Hybrid solar is well and truly here so what is it – how does it work and what are the traps?
Hybrid solar is a combination of solar PV and battery storage designed to save some of your solar PV output for later use at night. There are a number of different types of solar systems each with different limitations all of which can dramatically affect pricing.
Hybrid Solar Inverter
Hybrid Battery Interface
Energy Storage System (ESS)
Offgrid Solar System
Backup or UPS System
Each system type will have different functions and different installation requirements. The two most common design questions are;
1 Usable battery capacity @ Cycle life
2 Nominal and maximum draw
We have a blog covering the basics of hybrid and off-grid solar and have detailed common questions below;
What does a hybrid system do?
A hybrid solar system is generally a combination of a inverter, a charger, battery and panels. These components work together to generate, store and use solar energy at any time.
What are the limitations of a hybrid system?
The two key specs are storage capacity and peak output. Storage capacity is determined by a number of factors including battery type, discharge depth and battery management and number of cycles. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO LOOK AT REAL DRAW AND NUMBER OF CYCLES BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASING DECISION.
Peak output is the maximum amount of power which can be run through the unit. Some units offer a transfer relay making this factor less important however MANY units have a limit much lower than the total draw of your home. This means that the installers will have to split your switchboard or you will have to carefully monitor or limit your energy useage.
Will hybrid solar keep me on when the grid is off?
The short answer is maybe. Some systems are designed for this – and some arent. Generally speaking ALL of our systems have UPS capability. But buyer be warned a lot of cheaper units dont.
Can I retrofit to an existing solar PV system?
Yes there are several units designed to work as an ‘AC Coupled Hybrid’ unit which are available now.