Wind Turbine Solar Panel Combinations: A Guide to Hybrid Systems
It’s advice most of us have heard since we were children: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That still holds true for renewable power systems. A wind turbine and solar panel combination helps you get the best performance from your setup.
Our hybrid systems are designed to avoid the common pitfalls that can cause wind- or solar-only systems to come up short. After all, the sun can’t always shine and the wind can’t always blow.
Out of all these, installing a wind-solar hybrid system is the most impactful thing you can do to increase the effectiveness of your renewable energy system.
There’s a reason we’re not called Missouri Wind or Solar. The combination of solar and wind technology helps you unlock the full potential of your turbines and panels. That improved experience helps turn renewable power doubters into believers.
Today, we want to outline the reasons why this combination is more effective than either system on its own, discuss some ways to set up your system, and some possible expansions and customizations of your wind and solar setup.
Benefits of a Wind Solar Hybrid System
There’s night even in the sunniest places and calm times on the windiest plains. But your power demands can’t always conform to the availability of wind and sun. Fortunately, installing a hybrid system goes a long way to alleviating this issue.
Low light or wind conditions doesn’t have to mean you are entirely without power. Installing a grid-tie system ensures that, when your renewable system’s output naturally dips, the existing grid picks up the slack.
Installing a feed inverter with your grid-tied system also allows many customers to effectively supply power back to the grid. This is called net metering, and it uses a bidirectional electrical meter to send excess power that your system generates back out. Depending on your specific utility, you may even be able to get money back on your bill (always check with your company or co-op first).
While having a grid-tied system with a battery backup–a requirement when incorporating a small wind turbine–does help protect you from losing power when the grid goes down, it’s not foolproof. You must be conscientious about your power consumption while running on batteries, otherwise you’ll use it up faster than it can charge.
One of the big advantages of a combination wind and solar power system is that often—not always, but often—when sunlight decreases, wind increases and vice-versa.
When there’s not enough wind to turn your turbines, your solar panels can make up the difference.
Whether you’re working to keep your battery bank charged or just to maximize your power production compared to your consumption on a grid-tied system, going with a wind turbine and solar panel combination goes a long way to helping you achieve energy independence.
It’s also important to understand the difference between weather and climate. While you may live in an area that favors solar over wind or vice-versa, these distinctions can help you make a more informed judgment when planning your system.
Weather refers to the conditions in a given area on a day-to-day basis, climate is the pattern of weather over the years and decades in that area.
You might experience even extended spells of windy or sunny weather, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wise to rely on either system on its own.
Even in an area with an especially solar- or wind-friendly climate, weather variations mean that a hybrid system may still be a Smart investment.
Especially if you’re moving to a new region, make sure to do your homework to get a sense of the weather patterns you can expect over time.
This information really comes into play should you make the decision to expand your system (more on that below).
When you install a wind turbine and solar panel combination system, you effectively cover your bases and go a long way to making your system more productive.
How to Set Up a Wind Solar Hybrid System
Setting up a wind turbine and solar panel combination is very similar to setting up either system on its own, but with one major exception: your charge control board.
Unless you purchase a wind and solar hybrid kit, which already includes a compatible controller, you need to look carefully at the charge control unit to make sure it can be used with both wind turbines and solar panels.
This gets at one of the major differences between wind turbines and solar panels: wind turbines need an outlet through which they can safely discharge excess power, solar panels do not.
Whether you’re charging your batteries or powering your appliances, once the output of your solar panels meets your demands, the system achieves equilibrium and throws away incoming power that it doesn’t need.
Unless you’re connected to the grid, your solar panels will just rest until they’re needed again, when they’ll pick right back up where they left off, no worse for the delay.
This is not the case for your wind turbines.
A wind turbine’s generator turns kinetic energy into electricity, and it doesn’t respond to an equilibrium in the same way a solar panel does. As long as the wind blows and the turbine is engaged, it will continue to generate power.
Excess power generated by a wind turbine with no diversion load can literally boil your batteries. If the battery is full, the turbine needs another load such as a resistor or additional batteries to keep the turbine engaged and prevent it freely spinning out of control.
Many charge controllers are made specifically for wind turbines or solar panels and will not work when installed with the incorrect infrastructure. A hybrid charge controller will allow you to charge batteries from both your turbines and panels. You can also install separate controllers for turbines and panels, a hybrid controller just allows you to run both through the same charge controller.
Buying a turnkey hybrid kit makes this a non-issue, but make sure to pay extra attention if you are expanding an existing wind or solar system.
