Let’s face it – warranties aren’t the easiest (or most gripping) documents to read. There are often a lot of details and fine print included that can be hard to digest, leaving many to wonder: what does the warranty actually cover? Am I vulnerable? Anything I might be missing?
To make it as easy as possible, we’ve read warranty documents for the top solar battery manufacturers, talked to them to confirm what is and isn’t included, and plan to point out the most important aspects of each in a series of articles. This article reviews the warranty offering from a world renowned electronics manufacturer: LG Chem.
Highlights of LG Chem’s warranty
- Based on battery lifetime (10 years), or 22.4 megawatt-hours (MWh) throughput
- Covers replacements and at no cost to you
- Guarantees 60% end of warranty capacity Resu and 70% for the Resu Prime
Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare solar-plus-storage options from local installers.
Quick overview: LG Chem’s history and warranty
LG Chem was founded in 1947 and is a subsidiary of “Life’s Good” (LG) electronics. LG Chem manufactures chemicals and plastics used to create components of different electronics as well as various battery products. In addition to home backup batteries, LG Chem also manufactures electric vehicle (EV) battery cells for General Motors and Tesla. LG Chem first began manufacturing advanced batteries in 1991, making it one of the most experienced companies in the solar storage industry. LG Chem has several battery back-up products for commercial and residential use – you can learn more about their residential offerings on the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide. Their most popular battery for residential installations is their LG Chem Resu 10H.
LG Chem's battery warranty at a glance
|CATEGORY||LG CHEM'S COVERAGE||INDUSTRY STANDARD|
|Product and performance||10 years,* plus a throughput clause||10 years, plus a cycles or throughput clause|
|End of warranty capacity||60% at year 10 for Resu and 70% for Resu Prime||60% at year 10|
|Labor for repairs/ replacements||No||No|
|Shipping of parts||Yes||No|
*LG Chem’s warranty period begins when the system is installed or 12 months after the battery was manufactured, whichever comes first.
LG Chem’s product and performance warranty
A battery manufacturer’s product and performance warranty covers the integrity and output of the equipment itself – if your battery system has a defect or experiences unreasonable degradation, that should be covered by your product warranty. If there’s a defect with your battery, you or your installer should be able to tell that something is amiss and fix the problem immediately–often before the battery is ever installed. Regardless, it’s good to consider products with longer warranties for the peace of mind it provides.
LG includes a 10 year product warranty for all of their batteries. You can review and compare LG’s batteries in the EnergySage Buyer’s Guide.
You’ll also notice that many battery warranties will include a clause suggesting that your term may be cut short depending on your use of the battery – this is where cycles and throughput come into play.
Every time you drain and charge your battery, it’s called a “cycle”. Like the battery inside your cell phone, your solar battery will gradually lose its ability to hold a full charge the more you use it. Because of this, some manufacturers guarantee a minimum number of cycles as part of their warranty agreement. But read this line carefully: oftentimes, manufacturers will guarantee a fixed product term OR a minimum number of cycles, whichever comes first. This means if you hit the warrantied number of cycles before your battery hits the end of its warranty period, it could end your warranty term. The confusing part here is that manufacturers will sometimes define a “cycle” differently–i.e., how much your battery needs to be drained and charged for it to be considered a “cycle”?
LG does not include a minimum cycle number in their warranty, instead basing their warranty offering on throughput and the number of years that the battery has been in use.
Another clause that some manufacturers will put on their warranty pertains to throughput: the total energy a manufacturer expects the battery to deliver throughout its lifetime. Companies state these warranties in terms of megawatt-hours (MWh). For example, if your battery company provides a throughput warranty of 30 MWh, this means that the warranty is valid until the battery stores and delivers 30 MWh–or 30,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)–of energy. Similar to a cycle life warranty, throughput warranties typically only apply if your battery delivers a set amount of energy before its warranty period is up.
Throughput numbers will vary quite a bit depending on the overall storage capacity of your system. Additionally, if your battery system contains several different battery cells–or modules–within it, your warranty may state a throughput by cell (which you can multiply by number of cells to get total throughput). Their throughput warranty varies based on the capacity of the battery model. See the table in the next section for the warranted throughput by residential battery model.
LG Chem’s end of warranty capacity rating
In addition to providing cycle or throughput warranties, most manufacturers also promise a certain level of performance by the time your warranty is up. This often presents itself as an end of warranty capacity rating.
