Solar energy is abundant, but transferring that energy into something you can use to power a home or office round-the-clock requires a hybrid solar inverter system. The good news is solar energy technology is increasingly affordable, with the average price of a 100-megawatt system expected to decrease another 19% by 2025.
The Role of Inverters in a Simple Solar Power System
A traditional solar system generates electricity from sunlight with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Inverters convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) that’s required by lights, HVACs, and most other fixtures and fittings in buildings.
Inverters are a crucial component of any solar power system, serving a wide range of functions:
- Converting current from DC to AC
- Tracking voltage and providing an emergency shut-off
- Grid-tied inverters communicate with the power grid to transfer excess energy (called net metering)
- Hybrid inverters allow you to use a system of batteries to store charge during daylight hours and use it when no solar energy is produced
How Hybrid Solar Inverters Work
A hybrid solar inverter combines a traditional solar power inverter with a battery storage inverter to provide an efficient, reliable power source.
Hybrid inverters can also convert AC power from your electric grid to charge your battery. That means you can run your building with solar and battery power no matter the conditions outside or time of day.
A hybrid inverter with solar battery charging offers several unique advantages over other types of inverters, but there are a few drawbacks to consider too. We’ll discuss both in detail below.
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Advantages of Hybrid Inverters With Solar Battery Charging
Hybrid inverters are a great option for a new installation, especially when backup resilience is a factor. The benefits include:
Hybrid systems take up less space than alternative designs because they combine solar power inverters and battery storage inverters into one device. An experienced installer can set up your system faster with less space. Maintenance is simplified by combining the various systems as well.
Hybrid inverter systems with a DC-coupled design increase power efficiency too. During transmission, there is less power loss when they don’t require DC to AC conversion for your battery systems.
2. Backup Power
With hybrid systems, the inverter chargers send excess power from your panels to a battery backup. If your area suffers a blackout, you can still run equipment and lights since it stores extra energy.
This feature can provide relief by keeping your HVAC systems working during rotating outages. You can use backup battery power during hours of peak electricity pricing to reduce costs and charge your battery when it’s less expensive.
Hybrid systems combine multiple solar technologies into a compact system with a more affordable upfront price. Many home and business owners choose hybrid inverters even without connecting an energy storage system because of the lower investment cost and increased efficiency.
The lower the cost of your system, the sooner you can see a return on your investment. Right-sized solar systems can offer energy savings from day one.
4. High-Tech Efficiency Monitoring
Hybrid systems can send performance data for monitoring so you can track the efficiency of your system. This can help you determine when maintenance is needed or if the system needs repairs.
These charge controlling systems monitor conditions to decide when to send solar power to the grid vs. the battery or when to pull power from the grid to charge the battery. This lets you take advantage of net metering to earn back credits from your utility company.
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Disadvantages of Hybrid Solar Inverters
Hybrid solar inverters enhance the capabilities of a solar power system but they may not be suitable for all installations. Here are some drawbacks of installing hybrid solar inverters:
- Upgrading an existing solar system: If you already have a solar system installed, a hybrid inverter will require extra labor for rewiring, and it will likely be cheaper to install a traditional AC-coupled inverter.
- Backup Limitations: Some systems won’t allow you to use backup power when the grid is down, while others will limit the power load to just essential systems. If you want to maintain full power during outages, you need to make sure your inverter supports your needs.
- Complexity: Hybrid systems require professionals to repair and service them.
Choosing the Right Hybrid Solar Inverter
If you decide to install a hybrid solar inverter system, you’ll need to know its features and limitations fully. Some hybrid inverters for solar power are designed for interior installation only, while others can withstand the weather conditions of a rooftop installation.
Hybrid systems convert surplus power into usable energy, so your inverter may cap the amount of power your panels generate. This can also shorten the life of the equipment, as overcharging can deplete the electrolytes and prevent a full charge.
You must understand the specs of each system and talk to an installer to choose the best configurations for your usage.
Go Solar with Airis
With inverter technology becoming ever more efficient, hybrid solar inverter systems offer an affordable way to maintain backup power when you need it most without compromising efficiency.
A hybrid system can transfer excess power to your utility company for credits on your next bill during peak power generation times.
Airis can help you choose the best solar energy solution for your home or business. We make going solar as easy as can be. We’ll take care of everything – from designing your unique solar system to installing, maintaining, and monitoring it.
Book your free on-site energy audit today to find out how much solar energy can help you save.