The very best Solar panel ever seen - by Nigel Morris

NeON 2 - best panel ever seen

I’ve been around solar panels for more than twenty years and I’ve seen a thing or two during that time.

Here at RoofJuice, our team have installed thousands of systems around the country, so we have hands on experience too.

I have also been fortunate to work for several solar manufacturers giving me great insight into what is involved in making great products, participated in the development of new ones and helped deploy hundreds of thousands of panels around the world.

So, when Korean company LG announced their latest “ LG NeON™ 2 ” panel I must admit I didn’t pay huge attention. Sure it’s one of the most powerful panels you can buy at 315 Watts. Yep, it’s got some very hi tech features. I admit, the all black construction and new construction adds a really clean look.

But it’s just another high performance solar panel that’s presumably priced at a massive premium, right?

Wrong.

Efficiency and value

In an increasing number of situations, customers come to us looking for brands they can trust, a good balance between price and performance and in ever more cases, a smart solution that can handle complicated roofs without spoiling the look of their home.

When I took another look at the new LG NeON™ 2 recently, I must admit I rang LG to confirm what I was looking at – it seemed almost too good to be true.

When it comes to solar panels, ultimately, if you can squeeze more Watts out of a given area then we all win. Manufacturers use fewer resources to make a panel and homes use less roof space and less time to install; it really is that simple.

However, until recently the cost of squeezing the extra performance out of high efficiency panels meant that it was hard to justify the cost. LG’s NeON™ 2 panels cost a little more but the massive premiums of yesterday are long gone so now it really does make sense to go for the best.

LG also provided us with two sets data from test sites that proves in real field conditions just how much extra power these new NeON™ panels produce. The data comes from two separate test sites; one established by LG ( but installed and monitored independently) and the other which was set up by a solar retailer. Both provided very similar results and use high quality equipment, producing normalised outputs. In the best case, the LG NeON panels were producing a very significant 10.68% more energy and in every case the NeON produced more energy than every other panel.

A summary of the results to date is below.

performance ratio when compared to LG NeON

The technical bit

So what is the “magic sauce” that LG have used to make these panels so good?

You can read a longer version of what they have done here , but the short version is this:

  • Instead of just two or three connections on and between the cells, LG uses twelve. This means more power, less losses and more efficient collection of electrons.
  • Secondly, they redesigned the interconnection on the surface of the cell (called “tabbing or “ribbons”) so they can absorb more light.
  • Thirdly, they make the back of the cell light absorbent too. Light can be reflected around the cell and reflected onto the back and front, improving performance.
  • Fourth, all solar cells degrade over time. The use of 12 interconnections means that degradation induced effects are minimised and more energy is collected, despite the gradual decline in performance over time.
  • Fifth, they virtually eliminated Light Induced Degradation (LID) which is a natural phenomenon in all solar panels. LG have virtually eliminated the “Boron/Oxygen pair” within the cells which is one of the leading causes of LID.
  • Sixth, the result of many of these subtle improvements is that under low light and high temperature conditions, performance is better than conventional cells.

Interestingly, the cell interconnection (tabbing) is something that has been a huge focus of manufacturer’s for decades. Tabbing has historically been one of the weakest links in panels because they (effectively) shade the cell and are a major source of warranty failures. In the old days (and even today in low quality solar panels) these interconnections were hand soldered, creating a raft of problems. The pressure of soldering irons could crack cells, too much heat could cause them to bow as the solder cooled and so on. If this connection fails is causes a hot spot that can destroy a solar panel very quickly. LG use all their expertise from highly sophisticated automatic electronics assembly to get this process right and leverage every millwatt of power possible.

You can read the detailed presentation on these benefits here.

The upshot

Pretty much all of us would choose the very products we could buy if money was no object. We all want great performance, superior reliability and great looks no matter what the product is.

Take a look at what’s for sale in Australia (and beyond) and you will quickly realise that this panel really is one of the best that money can buy. It has won a swag of awards, has an extended warranty and combines every one of the latest solar construction technologies to produce outstanding performance backed by the biggest brand in solar in the world. I also really like that LG have put their money where their mouth is – they have (an unclaimed) $10,000 prize up for grabs for anyone who can beat their performance in a similar test!

After looking closely at this issue, we really encourage you to take a good look at the LG NeON™ 2 panels from LG; we really are confident that the price to performance issue has been addressed and you can now get the dream combination. We’ve seen some great solar panels over the decades but so far, this has to rate as just about the best solar panel we have ever seen.

Don’t forget to ask our sales team about our Spring into Solar Sale, featuring LG NeON™ panels !