LG Solar Improves Warranties And Gives Mono X Panel The Boot

LG NeON2 warranty

LG’s more affordable panel range, the NeON2, has gone from a 12 to 15 year product warranty.

I like high quality panels.  I really do.  If a panel is well made, reliable, and comes with a full replacement warranty that’s something I appreciate.  Seeing panels go up on roofs that have a decent chance of lasting longer than I will makes me feel positive about the future.  Obviously not my future, but the future in general.

A major provider of high quality panels in Australia is South Korea’s LG Solar.  I only have good things to say about them.

No wait, that’s not true.

In addition to good things I have a couple of things to say that are neutral.  But neutral is not bad and I have neutral things to say about every solar panel.

The good news I have is:

  • LG have increased the full replacement product warranty of LG NeON 2 panels from 12 years to 15 years.
  • LG have improved the performance warranty of the LG NeON 2. They promises panels will keep at least 86% of their original rated capacity after 25 years rather than 83.6%.
  • The LG NeON R panel, which comes with a 25 year full replacement product warranty, has had its performance warranty increased to a minimum of 87% of its original rated output after 25 years.
  • LG Solar tells me the maximum rated capacity of the LG NeON R panel has been increased to 365 watts.  But while they have sent me an updated datasheet the one available on their Australian site only shows a maximum of 360 watts.
  • LG Solar tells me they have lowered their prices by almost 20% over the past 15 months, which is a much faster drop than the average panel.

The neutral news I have to tell you is:

  • LG Solar’s 300 watt Mono X panel will no longer be sold in Australia.

Full Replacement Warranty

LG Solar provides a full replacement product warranty for their panels.  This means if one fails they will send someone around to replace it and it won’t cost you a cent.  Or at least it won’t if you live in or near a metropolitan area.  If you live out bush you can be charged a traveling fee.

Offering a full replacement warranty is exceptional and there are only a couple of other companies I am aware of with them.  Most will just give you a replacement panel when one fails under its product warranty and let you deal with the cost of installing it, while others may only offer you a refund for what they say is the current market value of a panel.1

I used to feel sorry for LG Solar because I knew many people would only look at the length of product warranties and not realize what LG offers is considerably better than nearly all other companies.  But now the product warranties for the two panels they offer in Australia are 15 and 25 years it will be more obvious they offer something special.

Performance Warranties Improve

LG Solar’s performance warranties, or linear output warranties as they call them, used to promise their performance wouldn’t fall below 83.6% after 25 years, as this screenshot from their Australian site shows:

While they have updated their datasheets, this old information is still on their Australian site today, so while I haven’t exactly been greased lightning getting this news to you, at least I’m faster than LG Solar.

Their new performance warranties are for a minimum output of 86% of original capacity for LG NeON 2 panels after 25 years and 87% for LG NeON R panels.  This shows LG solar is very confident their panels are durable enough to only suffer minor deterioration over time.

LG Solar Admits Their Performance Warranty Is Weird

One thing almost all panel manufacturers have not been clear on is if performance warranties apply to solar panels that have completely failed rather than just ones that still work but have only had their performance degraded.  My non-expert interpretation of Australian Consumer Law is of course it bloody well applies!  If a company guarantees a certain level of performance and a panel has zero performance then it hasn’t met that level.  But manufacturers don’t necessarily agree and LG Solar is the only one I know of that makes it clear in their warranty document the performance warranty doesn’t apply to panels that don’t work at all

This means if you have an LG NeON 2 panel with a 25 year performance warranty and it completely fails after 16 years, then LG Solar may refuse to do anything about it because they say that is only covered by the product warranty which is for 15 years.2

It’s good that LG Solar is clear about how their performance warranty works instead of being extremely unclear like most manufacturers.  But while I’m no lawyer, I’m sure this won’t fly under Australian Consumer Law.  There is no mention of the strange warranty condition on their datasheets:

Because the exception is not made clear, I’m sure any reasonable person reading the information on the datasheet would conclude that a 25 year performance warranty applies to a panel that has no performance.  In Australia small print in the warranty document isn’t allowed to take away what the big print says.

The Best Thing About LG Solar’s Warranties

The best thing about LG Solar’s warranties is you are very unlikely to ever have to use them.  All the information I have says their panels are extremely reliable, so I think a reasonable person could conclude they are likely to operate without a problem for decades.

The LG Mono X Is Dead!  Long Live The LG NeON 2 And NeON R!

