A ‘Hybrid Solar System‘ is a type of solar power system that uses both solar energy and battery storage to power your home or company. The battery’s stored energy enables this device to function as a backup supply, providing continuous electricity even after the sun has set.
Hybrid solar systems generate power as traditional grid-tied solar systems do, but they use hybrid inverters and batteries to store energy for later use. Because of this ability to store energy, most hybrid systems can also function as a backup power supply during a blackout, comparable to a UPS system.
Hybrid solar power systems combine the best of both worlds: they provide the perfect combination: You receive the grid’s assured (well, 99.9% of the time) electrical supply, plus the opportunity to store excess solar energy in a battery for use when the sun isn’t shining. If the power goes out, you can also use your own battery reserves.
Hybrid systems are also less expensive than off-grid systems and do not require diesel backup. They are still more expensive than a strictly on-grid solution, but the advantages of solar batteries are enticing an increasing number of consumers to pay the extra cost. In fact, the number of hybrid inquiries to our website more than doubles each year.
What is the functioning of a Hybrid Solar System?
This system, like any other solar panel system, allows you to draw energy from the sun during the day. The distinction is that any extra energy produced by your solar system is used to charge the batteries attached to the unit. After charging the battery, any extra energy is fed back into the grid at your current feed-in-tariff rate.
When the sun goes down, your home or company will draw electricity from the battery rather than the grid. If your property consumes more electricity than the amount stored in your battery, you can continue to draw electricity from your connected grid until your system produces electricity again. As a result, a dependable, consistent electrical source is provided at a fraction of the cost of traditional off-grid electricity.
What Exactly is a Battery Ready System?
A hybrid inverter, rather than a traditional string solar inverter, is used in a ‘battery ready’ system. Most new hybrid inverters include a built-in battery charger and connector, making future battery additions easier. It is worth noting, however, that hybrid inverters are more expensive, and if you do not add batteries during the original installation, finding appropriate batteries after a few years may become difficult, as technology is fast advancing. However, the advantages outnumber the disadvantages by far.
Can I use my power supply during blackouts?
Yes, you can say farewell to blackouts! If you have an Emergency Power Supply (EPS) device, hybrid solar allows you to use your stored solar energy in the event of a power loss. This means you’ll never have to fear losing power during a storm or a rolling blackout. The EPS batteries will provide you with continuous power. EPS devices are available as an option with our Hybrid Solar Systems, depending on your home or business needs.
Hybrid systems are classified into one of four categories:
- Basic hybrid inverters (zero backup power)
- Inverter hybrid with many modes of operation (with backup power)
- Battery energy storage devices that are all-in-one (BESS)
- AC-coupled advanced systems (off-grid or hybrid)
Advanced AC coupled systems are employed in off-grid and hybrid applications where power control is critical. These systems can also work with extremely large battery banks and include specialized battery monitoring and temperature sensors to extend battery life.
Because of the numerous features and powerful software, the cost of interactive inverters is normally more than that of all-in-one inverters; most times, the extra cost is well worth it because they are more dependable, efficient, and allow for future development.
The most cost-effective hybrid solar system makes use of a basic hybrid inverter, which includes a solar inverter and a battery inverter/charger, as well as smart controls that determine the most efficient use of your available energy.
The larger BESS systems are essentially a hybrid inverter combined with a lithium battery in one complete device, which is often the size of a refrigerator.
Is it true that hybrid solar allows me to adjust our energy consumption rates?
Hybrid solar systems can help you save money in a variety of ways. Many homeowners, for example, are not at home during the day to reap the benefits of peak usage hours during the week. A hybrid system can help you gain control of your energy consumption by switching between sources and controlling your consumption rates.
Our Hybrid Solar Systems have an excellent track record of lowering (in many cases, eliminating and even crediting) our household customers’ power bills. The flexibility and control of a hybrid system can boost your return on investment for enterprises with significant electricity needs.
Our engineering and modelling systems will pick the appropriate product combinations and give extensive electrical and financial modelling. We will ensure that your hybrid solar system has enough autonomy and headroom to meet your power requirements.
Why would you want to store solar energy for a battery?
The solar feed-in tariff, or FiT, has been lowered by many governments and network operators. As a result, traditional grid-feed solar systems have become less appealing because most people are at work during the day and are not at home to use the solar energy as it is generated, so the energy is put into the grid for relatively little return.
A solar hybrid system stores extra solar energy while simultaneously providing backup power during a power outage. This is ideal for homeowners.
Hybrid solar systems allow you to store solar energy and use it when you’re at home in the evening when electricity prices are normally at their highest.