Otherwise, installation of a hybrid system is straightforward. Attention should be paid to the placement of solar panels and wind turbines to maximize output. Solar panels paired with a time tracker help maximize sun exposure throughout the day.
Wind turbines generally perform better the higher above the ground they are mounted. Make sure to check for any applicable zoning and permitting rules before setting up your turbine, as they may also set a maximum height for turbines.
Along with these general guidelines, remember that the specific geography and landscape features of your property may create areas of shade or unexpected windbreaks. Take the specifics of your property into account when setting up your system.
Expanding Customizing Your Hybrid System
If your goal is to live entirely free of the power grid, you will have to balance your power demands with the output of your renewable power system. This means reducing unnecessary appliances, but also expanding your wind and solar hybrid setup.
Fortunately, going for a hybrid setup early on makes future expansion easier and more flexible. Not only do you have the hybrid charge controller already setup, you now have firsthand experience as to which system performs better for you.
Depending on where you live, it may make more sense to FOCUS your expansion budget on additional wind turbines or solar panels. If you get more wind output than solar, three turbines and one solar panel may make more sense than two and two.
You can always change out your charge controller as well, if you find you’ve outgrown your old one.
Depending on your property and priorities, you can also add output components to your system to act as a power dump should you start producing much more excess power.
If you find yourself deicing a livestock tank, reducing the demand of your power-hungry water heater, or providing hot water to an RV, camper, or motor home, a DC Water Heating Element is a great addition.
We’re big fans of wind turbine and solar panel combination systems here. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” setup, but the vast majority of our customers benefit from a hybrid approach.
Our goals go beyond selling you the system that best fits your needs. We want to empower you to take charge of your renewable power needs. This guide is meant to do just that, giving you the wind and solar knowledge to make your system work for you.
Here are the major takeaways from this post to answer some of our most frequently asked questions:
Can you combine a wind turbine and solar panel?
Yes! Many homeowners prefer this model and it’s very easy to install and work with.
Can you connect a wind turbine and solar panel to the same charge controller?
There are a number of hybrid charge controllers on the market. Make sure you aren’t trying to connect a turbine to a controller made for solar, as it doesn’t have the dump divert load capability needed for turbines.
Can you charge with solar and wind at the same time?
Yes! Running through a hybrid charge controller allows you to use both solar panels and wind turbines to charge your battery bank, presuming both are receiving enough sun or wind to generate electricity.
Why is it good to have both solar panels and wind turbines?
Having a combination system of wind and solar allows you to reduce your downtime, since often when windspeed is lower, solar output is higher and vice-versa.
Hybrid Solar Systems
Do you hate the electricity companies?
Do you marvel at the electricity-generating ability of a decent-sized solar power system?
Ever thought “Why can’t I get all the electricity I need right from my roof during the day, store it in batteries, and really give the middle finger to those greedy, polluting power companies?”
Pretty natural thought process, right? And modern technology does agree with you – if cost isn’t a factor. For reasons I’ve outlined in another post it is possible to go completely off-grid with a big old pile of batteries and a boatload of cash.
I’ve taken some heat for suggesting that going completely off grid may not be a great idea if you have a grid connection at your doorstep.
After all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the grid. It is an amazing bit of infrastructure that has already been built, works very well 99.9% of the time and allows us to share our excess energy with our neighbours.
The problem lies in the attitudes and policies of the people who own the grid. Because the companies that own the grid are so hated, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been accused of being a clandestine agent of the power companies when I dare to say:
“Think twice before spending 30,000 to 50,000 to go off grid in the city!”.
The objective truth is this: Off grid can make sense for you in certain situations (which I outlined in my original off-grid post), but otherwise it is a whole lot of expense for no other reason than a vague desire to “stick it to the power companies”.
Luckily for us, there’s a compromise: hybrid solar systems!
Hybrid solar power systems offer the best of both worlds: You get the guaranteed (well, 99.9% of the time) electricity supply of the grid, with the ability to store your excess solar energy in a battery for use when the sun isn’t shining. You can also switch over to your own battery reserves if the grid goes down.
Hybrid systems are also at least half the price of an off-grid system and don’t require diesel back up. They’re still more expensive than a purely on-grid system, but the benefits of solar batteries are persuading an increasing number of people to pay the premium. In fact, the number of hybrid enquiries to this website is doubling every year.
(If you want 3 competitive quotes for a hybrid solar system, from local hybrid specialists you can get them here. Otherwise read on to learn whether a hybrid system is right for you.)
