LG Energy Storage Solution (ESS)
We were recently invited by LG Electronics, the parent company to LG Chem and LG Solar to become certified for their new Energy Storage Solution. You may already know LG Solar produces solar modules, and LG Chem produces storage batteries, these are both subsidiary companies to LG, and now LG Electronics will produce an all in one Solar inverter for the LG Chem and LG Solar. To really understand why this is so important we need to backtrack a little to help you understand.
LG Chem has been producing a storage battery for several years now in partnership with SolarEdge Technologies, an inverter manufacture. This combination was referred to as an LG Chem StorEdge system. Many installers, included ourselves, loved the concept but it was so poorly implemented, that we quickly stopped offering the option to customers.
What happen was SolarEdge produced the inverter, and LG Chem produced the battery, but in order for the two to communicate you had to use third party controllers, relays, transformers, and many other components to really make the two systems operate, and when it was all said and done it was a very unappealing setup, here’s a photo of what I’m talking about. Now, SolarEdge did try to produce some of the components needs, but it was inconsistent with distributors have these components in stock, making it even harder for installer to properly install the systems.
Another issue that arose frequently was there being so many different manufactures that when the system went offline, it was very time consuming to troubleshoot and figure out what the issue was, and who to file a warranty claim with.
Fast forward to 2019, LG Electronica has listened to the many complaints and we mean many complaints from installers and customers, and they’ve decided to resolve the issues once and for all with their ESS system. LG will produce the Inverter, controllers, transformers, and anything else we may need. Here is a photo of all the components, all under one warranty. As of the meeting with LG it will be simple and straightforward for installers and customers. The only thing we don’t have as of this time is pricing, it is expected to be released in a few weeks so we should have an update on that later on. But let’s get back to the entire system.
Now, this is LG’s first generation all in one system so there are still some bugs to be figured out, for example, LG said this system can be retro fitted to an existing solar system, but as you can see in the diagram, when you use the system during a grid outage the batteries won’t be able to recharge. Not saying there aren’t some creative ways to get around this, that we discussed with LG, but were hoping LG comes up with a tried-and-true solution before the final product release.
A clear advantage for new customers though is you can have your entire solar plus storage system warrantied by LG. This means you’ll receive a 25-year warranty on your solar panels, a 10-year warranty on your battery, and a 10-year warranty on you inverter. We did ask if LG would offer extended warranties and they didn’t have a clear answer at this time. My guess is they will more than likely offer an extended warranty on the inverter after the first generation.
There were some other things LG failed to touch on. First, LG gave no reference to the minimum or maximum solar system size for the 7.6kW inverter, this is the only inverter option unless you’re retro fitting then there’s a separate 5kW inverter just for the battery. Second, the maximum backup power available during a grid outage, looking over the spec sheets we don’t see a clear answer to this, and the engineers we met with didn’t have a clear answer at this time, but would be getting back to us about it in the coming weeks.
Setting these small issues aside, we believe this is going to be a great product for customers that have been waiting for an affordable option to powering their home with solar and a battery system. Like I previously had mentioned we don’t have pricing just yet, but LG did say that it would be more affordable than Pika Energy and sonnenBatterie. We’re hoping to see a price point around or between $7 to $10 thousand, if LG is able to achieve this price point, Tesla will truly have some real compilation as LG will be able to keep up with demand, and not have customers waiting 8+ months just for a battery system.
I don’t have much else to touch on regarding the system until LG releases more information in the next few weeks, but we will be comparing the system to a Tesla Powerwall 2, Pika Energy Harbor Plus Backup System, and a sonnen Battery system