LG Solar has discontinued their 300 watt LG Mono X panel in Australia.  While some may mourn the passing of a fine panel, LG Solar told me they are concentrating on providing high efficiency panels in this country, with the LG NeON 2 being up to 19.6% efficient and the NeON R up to 21.1% efficient.  However, this is not shown in the datasheet currently available on their Australian site:

LG’s new datasheet is on the left compared to the one you can now download from LG Solar’s Australian site on the right.

If you have LG Mono X panels on your roof I don’t think there is any need for concern.  If one fails while covered by its product warranty I’m sure LG Solar won’t have a problem replacing it for you.  And if one completely fails when its product warranty is over but it is still covered by its performance warranty then hopefully they will still replace it for you without hesitating.

Premium Panels Come With A Premium

A tragic fact of life is high quality goods usually cost more than low quality ones.  This is definitely true for LG solar panels, but the good news is you won’t have to pay as much of a premium as you used to.  LG Solar tells me they have lowered their prices by almost 20% over the last 15 months, which is considerably better than the average fall for solar panels.

When a company gives me a figure like that I always wonder if it was cherry picked to make it look good, but even if this was it’s still a good thing.  When LG Solar told me about this price fall, being a suspicious, I mean curious person, I immediately checked what happened to exchange rates over that period and saw the the South Korean won has grown stronger.  So from LG Solar’s point of view they have really lowered prices for Australians.

Footnotes

  1. Note that while manufacturers may not include it in their written warranty, Australia’s Consumer Guarantees allow you to claim for consequential losses such as the cost of installation.
  2. You won’t have a problem if you have an LG NeON R panel as their product warranty is for 25 years which is the same length as their performance warranty.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. A better thing for panel manufacturer is to replace the Performance warranty with Performance Expectation
    because that what it is.

  2. I assume they didn’t also send you a bx of scotch or 10 panels to evaluate for 25 years (or any other things that might make you like them including lovely fact finding and impression gathering trips)

  3. Like the old ad used to say “tell them the price son”. So they have dropped the price. Why can’t the general public be told the price?

    • Good point: Including retail margin and GST, expect to pay approx:

      $1.25 per watt for the NeON2
      $1.32 per watt for NeON2 black
      $1.63 per watt for NeONR

      • Thanks Finn. I have been given a quote for LG Mono X which I am now told is being discontinued and the Longi LR6-60 280-300M. Are you able to give me the prices of the Longi panels and an idea of how they compare. I have been told they are LG equivalent.
        Thanks,
        Dave

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Hello Dave, Ronald here.

          I wouldn’t worry about getting LG Mono X panels because they are being discontinued. You’re not likely to have a problem with them.

          Longi panels have done very well in tests. If you are interested you can read a long Longi article I wrote here:

          https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/longi-solar-panels/

          Hopefully they will turn out to be extremely reliable panels but they’ve only had a significant presence in Australia for less than a year and so I would not call them the equivalent of LG panels which are a known quantity that have proven to be very reliable. But I would expect Longi panels to be considerably cheaper per watt.

  4. Hello Ron,

    I have 12 kW Solar installed at home. All panels are LG. I was wondering how you know which panel has failed…even in the smaller systems. Cheers.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi there,

      If your system uses microinverters or optimizers they allow you to monitor individual panels and let you pin point a problem. But if if you have a string inverter, which is the most common type, then you’ll need to get someone to inspect your system to find which panel is at fault. This is part of the reason why I recommend avoiding panels that aren’t tier one or don’t have a reputation for reliability, as just diagnosing faults can be expensive.

  5. Well said Dave. Only women have a right to play coy.
    The above figures, then, suggest to me that one would do better to buy (properly investigated) cheaper panels for around 70 cpw and take advantage of (a) the warranty and (b) the expectation that they’ll last more than half as long as the products cited.
    Long experience tells me that if a panel lasts, say, 12 months, they’ll be producing as well as the ‘best’ of them. At worst you’ll need to replace them years down the track, meaning you’ll pay no more for BOTH sets of panels than you would have if you’d paid twice as much to begin with. Moreover, new el-cheapos should be better-performing than worn expensive ones..AND the cost-per-watt a few years down the track will be less than it is today.
    Factor in, too, that the most expensive panels can fall victim to ‘acts of god’ as easily the cheapest ones.
    ….though I suppose you could put them in the shed for safekeeping……

  6. So how do these high performance panels from LG compare with Sunpower panels?

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