Here are 4 reasons to consider getting a hybrid solar system instead of a regular battery-free system:
1) To keep the electricity flowing if the grid goes down
Standard on-grid solar power systems shut down if they detect the failure of the grid. This is to protect any lineworkers making repairs to the wires outside your home. They wouldn’t like it very much if your solar panel system sent a current straight to their fingertips while they’re trying to work on the wires in your street.
A properly designed hybrid solar system can safely disconnect your house from the grid in the event of a power outage, and turn your house into a little mini grid. Imagine the smugness as yours is the only house in the street with the lights on, the TV blaring, the fridge humming and the beers cold.
2) To overcome solar system ‘export limits’ imposed by your local electricity network
Some unlucky folks have local electricity networks that are real control freaks. They have really tight restrictions on maximum solar system sizes. They claim their poor little grid can’t handle the additional electricity that larger solar power systems provide (although they’ll be happy for you to install a 10kW air conditioner that intermittently pulls massive amounts of power from the same grid!). This often results in homeowners being forced into a solar power system size much smaller than they need to offset their bills.
The way that hybrid solar systems get around this limitation is by using a Smart inverter that works in tandem with your battery bank. These hybrid inverters can be configured to have a maximum export rate that’s way below what your system can actually produce when the sun is at full whack. So to the grid your 10kW solar power system can look like a puny 2kW system. While only 2kW is exported to the grid, the other 8kW or so is diverted to your batteries.
The result: Everyone is happy. You get your big solar power system, and your electricity company gets to stay in the 20th century with its arcane regulations.
3) To get your bill down at any cost
You just have this strong feeling that it’s unfair to send your generated solar electricity into the grid for half (or less) what you pay the power company. So – by dropping a lot of cash on a battery, you can get your bill to as close to 0 as possible.
4) Because you love technology and just want it on your house
I personally fall into this category! I’m what you’d call a solar geek, and I love testing new technology, so putting solar battery storage on my home was a logical choice.
I already have a regular solar power system – can I add batteries?
To make a standard solar power system compatible with batteries, I’d suggest a system size of at least 6.6kW so you can generate enough electricity to actually charge your batteries in the winter, and when the weather is overcast.
If you currently have a system that’s under 6.6kW in size, you should consider adding more solar panels, unless you have a really efficient house and a really small battery pack. If you are adding panels, you may need to increase the size of the inverter to cope.
It is actually fine (and often a very Smart move) to oversize your solar panel array to your inverter. kW won’t harm the inverter (as long as the voltage and current specs are maintained – which your installer can confirm). Your installer can advise on whether your inverter needs to be upsized based on your local climate, your battery size, and your household energy usage.
The simplest way to retrofit batteries to an existing solar power system is to use a technique called “AC Coupling” – which means you don’t touch the existing solar wiring, and simply connect the battery into the houses existing 230V AC circuit.
Examples of batteries that can be retrofitted using AC Coupling are the Tesla Powerwall 2, the Enphase AC battery and the Sonnen battery.
How much does a hybrid solar system cost?
Now we’ve reached the million-dollar question: How much extra can you expect to pay for a hybrid solar power system compared to a standard, on-grid system?
It all depends on how many batteries you want. But the short answer is: you’ll pay more than double for a hybrid solar system.
At the time of writing, a good 6.6kW system costs about 7,000 installed. If you want to add 10kWh of usable storage (a decent amount for the average Aussie home) to this, expect to pay about 18,000 for the complete system.
What kind of batteries can you use for a hybrid solar system, and how often will they need to be replaced?
There are now a wide variety of batteries available for the home residential market, and you can see them all on our Battery Storage Comparison Table.
In terms of lifespan – we aren’t seeing many battery manufacturers warrant their batteries for more than 10 years – that should tell you all you need to know about how long they expect them to last.
Is hybrid solar worth the extra money?
In mid-2023, if you are buying a battery for purely economic reasons, it may not pay for itself before the warranty expires. But that doesn’t mean the battery will be useless or fail the day after the warranty is over. And if you are buying a battery for the other reasons we mentioned above, then only you can put a price on those reasons and just how much they’re worth to you.
One thing to be careful of the concept of “blended payback“, where a solar company will sell solar batteries in a package and rely on the incredibly fast payback of the solar panels to reduce the otherwise uneconomic payback of the battery system. To demonstrate this, try our solar and battery calculator, which will show you overall payback along with payback for solar panels and the battery system separately.
If you want 3 competitive quotes for a hybrid solar system, from local hybrid specialists (including payback calculations), you can get them here.
