Four reasons to choose a hybrid solar system

A hybrid solar system offers the best of both worlds: it can guarantee electricity supply from the grid and it can supply electricity from the batteries if the grid goes down.

It is also half the price of a purely off-grid system and does not need diesel back up. Although it is more expensive than an on-grid system, the benefits of having standby batteries are convincing an increasing number of people to pay the price.

Four reasons to purchase a hybrid solar system

1) It will keep electricity flowing when the grid goes down

A regular on-grid solar system shuts down if it detects grid failure. This is designed to protect line workers who might be making wire repairs outside your home.

The components of this system is designed to safely disconnect your house from the grid should there be a power outage and then turn your house into a mini grid. As your neighbours are experiencing sudden darkness, you will be enjoying continuous electricity service for your lights, and all your appliances.

2) It is the answer to solar system ‘size limits’ imposed by the local electricity network

There are households which are connected to local electricity companies that are very restrictive. These networks have really tight restrictions on solar system sizes. They claim that their small grid can’t handle the additional electricity that larger solar systems provide.

Thus, homeowners are forced into a system size much smaller than they require to offset their bills. A hybrid solar system can circumvent this limitation by using a smart inverter that works in tandem with a battery bank.

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These inverters can be configured to have a maximum export rate that is significantly less than what the system can actually produce when the sun is in its full power.

Therefore, the grid will consider a 10kW solar system as if it is just a small 2kW system. The hybrid solar system is only exporting 2kW to the grid, while the rest of the 8kW are stored in the batteries. This makes homeowners and electricity companies happy.

3) It is able to get around stingy feed-in tariffs

There are many states which have relatively low net feed-in-tariffs. This means that a household is only getting a tiny 6 to 12 cents per kWh for any excess solar energy that it exports.

But by using a hybrid solar system, the homeowner can program their solar inverters to charge  batteries with the excess solar. Then, when the homeowner gets home, he can switch on his battery bank and get ‘free’ electricity instead of getting it from the electricity companies.

4) To take advantage of electricity tariff

Some states have introduced the ‘Time of use’ tariff scheme. This means that electricity from the grid costs more during periods of peak demand. If a homeowner uses a hybrid solar system, he can simply set it so that when prices are high, he gets his electricity from his batteries.

And in winter, when the sun does not come out for several days, the homeowner can set his inverter to charge using off peak tariffs only.

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace USA on Flickr

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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