LG announced last month that it would stop manufacturing solar panels by the end of Q2 this year and shift its company focus to energy products like its popular LG RESU energy storage system. LG’s 160 employees and 60 contract workers at its 550-MW solar panel assembly facility in Huntsville, Alabama, will be assisted with finding work within its other business lines.
The Alabama plant began manufacturing panels in 2019 and likely never reached its full capacity. The COVID-19 pandemic limited production in 2020, and supply chain issues further weakened output in 2021. LG cited increased material and logistics costs, as well as severe supply constraints, as the main reasons behind the decision to stop solar panel manufacturing.
As a large panel supplier to the U.S. residential and small commercial markets, it’s not surprising that many installers and customers have questions about their completed and contracted projects. Solar Power World spoke with David Chang, LG Electronics USA’s head of solar panel sales, to find some answers.
SPW: When should solar installers stop quoting LG solar panels? At what point does the LG module supply cease?
LG: We’re advising installers to only quote LG panels if they have access to inventory.
Production at our Huntsville, Alabama, facility will continue into the second quarter and, subject to supply, we’ll continue production to fulfill orders through May. After that, we expect there will be enough inventory in the distribution channel to fulfill installers’ sold jobs well into the third quarter.
Throughout this time, we’re working with our distributor and installer partners to minimize disruption as much as possible.
What guidance can you provide your dedicated LG installers when searching for a new solar panel brand?
While I can’t recommend another brand, I urge our distributor and installer partners to consider the factors LG values and delivers with each of our energy products and services. These include: Strong research and development, high efficiency, aesthetics, a warranty the company will stand behind, supply chain vetting and quality assurance.
For future warranty claims that may need replacements, is LG keeping modules on hand?
LG will keep replacement modules on hand for a number of years. If replacements or repairs aren’t available, LG Electronics will provide product support pursuant to the limited warranty via pro-rated refund. LG will continue to honor the limited warranty for each product, and we’ll support customers for years to come.
Is there any potential to LG restarting panel production if solar manufacturing legislation is passed?
LG’s decision to exit the solar panel business and focus on other energy-related businesses was based on a thorough review of ongoing supply chain issues and rising material and logistical costs. Regardless of what happens on the policy front, this decision isn’t subject to change.
Could a different company take over the LG solar panel facility in Huntsville?
There’s no scenario where a different company could take over the Huntsville facility. Solar panel assembly has been located in one of the four buildings on our Huntsville campus. That building will be repurposed to support other growing LG businesses.
Solar panel manufacturers supplying the U.S. market react to LG’s exit and provide guidance on how to access their products
- Martin Pochtaruk, president, Heliene
Residential installers impacted by LG’…….