About Finn Peacock
I’m a Chartered Electrical Engineer, solar and energy efficiency nut, electric car and e-bike owner, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last “real job” was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009 more than 685,000 Australians have used my site to get quotes for high quality PV systems from pre-vetted solar installers.
Precautions For The Installation And Maintenance Of Hybrid Solar Inverters
Akshay VR. 01 Jul 2022
Hybrid solar inverters are a new type of solar inverter that combines the advantages of a regular solar inverter with the flexibility of a battery inverter into a single device. A hybrid solar inverter is an emerging alternative for homeowners who wish to establish a solar power system that can be upgraded in the future, such as with a battery storage system.
What Is A Hybrid Solar Inverter?
A hybrid solar inverter is a fusion of a solar inverter and a battery inverter that can effectively handle electricity from your solar panels, solar batteries, and the utility grid all at once.
A typical solar grid-tie inverter transforms direct current (DC) energy generated by your PV system into alternating current (AC) electricity that lights your home, allowing surplus electricity generation to be transmitted to the utility grid.
A battery inverter converts the DC power stored in your solar battery storage into AC electricity that may be used by your home.
A solar hybrid grid-tie inverter simplifies and enhances the operations of a traditional solar inverter by merging these functionalities into a single unit. Even better, because the quantity of solar power available might vary depending on weather and season, a hybrid inverter can pull power from the power grid to charge your battery storage system if necessary.
What Are The Functions Of A Hybrid Solar Inverter?
The basic purpose of an inverter is the conversion of DC input from your solar panel into AC output that your home can use. The usage of hybrid solar inverters elevates this process, providing the key characteristics:
DC-to-AC Bi-Directional Power Conversion: Normally, solar batteries are charged by either direct current power from solar panels (DC connected) or direct current electricity converted from alternating current (AC) using a solar inverter (AC coupled). The stored DC electricity must then be converted back into AC electricity by an inverter before it can be released.
Power Regulation: A hybrid inverter and battery can serve both functions. The hybrid grid-tie inverter can convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity to power your house, but it can also accept AC electricity from the grid and convert it to direct current (DC) electricity that can be stored in batteries for later use.
Power Monitoring: Solar power can fluctuate as sunlight levels rise and fall depending on the time of day and weather patterns. A hybrid inverter manages this electricity to ensure that the entire system runs within the parameters specified.
Solar hybrid grid-tied inverters can be outfitted with solar power monitoring software that measures and monitors your photovoltaic system through the display screen or a linked smartphone app, assisting in the identification of any defects.
For more such amazing content, do follow our LinkedIn page.
Power Maximization: Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPT) in hybrid inverters monitor your solar power production and link it to the voltage of your battery. This allows for maximum power production and conversion of DC current to the optimal voltage for maximum battery charge. MPPT ensures that your solar power system operates efficiently under all conditions, including variable levels of solar light, solar panel temperature, and electrical loads.
What Are The Advantages Of A Hybrid Solar Inverter:
The presence of a solar power system does not necessarily ensure that you will have electricity during a power outage. If your system employs a standard solar grid-tie inverter, it will still turn off electricity to your solar panel system for safety reasons during a blackout.
A hybrid inverter combined with a solar battery storage system is an excellent answer in this situation. It guarantees that you have both off-grid and on-grid capabilities, ensuring that you always have electricity, even during a blackout.
Easy Reconfigured Battery Storage:
A comprehensive solar power installation can be costly, especially if you include an energy storage system in addition to the other individual components. A hybrid inverter is intended to incorporate storage at any moment, allowing you to save the upfront expenditures of adding battery storage. You may then install the battery bank more simply afterwards while still reaping the full benefits of your solar energy now.
Simplified Energy Monitoring:
A hybrid inverter simplifies energy monitoring since important data such as performance and energy output may be accessed via the inverter’s panel or a linked Smart device. You must monitor each inverter independently if your system has two.
Precautions For The Installation And Maintenance Of Hybrid Solar Inverters:
- Before installing the hybrid solar inverter, make sure it was not damaged during shipment.
- When selecting an installation location, ensure that there is no interference from any electrical equipment nearby.
- Before connecting the solar panel to the electrical system, cover it with an opaque substance or turn off the DC side circuit breaker. When solar arrays are exposed to sunlight, hazardous voltages can be generated.
- The cables used in the solar and power generating systems must be securely linked, suitably insulated, and of appropriate specifications.
- All electrical installations must adhere to local and national norms.
