Complete review of the Eguana Evolve battery

Updated

solar brand eguana's tewo new residential solar batteries, the evolve lfp and evolve ess
Eguana’s residential Evolve batteries are designed to store solar energy and keep your lights on during blackouts. Image source: Eguana

Eguana has been in the energy storage business for nearly two decades. Headquartered in Calgary, Canada, Eguana offers both commercial and residential batteries to store solar energy. Their products have been used in various applications, from the U.S. military to Mercedes Benz, and one of their models even utilizes the same battery cells used in the popular LG Chem battery. 

But are the Evolve batteries right for your home? Turns out, maybe not. 

Key takeaways

  • Eguana offers two models of its Evolve residential solar battery: the 12.8 kWh Evolve LFP and 12.2 kWh Evolve ESS.
  • Both Evolve models come with three operating modes: Backup power mode, Solar Self-consumption with outage reserve, and Time of Use scheduling mode.
  • The Eguana Evolve models have mostly average performance specifications, with a 5 kW power rating and efficiency ratings slightly below 90%.
  • The 10-year 60% performance warranty for the Evolve batteries is below industry standards.
  • The Eguana Evolve is best suited for homeowners looking for backup power only because of the poor warranty and average performance.

On this page

    How does the Eguana Evolve work?

    Eguana Evolve batteries are designed to work with residential solar panel systems to provide backup power and decrease dependence on the utility grid. 

    Eguana’s Evolve batteries work just like other solar batteries - they charge with excess solar energy your solar panels produce during the day, and then discharge that stored energy to power your home at night. When a solar battery is paired with a solar system, it is called a hybrid solar system.

    Learn more about how hybrid, or solar-plus-storage systems, work for homes in the below video:

    Find out if installing a solar battery is worth it for your specific home

    Eguana Evolve’s operating modes 

    Exactly how and when the Evolve battery will power your home depends on the operating mode you choose. The Evolve comes with three options: 

    • Backup power mode, where the battery only discharges in the event of a utility power outage
    • Solar self-consumption, where the battery will help power your home when your solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity to cover your electricity consumption
    • Time of Use scheduling mode, where the battery will charge when utility prices are the cheapest, and discharge when utility prices are highest (Learn more about Time of Use rates here)

    You’ll find that most solar batteries on the market these days offer the same operating modes. What’s different about the Eguana Evolve is its “battery reserve” feature.  

    The Eguana Evolve batteries automatically reserve 25% of their capacity when operating in Solar self-consumption or Time of Use mode in case a utility outage occurs. Basically, this means you’ll be able to use 75% of the electricity your battery stores at any time, but you can only access that last 25% if the power goes out. 

    Although the batteries default to a 25% reserve, you can adjust how much of the power in your battery is reserved for outages to meet your specific needs. 

    What solar battery products does Eguana offer?

    In 2018, Eguana launched their fully-integrated residential energy storage system, Evolve. There are two different Evolve models: The Evolve LFP and Evolve ESS.

    Let’s take a closer look at each model, and the differences between them.

    Specs for Eguana Evolve solar batteries
    Model Evolve LFP Evolve ESS
    Usable capacity 12.8 kWh 12.2 kWh
    Power rating 5 kW 5 kW
    Efficiency 85.7% 86.8%
    Chemistry LFP NMC

    Usable capacity 

    The usable capacity rating is a measure of how much electricity a battery can store in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This gives you an idea of how long a battery can run your appliances.

    Depending on the model you pick, you will either get 12.8 kWh or 12.2 kWh of usable storage, which is a little less than half of the average American household’s daily electricity consumption

    But the usable capacity ratings of both Evolve models are a little bit higher than the average 10 kWh capacity most solar batteries on the market today have. 

    Both of the Evolve batteries offer enough storage to run the most important appliances in your home during a power outage, or cover a decent amount of your nighttime electricity consumption on a daily basis. 

    If you want more storage capacity, you can install additional Evolve battery packs. The LFP model can reach up to 42 kWh of storage and the ESS can get to 39 kWh.

    Power rating 

    The power rating of a battery tells you how much power a battery can release over a continuous period of time. The higher the power rating, the more appliances the battery can run. 

    Both the Evolve LFP and Evolve ESS have a power rating of 5 kilowatts (kW). This falls in line with industry standards. 

    If you’re looking to run power-hungry appliances, like an air conditioning system, a power rating of 5 kW probably won’t cut it. Instead, you might want to lean towards a more powerful battery like the Kohler Power Reserve or the LG Chem RESU Prime.  

    Round-trip efficiency 

    A battery’s round-trip efficiency rating is a measure of how much of the electricity that is sent to the battery actually gets used by your home (some of the electricity that is sent to the battery is used to actually complete the storage process, while some of it is lost to heat).