As you’re comparing the end of warranty capacity ratings across various batteries, higher percentages are better than lower percentage guarantees.
LG includes an end of capacity rating of 60% for their Resu 10H all of their batteries except for their Resu model and 70% for their Resu Prime models. You can check the end of warranty capacity ratings and throughput warranties for each residential model in the table below.
|RESU 10H||RESU PRIME 10H||RESU PRIME 16H|
|Initial usable capacity (kWh)||9.3||9.6||16|
|End of warranty capacity (kWh)||5.6||6.7||11.2|
LG Chem’s workmanship warranty
Battery companies should cover a replacement battery if you need it during their warrantied term–but, while the manufacturer may cover your replacement part, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cover the labor costs to re-install that equipment. In fact, many manufacturers do not reimburse for labor associated with diagnostics, replacements, or repairs of their products.
More often than not, installers are the sole party responsible for providing workmanship–or labor–warranties for your battery installation. However, some manufacturers offer additional protection by tacking on their own workmanship warranty for a limited number of certified installers in their network. LG does not offer a workmanship warranty for their products or cover the cost of labor necessary for repairs made during the warranted period.
You can learn more about manufacturer endorsements and how they impact installer warranty offerings in this article.
How to make a warranty claim with LG: shipping & labor costs
Ideally, your storage system will continue operating smoothly for 10+ years, and you never have to worry about LG Chem’s warranty. However, if you experience any defects or performance issues with your equipment, LG Chem will be there to help.
If you notice an issue with your battery, your first phone call should be to your original installer: having designed and installed your system, they are the most equipped to diagnose (and fix!) any potential issue. If your installer cannot repair the issue on site, they can help you get in touch with LG Chem about the issue. LG Chem will determine if the battery can be repaired on site or replaced, and will work with your installer to perform the necessary work to get your system back online. LG Chem does not specify if they will cover any necessary labor or shipping within the warranty term.
Limitations and exceptions to LG Chem’s warranty
Every warranty has its exceptions – LG Chem is no different. Warranty limitations aren’t meant to make it harder for you to take advantage of the offering; companies simply try to protect themselves from unjust or unreasonable claims.
Here are a few things that aren’t covered in your LG warranty:
- Acts of nature: this is a common one – most battery system manufacturers will not cover any damage caused by extreme weather events outside of their control, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Fortunately, the hardware is pretty durable, and can withstand most storms without the added protection. Even better, should damage happen to occur during a storm, many homeowner insurance policies cover damage to solar-plus-storage systems.
- Unapproved modification by someone other than personnel certified by LG.
- Installation in conditions that are in violation of the installation manual.
Other warranty considerations, and how LG Chem stacks up
- Bankability: LG Chem is one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world, with a net worth of more than 60 billion dollars.
- Escrows/insurance policies: LG holds a general warranty reserve on their balance sheet (not in escrow), for which the counter-party is LG Electronics USA, Inc., as opposed to LG Chem. So, the same company that makes household products– such as TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.–is responsible for upholding the battery warranty.
- Customer reviews: Another critical aspect of understanding a manufacturer’s warranty offering is investigating how their customers feel about their equipment and the services that they provide. Any warranty can look promising on paper, but how the installer or manufacturer performs when honoring their warranty is also critically important. If you are interested in reading LG Chem’s reviews, you can do so here.
What about inverters?
We use “battery” and “battery system” pretty interchangeably in this article, but there’s one important difference between the two: an inverter. Energy storage systems typically include both batteries and inverters, while certain batteries can be sold independently. Inverters are key to the functionality of a battery, so it’s important to make sure yours is covered! If your product includes a built-in storage-only or hybrid inverter, it’ll likely be covered in your battery’s warranty terms. On the other hand, if you pair your battery with an external, third-party inverter, expect it to come with a different warranty agreement than your battery.
LG’s batteries all require separate inverters–thus, their warranty does not cover the inverters.
Finding the right battery for you
Finding the right storage system for your home means comparing multiple quotes from solar installers. Using the EnergySage Marketplace, you can find local solar installers near you, and make easy side-by-side comparisons of all your solar-plus-storage options, including equipment. By shopping around first, you can find the right option at the right price – warranties and all. If you have a preference for one type of equipment over another–LG Chem or otherwise–simply note it in your account when you sign up so installers can quote you accordingly.