- Before being linked to the grid, the hybrid solar inverter must be certified by the local power department, and all electrical connections are made by experienced specialists.
- Before beginning any repair work, disconnect the electrical connection between the inverter and the grid, followed by the electrical connection on the DC side.
- Before doing maintenance, allow at least 5 minutes for the internal parts to discharge.
- Any issue affecting the hybrid solar inverter’s safety performance must be corrected promptly before restarting the inverter.
- Adhere to electrostatic protection requirements and wear anti-static wristbands.
Did You Know? With Solar Labs, you can increase your solar sales conversion by a WHOPPING 300%.
How To Safely Handle Solar Panels?
The first safety tip to remember is to cease working in inclement weather. Working with solar panels or other PV components exposes you to electricity and the risk of receiving a shock. Wind can blow these panels about during a storm, causing damage to the PV system. You should never operate in snow or strong wind when these circumstances are forecast, due to the increased risk of slipping or losing your balance. As a general rule, never install a solar PV system on your own; always have at least one other person with you in case of an accident or emergency.
When unpackaged, solar panels should be covered with an opaque sheet to avoid heat or energy accumulation. Also, when wiring, keep your photovoltaic solar panels covered with an opaque covering to stop or prohibit power generation.
When dealing with solar panels, use insulated gloves since they may have an erratic charge. If you get the home’s sheathing wet when installing the solar panels, it may cause your roof to leak later. This is often a concern with newly constructed roofs, but older roofs can sometimes leak, especially if shingles are missing or have been removed at some point.
When moving solar panels, never climb ladders. When hoisting solar panels onto rooftops, use cranes, hoists, or ladder-based winch systems that have been thoroughly examined. Solar panels may be extremely heavy; before putting your solar panels, ensure that the roof is solid enough to handle the weight of the solar panels. When working on roofs, always use severe safety precautions (such as harnesses, lifelines, and safety nets) to avoid sliding, falling, and injuring or killing yourself. Before beginning the installation of your PV system, you should evaluate your power tools to ensure that they are safe to use. When working on a solar system, it is best to use insulated equipment. To keep the ladder from sliding, use rubber latter mats.
A photovoltaic system should never be built near combustible gasses, as this might result in a fire or explosion. Wearing metallic jewelry while working on your PV system is not a good idea since it might cause electric shock. Using an artificial or intensified light on photovoltaic solar panels is not recommended. Installing a PV system within 0.3 miles of an ocean or saline water is prohibited. It can cause corrosion, and the fumes and mist can cause damage or electrical shock to photovoltaic equipment. Photovoltaic equipment should not be installed in corrosive environments.
Personal Protective Equipment is essential for everyone involved in the solar installation. The employer should ensure that the workplace has been hazard-assessed and that protective apparel is provided when essential to keep the employee safe. PPE (personal protection equipment) such as hard helmets, gloves, and steel-toed shoes with rubber soles are necessary for solar installations.
Employees should wear PPE in accordance with their employer’s instructions, keep equipment safe and dependable, and seek replacements as needed. Risk should be avoided at all costs when it comes to an employee’s safety and health.
What Are The Risks Of Solar Panels On Roofs?
Solar PV panels create direct current electrical energy (DC). While a professional electrical contractor should be familiar with dealing with standard alternating current (AC) systems, many lack the requisite knowledge/experience with DC installations.
When it comes to routine electrical inspection and maintenance, solar PV systems are all too frequently disregarded. Some PV systems have never been examined since the day they were installed, which is a typical occurrence.
Solar PV panels generate electricity for the duration of their exposure to natural light. This implies that the panels and accompanying electrical equipment that supply power to the building are always on. Because the system cannot be switched off, it poses major safety threats to those in the local proximity as well as fire personnel in the case of a fire.
Solar technology is transforming the way we use energy in businesses and at home, and solar power design software is a prime example. However, beginner users may struggle to understand the complexities of solar technology-based goods, such as solar inverters. There are several varieties of solar-powered inverters on the market. As the name indicates, a hybrid solar inverter combines two or more systems. It is a hybrid of a solar power system and a battery-powered converter.
An inverter is a critical component of a solar power system that converts direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC) for home-based appliances. A solar panel configuration with a standard inverter necessitates the use of a second inverter to convert AC to DC and vice versa. A solar panel system with a hybrid inverter, on the other hand, does not require a separate battery inverter. Surprisingly, hybrid inverters may be installed without the need of batteries. Some individuals experiment with hybrid inverters to better understand their future battery needs.
