SunPower Solar Panels vs. LG Solar Panels - 2018 Update

By Hannah Glenn
13 February 2018
What's Better - Sunpower of LG Solar Panels?

SunPower and LG are two of the top companies making solar panels. You’ve probably come across them in your research, and you’re wondering which will work better for your home. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of these solar industry rivals.

Cost of SunPower vs. LG Solar Panels

On average, Pick My Solar sees SunPower’s prices come in at around $0.57 per Watt (W) more than LG. This can add up to a more than $3,000 difference for a 6,000W rooftop solar system.

Here are some differences in solar panel reviews between SunPower and LG.

SunPower vs. LG – Efficiency and Nominal Power

The amount of energy converted from sunlight to electricity determines solar panel efficiency.

SunPower has traditionally cornered the market on efficiency. They even set a new record with panels measuring 24.1 percent efficiency in the lab. Their average efficiency is around 20.6 percent, while LG solar panels typically average about 18.8 percent.

However, LG is striving to catch up to SunPower in 2018 with its new LG NeON R panels reaching up to 20.8 percent efficiency. By using technology similar to SunPower, LG just might be closing in on SunPower’s edge.

You can learn more about solar panel efficiency in our SolarBook Guide.

Nominal power, the max DC power output of a panel under standardardized testing conditions, is another factor in the number of panels you might need. It’s another area where LG is catching up to SunPower.

SunPower’s modules fall between 327W‒360W, and LG’s have typically fallen between 275W‒320W. But LG’s new residential solar star, the NeON R panel, comes in at 360W.

Your available roof space and how much energy you need will be the biggest determining factors. If you don’t have much space, you might want fewer, more powerful panels. If you have lots of roof space but upfront cost is a major consideration, then more, lower-efficiency panels could work just as well for a better price point.

Is your home solar friendly?

SunPower vs. LG – Degradation

Degradation refers to how much solar panel production decreases over time. SunPower leads here.

SunPower guarantees that after 25 years, its panels will still produce 92 percent of initial output. LG’s NeON R panels have improved their 25-year guarantee from 83.6 percent to 87.0 percent. It’s an improvement for LG, but SunPower still pulls ahead in this field.

SunPower vs. LG – Home Solar Panels and How They Look

As far as looks go, SunPower and LG both strive for a pleasing aesthetic. They offer a range of minimal black models. The size of your roof and your energy needs play into how much of your roof space will need these more discrete additions.

SunPower vs. LG – Bankability

Think of bankability as your ability to bank on your solar panel warranty, say 15 or 20 years down the line. If you have a 25-year warranty, but the company you have the warranty with goes out of business in 12 years, then you’re out of luck.

As a huge company operating since 1958, LG has notable bankability. It claims long-standing success in the production of a variety of electronics and appliances. Such an anchor in the industry is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Founded in 1985, SunPower is a younger company. It’s inherently the more unpredictable choice in the still relatively young solar industry. That being said, they are a juggernaut in the industry, and solar isn’t going anywhere.

But even giants can meet an untimely financial demise. LG has a hefty insurance policy to ensure you’re not left in the lurch should they go out of business, whereas SunPower asks its customers to trust in its high-quality products and managerial prowess. That might be enough, but it’s impossible to say.

Will the Solar Tariffs Affect SunPower and LG Solar Pricing?

In a word, maybe.

SunPower is likely to be affected. Though it’s a U.S. company, SunPower has manufacturing facilities in Mexico and the Philippines. Foreign tariffs could potentially increase the company’s internal pricing, which could carry over to consumers.

LG also stands to lose by paying tariffs on imports of their solar panels. This could end up on consumer price tags as well. As a Korean company, LG imports most of its product, though it does have a new manufacturing plant in Clarksville, Tennessee. Producing solar panels stateside could lessen the impact, although it’s not clear yet how much module production will actually happen stateside or how much of a difference it would make.

It’s important to note that while the tariffs may hinder the solar industry in some ways, they won’t damage it irreparably.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts the tariffs could increase the cost of residential systems by about 3 percent. However, prices probably won’t skyrocket beyond what’s reasonable. Read about what Pick My Solar's Head of Business Development, Kyle Cherrick, has to say about the solar tariffs.

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Get Help Picking Your Panels

We hope you found this panel review useful! When you’re ready to start seriously shopping for solar panels, don’t take a stab in the dark. Let Pick My Solar curate a comprehensive quote list for you and help you break down the factors that matter. That way you can get just the right panels at just the right price.

This article was updated 2/22/18 to adjust LG's NeON R 25 year guarantee from 86% to the correct 87% initial output.

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