What Does Hybrid Solar Panel System Have to Offer
What are hybrid solar panels?
A hybrid solar panel system uses a combination of solar panels and battery storage. This system will still stay connected to the electrical utility grid.
Not to be confused with Hybrid solar power. The traditional Hybrid solar power method is when we use more than 1 power generating technique(like solar and wind) get used for power generation.
But these new hybrid solar systems can still get paired with generators, and wind/water turbines to further reduce your reliance on the utility grid.
Solar Hybrid System Definition
Any solar generating system that will store energy for later use but still stays connected to the utility grid for high electrical usage scenarios is considered as a hybrid system.
This allows most of the system to operate as a backup power supply in case of blackouts. This is similar to a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) system. Not all hybrid systems contain this functionality, so it is crucial to check for this capability in the systems you are looking at.
After you have powered your onsite battery banks. The additional power that your system is generating can now get fed back into the power grid.
Videos On Hybrid Solar Panels
According to EnergySage marketplace data, the average solar shopper offsets approximately 94 percent of their annual electricity use with solar.
While this can help you to significantly reduce your energy reliance on the utility grid. Unfortunately, it still does not seem to be able to generate enough energy for you to go completely off-grid.
What Equipment is Needed for Hybrid Solar Systems
Typical hybrid solar systems generally use the following components:
- 1. Charge Controller
- 2. Battery Bank
- 3. DC Disconnect (additional)
- 4. Battery-Based Grid-Tie Inverter
- 5. Power Meter
- A hybrid solar system has a couple additions compared to a conventional grid-tied system. Hybrid solar needs the addition of batteries and a battery inverter.
Many current grid-tied solutions can have these components added later to provide the owner with a hybrid model.
Hybrid Solar System Block Diagram
Advantages of Hybrid Solar Systems
The Pros of Hybrid Solar Panel Systems
Less expensive than off-grid solar systems
The capacity of your battery bank can get significantly downsized when compared to an off-grid solution. You also no longer need to include a backup generator for your solar systems configuration.
Both of these aspects help to reduce the total cost of installing a solar system.
Off-peak electricity provided by a utility company is usually more cost-effective compared to the price of you buying and transporting diesel.
If you find that utility costs are higher than diesel, you may want to use the backup generator as part of your systems configuration.
Hybrid panel systems use a hybrid converter with both on-grid and off-grid capabilities. So when the grid goes dark. Your power system will still continue running and producing solar energy.
Watch out for grid-tied solar inverters that automatically shut off during power outages. Generally done for safety purposes. When this happens, it will cut off power generation from your solar panel system. You should check and ensure the system you are purchasing has off-grid capabilities.
The closer you can get to being able to supply all the energy to your home yourself, the less reliant you are on the utility companies.
By saving your solar energy and using it during peak electrical times(known as self-use or load-shifting), you can reduce energy consumption costs.
When you have charged your battery bank, the extra energy being collected can be fed back to the utility grid, reducing your energy cost even further.
Reduce Chance of Blackouts (Continuous power)
When the grid goes down, a hybrid system will begin drawing energy from the power stored in your battery banks. This acts as a backup power system in times when the utility grid goes down.
It is common for hybrid systems to store up enough energy for around 5 to 8 hours of energy use.
While solar alone does not yet provide enough power to go completely off-grid. Adding it with other renewable energy sources like wind and hydroelectric may make it possible for some people to no longer rely on the utility grid.
Reduce Power Consumption From The Grid
The more energy you can provide yourself for your home yourself, the less reliant you will be on the utility grid.
Better Load management
When you are using a device like a traditional generator, high power is provided the second the generator is activated. This high power is generated regardless of the driving load.
The majority of hybrid solar systems in use have additional circuitry to adjust the energy supplied, depending on the load connected.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Solar Systems
The Cons of Hybrid Solar Panel Systems
High Costs(higher cost than grid-solar)
Since you will need to include a battery system and more complex converters. It is a higher price to install than traditional solar generation setups.
Space for Energy Generation and Storage
Depending on where you live, having enough room to store the equipment may not be a possible option for you.
Limited Solar Energy Storage
Depending on the amount of room you have to store the battery banks will limit the amount of power you can store and save for later use.
Also, the number of solar batteries you can actually afford to pick up will limit the amount of energy you can store onsite for later use.
Like traditional solar power, you will need to use lukewarm water and a soft, non-abrasive sponge to clean the hybrid solar panels.
If you do not continually clean the panels. Over time they will start to collect dust and dirt, reducing their efficiency. This will limit the amount of solar energy they capture. But research shows this cleaning only had a very minor improvement in power generation.
In Tucson, Arizona, a study focused on the improvements that cleaning your solar panels can have. They found that regular cleaning only improved power output by about 1%. An important note is that these panels need to get placed on an angle.
If you are placing panels on a flat roof, you can add frames to have the solar panels at a 10-degree tilt or higher.
If for some reason, this is just not possible for you, the next best option is to go with frameless panels. These are also commonly referred to as glass on glass or double glass panels.
For most places, it seems natural rainfall is enough to keep your solar panels working almost the same as people who routinely clean their panels.
Battery Life (of 5-15 years)
Like all batteries over time, their ability to retain a full charge and how well they perform will start to degrade. The average lifespan for these batteries should run close to one decade.
Even your batteries' storage environment can alter how long your batteries last. They need to be placed in an area that is protected from freezing winters and sweltering summers.
Depending on the size of the battery bank and how often you end up having to replace it. Having to replace the battery bank can start to add up significantly.
Number of Instruments Connectable Limited
The actual amount of devices you can have connected to your system will vary depending on the specific hybrid inverter and its capacity. The more high power devices you connect will also reduce how many items can get connected at any one time.
A hybrid solar system is a grid-connect solar power system but has added battery packs. It is significantly cheaper than an off-grid solar system while allowing you to feedback additional energy to the utility grid.
Many traditional solar systems can also get altered later to include a battery bank and battery inverter to create a hybrid solar panel system.