Inverters either normal or solar serve the same purpose of converting direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) to power appliances. The only difference between them is the DC power source. In solar inverters direct current generated by solar panels serves as input but in normal inverters, DC power is derived from their batteries. This is the basic difference between solar and normal inverters, but how is off grid inverter vs hybrid inverter different from each other? If you are also confused and cannot decide which is better hybrid or off-grid, then read ahead. This article is dedicated to off-grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter price, efficiency, and lifespan along with other important related factors.
What is an Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter?
Working to imply similar actions but with different capacities, here is a comparison between hybrid and off-grid inverters and their operations.
1. Off-grid Inverter
The inverter designed to work alone that cannot be synchronized with the grid is known as an off-grid inverter. These inverters are directly connected to the loads and not the grid. Also known as standalone inverters, they cannot work properly if connected to the grid. Its function is to instantly convert the direct current (DC) generated by solar panels, convert it, and supply the converted alternating current (AC) to the appliances.
Other than solar panels, an off-grid solar inverter is backed by solar batteries for storing power. Battery connected is charged by solar panels and used to power the appliances at night or on days too when power generation by panels is insufficient. Nowadays, off-grid solar inverters have features like a bypass switch, LCD, and mobile app connectivity.
Off-grid inverters are connected between panels and solar batteries and loads. There is a huge difference between the working of hybrid and off-grid systems. Batteries are charged by solar panels and off-grid inverters take power from the batteries and convert it from DC to AC power. Power from solar panels is not fed into the utility grid: instead, it is converted by the inverter and supplied to the appliances. A portion of the power generated during the day charges the batteries and this stored power is used to run appliances at night.
2. Hybrid Inverter
Also known as multimode inverters, they are a mix of both on-grid and off-grid solar inverters. A hybrid inverter is designed to work in both situations, whether connected to the grid or operating on just batteries. This quality of hybrid inverters enables them to control power from solar panels, utility grid, and batteries. There is no need to get a separate battery because a hybrid converter reduces the need for it. This is because it serves as a battery and an inverter for both.
Further in off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter the latter are connected to grid and supply power to the appliances through it. Also, extra power generated by panels is fed into the grid. Next, on days of low power generation from panels, it can derive power from the utility grid. And in case there is no power supply from the grid, also, then it uses power stored in batteries.
Electricity generation in a hybrid inverter is a similar process to that in a regular string inverter. The only difference is the inbuilt battery present in hybrid inverters. Power generated by solar panels is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) power and then this converted power is supplied to the grid. From there, it is supplied to appliances and after that, the remaining power is fed into the utility grid and sent to the utility provider.
Hybrid inverters are connected to solar panels, batteries, and the grid. On the other hand, a certain portion of direct current (DC) is supplied from solar panels to batteries for charging them. In this way, solar power harvested is used to its full.
Also See: Can Hybrid Inverter Work Without Battery?
What is Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter Efficiency?
Solar inverters are highly efficient, usually 93%-96% depending on their model and manufacturer. Usually, an off-grid inverter is 80%-87% efficient and with optimal care, its efficiency can be maintained. It means that it can convert a total of 80% to 87% of solar power supplied to it in the form of direct current. On the contrary, Hybrid inverters are more efficient with a 90% to 98% efficiency rating while running on a full load.
Note: The efficiency of an inverter will not be 100% because some of the power is lost in the form of heat and some are used for powering the inverter.
Also Read: 11 Major Factors Affecting Solar Panel Efficiency
Off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter efficiency is not a fixed number, thus the right term for it is the efficiency curve. This curve varies from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. In off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter, terms like CEC efficiency, European efficiency, and peak efficiency are often mentioned in the efficiency curve chart.
1. CEC efficiency: Like euro efficiency, it is also a weighted efficiency calculated by multiplying different output AC levels using distinct formulas. California Energy Commission efficiency is also considered more reliable than peak efficiency ratings.
2. Peak efficiency: It is the performance of an inverter at optimal power output. The maximum point for an inverter is shown in peak efficiency and this is regarded as a criterion for its quality and performance. Simply speaking, it is DC input to AC output when the inverter is operating at rated capacity. Some of the best inverters may have 99% peak efficiency, but this is not the final consideration of inverter efficiency.
3. European efficiency: It is the weighted number considering how often an inverter will operate at different power outputs. This rating is considered more accurate as it considers the performance of an inverter at different outputs. After this, let’s explore off grid inverter vs hybrid inverter how long lasting they are.
Also Read: Solar Inverter Vs Normal Inverter- What are the Differences?
What is Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter Lifespan? Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter How Long Lasting are They?
The lifespan of a PV module system is around 20–40 years and sometimes with proper maintenance they even last for about 50 years. However, this is the basic lifespan of photovoltaic panels (solar panels), and this can also vary depending on the type of solar panels used. As for solar inverters, this is not the case because they usually do not last that long. Usually, solar inverters have a lifespan of 10–15 years but with proper care, they tend to stay fit longer.
Off-grid inverters tend to have an average lifespan of about 10–15 years after which you need to replace them. On the other hand, hybrid solar inverters are also a type of string inverter and have almost the same lifespan of 15–20 years. This is the difference between an off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter lifespan. After this, let’s learn about off grid inverter vs hybrid inverter price.
Note: The lifespan of inverters depends on their model, manufacturer, and brand. The time period mentioned here is solely estimated and general. We do not target any specific solar inverter manufacturer or brand.
