have a gross cost ranging from $14,820 to $22,440. SunPower’s highly efficient solar panels justify the company’s premium prices on the market.
When you consider the total savings you get by using solar power over time, spending over $15,000 to $20,000 for solar panel installation isn’t at all unreasonable. Note that these cost estimates have yet to take into account any solar incentive grants that you could be eligible for.
LG Solar Panels vs. SunPower: The Bottomline
LG Solar and SunPower have proven to be two of the most dependable solar providers that offer highly-efficient solar solutions. Both companies produce solar panels that come with innovative solar power technologies, high-quality performance, and reliable build quality.
LG Solar offered premium solar panels at reasonable prices. Given their solar panels’ excellent build quality, highly-efficient performance, and extensive warranties, it makes sense that LG received very high ratings from different solar testing laboratories. It’s unfortunate that LG decided to stop manufacturing their industry-leading solar panels.
For the past few years, an increasing number of manufacturers have successfully produced budget-friendly solar panels that competitively matched the performance and efficiency of LG’s solar panels, and LG was unable to provide more affordable prices for their top-tier solar solutions. Still, LG Solar had set a gold standard for solar panel production.
SunPower, on the other hand, is widely known for pioneering advanced solar power technologies. SunPower offers solar panels with exceptional efficiency, power, and performance ratings. SunPower solar panels come with industry-leading materials and technology that guarantee long-term performance, reliability, and sustainability.
Although SunPower’s premium solar panels may seem pricier compared to other market offerings, the overall positive feedbacks from satisfied customers can attest to the uncompromising performance of SunPower’s solar panels. Since LG solar is no longer on the market, anyone looking for top-tier solar solutions should definitely look into SunPower and its wide array of solar offerings.