LG Chem Recalls Home Battery Systems After Reports of Fires

By Mark Chediak and Brian Eckhouse | December 4, 2020

LG Chem Ltd. is voluntarily recalling certain models of its home energy storage batteries in the U.S. on concerns they could overheat and start fires.

The South Korean industrial giant is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the recall after the company received reports of five fires with its battery systems that caused limited property damage and no injuries, according to a recall notice seen by Bloomberg.

LG Energy Solution Co., formed this month after LG moved to split off its energy storage and electric-vehicle battery business, is working with related companies to determine the cause, it said in an emailed statement. The recall is voluntary and customers will be offered free replacements of some batteries as a preemptive measure, the company said.

The impacted units were sold by various distributors of solar energy systems including Sunrun Inc. from January 2017 through March 2019, the recall notice said. Cells in units being recalled are at risk of overheating, according to the notice.

Sunrun confirmed the recall and said it affects about 5% of its Brightbox customers.

“We have already started proactively replacing batteries impacted by the recall and have credited customers for the brief downtime,” Sunrun spokesman Wyatt Semanek in an email.

The recall comes at a time when many solar installers are offering batteries as part of their systems. Many homeowners now seek backup power to protect themselves from electrical outages due to hurricanes, extreme heat or the threat of wildfires.

LG Chem supplied batteries to an energy storage facility owned by an Arizona Public Service utility that exploded last year and caused several injuries. The utility said the fire was caused by a defective cell. LG Chem disputed those findings

–With assistance from Kyunghee Park.

About the photo: LG Chem Ltd lithium-ion batteries, designed and integrated by NEC Corp., inside the LS Power Group Gateway Energy Storage project in Otay Mesa, California, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The Gateway Energy Storage project arrives as an unrelenting heatwave has strained California’s electric grid, prompting rolling blackouts that have plunged millions into darkness in the past week.

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