Also See: How Long Do Solar Watches Last?
What is Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter Price?
After learning about off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter lifespan, know about its price. The cost of an inverter is a major factor that increases the overall cost of setting up a solar power system. But being an essential component of a solar power system, you cannot neglect the solar inverter. However, an off-grid solar inverter may cost around 25% to 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system.
Off-grid solar inverters cost around $900 to $1000. However, their price can increase with an increase in their efficiency and wattage. Whereas hybrid solar inverters accompanied by inbuilt batteries and other functions to handle double power (grid and solar panels) sources are a bit expensive. Based on their types, their cost ranges between $1000 and $1800.
Note: Costs mentioned here are estimated on average. The cost of inverters is subject to change depending on location, brand, efficiency, manufacturer, and other factors.
Also See: On Grid Vs Off Grid Vs Hybrid Solar – Which is Best?
What are the Advantages of Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter?
After understanding the reason behind off grid inverter vs hybrid inverter price, here is a list of advantages of Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter.
1. Off-Grid Inverter Advantages
1) Battery backup: Off-grid inverter stores energy produced by panels into batteries. They serve as a power backup at night and on days when there is insufficient power production.
2) Complete independence from grid: Your freedom from grid connection serves as a benefit for you. Power outages and other grid-related issues are no longer your concern.
3) Saves money: Installing a solar panel system is expensive but with off-grid inverter you can save money spent on electricity bills. With no connectivity to the main power line and grid, you will not receive any monthly electricity bill. It is interesting to learn about off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter advantages.
Note: In some regions, going completely off the grid is considered illegal. We do not recommend any such activity. Please gather prior and complete information about local and state laws, then proceed with such connectivity.
Also Read: 5 Major Advantages of Solar Street Light
2. Hybrid Inverter Advantages
1) Constant power supply: Storage batteries connected with an inverter store optimum amounts of solar energy. This stored energy serves as a backup in times of power outages and days with insufficient solar power harvesting due to cloudy weather. Except for a basic hybrid inverter because it does not have a grid isolation device
2) Proper renewable resource optimization: Hybrid inverters convert DC to AC and transfer it to the grid and the remaining energy goes into the battery. After the battery is completely charged, excess power supplied from panels is then fed into the grid. And this is used especially in times of inadequate solar power generation. This way, not a single unit of solar power is wasted.
3) Low maintenance: In comparison to traditional inverters, a hybrid solar inverter requires considerably less maintenance. With no fuel involved, it reduces carbon footprint to a large extent plus there is no need for frequent servicing.
Also See: 3 Amorphous Solar Panels Advantages and Disadvantages
What are Disadvantages of Off Grid Inverter Vs Hybrid Inverter?
A wise decision is not the one made by looking at off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter advantages. But for the right decision one needs to consider both the good and bad aspects of both inverters.
1. Off Grid Inverters Disadvantages
1) No backup power source: Off-grid solar panels are connected to a battery only there is a possibility of a lack of any backup power sources. At night there is no power supply from the panels and if the battery is exhausted you may face power issues.
2) Completely rely on batteries: Without any backup or extra power source, an off-grid solar inverter is completely dependent on batteries. Without batteries, there will not be any supply of power to appliances.
3) Costly with high installation cost: The inclusion of batteries increases the initial installation costs. Usually, inverters are expensive but with batteries, their overall costs increase. Also, the price of batteries and inverters increases with the increase in their efficiency.
Also Read: 5 Disadvantages of Solar Water Pumping Systems
2. Hybrid Inverter Disadvantages
1) Expensive than standard inverters: Several components (protection devices) are essentially installed with hybrid inverters. To establish a dual connection several connectors, plugs, safety switches, devices, and wiring are required, and all this increases the upfront cost of a hybrid inverter. Including the cost of solar batteries, the overall installation cost gets more expensive.
2) Requires more space: With a battery included along with other components, a hybrid inverter requires more space for the entire solar panel system
3) Short lifespan of batteries: Solar batteries have a considerably longer lifespan than regular batteries but require replacement after 10–15 years. The time period for replacement increases or decreases depending upon the type and maintenance of the battery.
Also See: 5 Major Disadvantages of Hybrid Inverter
Which is Better Hybrid or Off-Grid Inverter?
Well, this depends on some factors like your energy requirements, budget, type of norms regarding grid connection in your region, and space available. Both inverters are suitable for residential and commercial applications. Mobile applications receive warnings from inverters in case of problems or power surges.
If your region faces more power-related issues and there are no such restrictions related to going completely off-grid. In such a case, off-grid inverters are best as they give you complete independence from power-related issues. You can connect it to a normal generator for alternate power sources.
But in case you are unsure of your power requirements and cannot go completely off the grid due to rules, plus budget is not a restriction. You can go for a hybrid inverter as it gives you a constant power supply. It automatically converts the connection from the grid to the battery, from panels to the grid, and from the battery to the grid/panels without any human interference. However, in either inverter, you can monitor the amount of power generated and used on a daily basis.
So, today you learned about various specifications related to off grid inverter Vs hybrid inverter. Along with their efficiency, price, lifespan, and working of hybrid and off-grid inverters. Now you know which is better hybrid or off-grid inverter depending on certain factors. Do you already have a solar inverter? Which one do you have off grid or hybrid? We would love to hear your reviews about it. Who knows it serves as a deciding factor for a potential solar inverter customer.
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