Republic Of Solar
Insights, Resources and Opportunities.
Pros and cons of solar system off grid vs hybrid
One word for people who think they can save money by going off grid – batteries. With grid-tie solar, you simply make electricity when the sun is shining, and sell any excess back to the electric company, who then sells it to your neighbors.
If you’re thinking about long term sustainability and energy efficiency – you’ll want to explore the ins and outs of renewable energy system. If you’re considering solar, you next need to decide between the three types of solar systems: stand-alone, grid-tied or hybrid. Choosing the right system means minimising power costs and good return on your investment in the long run.
What is off grid inverter?
Off grid inverter is designed to work alone and cannot synchronise with the grid. An off-grid solar system is a solar installation that isn’t connected to the utility grid. This means you have to rely on your solar panels to generate all your power, all the time.
With stand-alone power system, solar batteries are necessary for storing energy. It’s also Smart to budget for a backup generator for extended periods of bad weather in case solar battery storage runs out.
Benefits from off grid
- You’ll have complete energy independence. No grid connection means freeing yourself from the risk of power outages or fluctuating power costs. As you’re a producer of your own power you get a great amount of freedom, as long as your energy needs are low.
- It can be the most eco-friendly and sustainable home energy setup. Without the grid, you can minimise your carbon footprint. Your system won’t contribute to water pollution and greenhouse gases (except rarely, when you might depend on a generator).
- Allows you to store excess solar or low cost (off-peak) electricity.
- Reduces power consumption from the grid (reduced demand).
The cons of going stand-alone
- There’s no ‘security’ from using the grid as backup. You can’t rely on grid power during bad weather or if your system needs servicing.
- You’ll need more panels and a large capacity batteries if you intend to power an entire home. Batteries and generators are important to have, but they represent higher initial costs. Batteries have limited lifespans and can require maintenance, so those expenses factor in as well.
- You’ll have to tightly monitor your energy usage and lifestyle. With stand-alone solar, you must use power sparingly. This might require big lifestyle changes, such as using most of your power in the daytime or tightly restricting night-time activities.
What is mppt hybrid inverter?
A Hybrid inverter is an intelligent inverter that enables the storage of excess solar energy in a battery system for self-use. Hybrid inverters function like a common grid-tie solar inverter but can generally operate in one of several different modes depending on the application. It includes battery backup mode which provides a limited level of backup power in the event of a blackout. Most hybrid inverters can also operate without a battery and function just like a grid-tie solar inverter by exporting excess solar energy to the utility grid.
A hybrid solar system is grid-tied with battery storage. They come with a special ‘Smart’ inverter that can transmit direct current (DC) power to and from your batteries, and channel alternating current (AC) power between the grid and your home when necessary.
Hybrid systems allow for full control over your power, while keeping you grid-connected in case of emergency.
Key benefits of hybrid systems
Here are some of the perks of a hybrid solar system:
- You’ll use less grid electricity than you would with a traditional grid-tied system. While hybrid setups are grid-tied, they come with solar battery storage, which means you can maximise consumption of the power generated from the panels.
- A hybrid system is possibly the most expandable, future-ready home solar setup. With some customisable hybrid systems, you can expand capacity by buying more panels or batteries. Hybrid systems may also be compatible with newer solar technologies — for example, an electric vehicle (EV) might function as one of the ‘batteries’ in a hybrid setup.
- For even lower costs, you can use a power management system. These technologies can automatically optimise your power usage. (For example, larger appliances like dishwashers can be switched on during peak daylight hours.)
The cons of hybrid solar systems
- There’s a lot to install upfront, making the initial investment bigger. While you can budget for a smaller battery bank than with an off-grid setup, the cost still needs some thought. Specialised equipment, such as a Smart hybrid inverter, adds to the price tag.
- Lots of space might be necessary for the required parts. With grid access, you’re likely not in an isolated rural area – even so, you’ll need space for hybrid solar equipment, including the battery bank and inverters.
When you’re completely stand-alone, you will only have a backup battery to maintain your energy usage, as opposed to a hybrid solar system that can draw power from the battery or the grid.
An off-grid solar system might be tempting if you want to be completely in charge of your power generation, but you will need to be very careful with energy management and your power consumption to make sure that your backup battery never runs out.
With a hybrid solar energy system, should you overuse your stored battery power or there is inclement weather for a few days and your solar panels do not get enough energy, the grid connection will help provide power until you can begin generating your own again.
Without this backup option, you could find yourself without power during a snowstorm or hurricane.