    You want a battery with a high efficiency rating because that means more of the electricity your panels produce is actually able to power your appliances. Eguana’s LFP battery has an efficiency rating of 85.7% while the ESS comes with an efficiency rating of 86.8%. 

    These efficiency ratings are a little bit low, but it’s not a total dealbreaker. If you’re trying to maximize the amount of solar energy your home is using, then you may want to consider a higher efficiency battery, like sonnen batteries.

    However, both Eguana batteries will operate just fine even with their lower efficiency ratings. 

    Chemistry 

    The biggest difference between the Evolve LFP and the Evolve ESS models is their chemistry.

    The Evolve ESS is a nickel manganese cobalt battery, or NMC battery. NMC batteries are the most common type of lithium ion battery used for residential solar installations. In fact, the battery cells found inside the Evolve ESS are actually the same as the cells within the popular LG Chem battery series! NMC batteries are great for solar because they can store a lot of electricity in a small space, and they last a long time compared to lead-acid batteries. 

    The Evolve LFP is named after its lithium iron phosphate chemistry. The biggest advantage to LFP batteries is that they are more resistant to high temperatures and they don’t contain toxic chemicals like cobalt, which makes them a little bit safer than NMC batteries. 

    How much does the Eguana Evolve cost?

    There isn’t much information out there regarding the cost of the Eguana Evolve, but most solar batteries cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to install. 

    Based on the average performance specifications and less-than-ideal warranties offered by Eguana (more on that below), you probably would want to spend closer to that $10,000 price. More than that just wouldn’t be worth it. 

    You also need to consider the cost of installing a backup load panel. You see, the Eguana Evolve isn’t designed to run every single appliance in your home. So, you need a separate breaker panel just for the backup loads you want the Eguana to run in a blackout. This will add about $1,000 to your project costs. 

    What is the Eguana Evolve’s warranty?

    The Evolve LFP and Evolve ESS both come with a 10-year product warranty that ensures the battery will be free from defects, so long as the battery is used as intended. This is pretty standard for solar batteries. 

    Both models also come with 10-year performance warranties, which outlines how much energy the battery will be able to store as it gets older. The specifics of these warranties differ between the models, so let’s take a closer look. 

    Performance warranty for Evolve ESS

    Eguana’s warranty states that the ESS model will retain 60% of its nominal energy capacity after 10 years or after the battery has stored and delivered 19.2 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, whichever comes first. 

    First of all, 60% capacity is pretty low. Most solar batteries these days guarantee 70% capacity retention after 10 years, meaning, you can get batteries that will perform way better over time than this one. 

    Then there’s the 19.2 MWh throughput threshold. We need to figure out which you’ll reach first: discharging 19.2 MWh of electricity, or 10 years in age. If you completely discharged and recharged your battery every single day, you would reach 19.2 MWh of electricity after 4 years. 

    What does that mean? It means your battery will reach 60% capacity well before 10 years is up. If you wanted to extend the life of your battery for the full 10 years, you could only use about 43% of the electricity stored in the battery every day. 

    To be blunt, the Evolve ESS battery warranty is pretty lame. You could go with a number of other batteries and get a way better warranty. 

    Performance warranty for Evolve LFP 

    The Eguana Evolve LFP performance warranty guarantees the battery will operate at 60% of its nominal energy after 10 years. The warranty does not list any other conditions including cycle life or throughput. 

    As we said earlier, 60% capacity is pretty low compared to other batteries on the market. Plus, with no defined throughput or cycle life for the battery, we can’t be sure exactly how usage will impact the battery. 

    Can you send an unlimited amount of power through the battery for 10 years before it reaches 60% capacity? We just don’t know. 

    The feature summary page on the Evolve LFP’s data sheet says it has a 15-year, 6,000+ cycle design life, but there’s really no other context provided for those numbers, and they don’t show up anywhere in their warranty.

    Should I get the Eguana Evolve?

    We’re going to be honest, you can probably do better than the Eguana Evolve. It’s hard to say for sure since we don’t know the price, but their performance metrics aren’t anything to write home about. Plus, their warranties aren’t up to basic industry standards. 

    Because of this, we would only really recommend someone install the Eguana Evolve if they only want a battery for backup power during grid outages. If you want a battery for daily use, there are way better options out there. 

    But, in reality, most U.S. homeowners don’t need a battery at all. If your utility offers full-retail net metering and you don’t experience a lot of utility power outages, you’re better off skipping the battery. All it’ll do is make you spend more without giving you any added financial benefit. 

    Solar panels, on the other hand, are a sure-fire way for most homeowners to save big on their electric bills. You can see how much you can save when you invest in solar panels for your home using our solar panel cost and savings calculator.

    Find out how much a solar system would cost for your specific home
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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