Here are some reasons to adopt a hybrid solar system over a traditional battery-free system:
- To keep the power on if the grid goes down
When standard on-grid solar power systems detect a power outage, they shut down. This is to protect any line workers who are working on the wires outside your house. They wouldn’t appreciate it if your solar panel system transmitted a current directly to their fingertips when they were working on the cables in your street.
- To bypass the ‘export constraints’ set by your local electrical network on your solar system.
Some people own local electrical networks and are complete control freaks. They have very rigorous limits on the maximum size of solar systems. They say that its grid cannot handle the additional electricity provided by larger solar power systems. As a result, homeowners are frequently obliged to purchase a solar power system that is considerably less than what they require for offsetting their expenditures.
Hybrid solar systems overcome this constraint by utilising a smart inverter that works in combination with your battery bank. These hybrid inverters are designed to have a maximum export rate that is significantly lower than what your system can actually produce when the sun is shining brightly. As a result, your 10kW solar power system may appear to the grid as a 2kW installation. While only about 2kW is exported to the grid, the remaining 8kW or so is routed to your batteries.
- To reduce your bill at whatever cost.
You just have a strong feeling that sending your generated solar electricity into the grid for half (or less) of what you pay the power company is unjust. So, by spending a lot of money on a battery, you can reduce your bill to as near to zero as feasible.
Advantages of Battery Storage
- Allows you to store excess solar or low-cost (off-peak) power.
- Enables the utilisation of stored solar energy during peak nighttime hours (known as self-use or load-shifting)
- A majority of hybrid inverters have backup power.
- Reduces the amount of power drawn from the grid (reduced demand)
- Allows for advanced energy management (i.e. peak shaving)
Can I add batteries to my existing solar power system?
You certainly can.
To make a normal solar power system compatible with batteries, we would recommend a system size of at least 6.6kW so that you can produce enough electricity to charge your batteries in the winter and when the weather is cloudy.
Unless you have a very efficient house and a very small battery pack, you should consider installing more solar panels if your present system is less than 6.6kW in size. To accommodate the additional panels, you may need to increase the size of the inverter.
Oversizing your solar panel array to your inverter is absolutely fine (and often a very wise option). More kW will not affect the inverter (as long as the voltage and current specifications are met, which our installer can confirm). Based on your local environment, battery size, and household energy usage, our skilled technician can advise you on whether your inverter needs to be upgraded.
The simplest approach to retrofit batteries to an existing solar power system is to employ a technique known as “AC Coupling,” which involves not touching the current solar wiring and simply connecting the battery to the house’s existing 230V AC circuit.
Hybrid systems can be completely programmed.
If the power supplied by a solar array is inadequate to run both daytime loads and charge your batteries, the system can replenish your batteries from the grid when a reduced off-peak electricity rate is available.
When your electricity usage exceeds a certain threshold, electrical companies may charge you a higher rate to compensate for the additional demand. Hybrid systems can enable ‘peak lopping,’ in which some stored power from the batteries is used to help balance power usage.
If your grid connection cannot deliver a load, your hybrid system can also provide ‘grid assistance.’
What is the cost of a hybrid solar system?
Now comes the crucial question: How much more can you anticipate to pay for a hybrid solar power system versus a normal, on-grid system?
It all depends on the number of batteries you require. However, the quick answer is that a hybrid solar system will cost you more than twice as much.
A nice 6.6kW system costs around $7,000 installed at the time of writing. If you want to add 10kWh of usable storage (which is sufficient for the average Australian home), expect to invest around $18,000 for the entire system.
The cost-effectiveness of hybrid solar systems
With output costs now working their way under typical retail prices, hybrid solar is soon becoming less expensive than using mains electricity. Even in financial terms, hybrid provides considerably better savings and returns than the ordinary investment. There is also the added benefit of knowing that your electricity is coming from a reliable and clean source and that it will continue to operate in the case of a power outage.
The most recent design approaches favour more panels and fewer batteries. This significantly reduces system expenses while allowing for full autonomy if the system is appropriately sized and constructed. In most situations, the PV component is designed around the minimal winter average, with batteries sized for 1-2 days of autonomy, ensuring that enough power is available for all but the darkest of days. All systems provide a generator backup option and can be easily modified in terms of panels and batteries.
Warranties and service
A hybrid battery system is a significant investment that should be supported exclusively by tried-and-tested items with long-standing warranty records. GoRun Solar can provide detailed warranty and service terms for each component of the service, as well as a full 5-year warranty on top. Most of our vendors provide a normal 5- to 10-year warranty and have the service history to back it up. We may detail any maintenance requirements that may arise over a ten to twenty-year period and show how these items would affect the overall cost of the system.