Discover how hybrid solar systems can give you the best of both worlds. I know you must be wondering what a hybrid solar system is. This innovative technology provides a sustainable and effective way to satisfy your power needs by effortlessly fusing the clean energy of solar panels with the grid’s dependability. Welcome to a future when you can benefit from solar power while still having a backup supply of electricity available after the sun goes down.
What is Hybrid Solar System?
There are basically 3 types of solar panel systems: on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid solar systems. The one attached to utility grids and the most popular across residential and industrial sectors is on-grid solar panel systems. On the other hand, off-grid solar panel systems are not connected to utility grids and are backed by battery storage. Now comes the hybrid solar system which is a mix of both on-grid and off-grid solar panels. This solar panel system is connected to the utility grid and has a battery backup too.
Hybrid solar systems are preferably installed in areas with no reliable power supply where there are frequent power outages and backups are needed. It is beneficial because it provides features of both on-grid and off-grid solar panel systems.
In principle, the working of a hybrid system is similar to an off-grid solar system, but once batteries are charged and load requirements are met a hybrid solar system is capable of exporting excess power generated to the grid. A bidirectional meter measures the net energy on the basis of energy imported and exported between the grid and the photovoltaic system.
What is Hybrid Solar System Working?
The amount of Direct Current (DC) generated by solar panels depends on the amount of solar radiation received by the panels. Generated Direct Current (DC) is transferred to charge controllers that regulate the power supplied to the battery. Energy from charge controllers then enters the inverter which converts it into Alternating Current (AC) which is useful for powering household appliances.
This alternating current is then transferred to various loads through the wiring system. Solar panels send excess generated direct current to the utility grid through an inverter and net meter. This process takes place once the batteries are fully charged by power generated by solar panels. Your utility provider will pay you for the amount of electricity fed into the utility grid from your solar panels.
In case of power shortage from solar panels or utility grids, energy stored in the batteries is extracted to meet the requirements. After this, let’s see can hybrid solar system work without battery.
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Can Hybrid Solar System Work Without Battery?
Yes, without a battery hybrid solar system would work, but it will not be termed as a hybrid. As the term relates to the dual systems on which the solar system works. Without a battery, the system will be just an on-grid solar system that is only connected to your utility grid but cannot store energy generated by solar panels. Although, energy generated in excess and unused electricity will be fed to the grid.
What is Hybrid Solar Rooftop System Components?
A hybrid solar system is accompanied by some components enabling it to give a sustainable performance. Hybrid solar rooftop system components are mentioned below:
1. Alternating Current Distribution Box (ACDB)
Its principal role is to safeguard the appliances from any issues occurring in the hybrid inverter. It is like a guard that is made up of protective components like a fuse, surge protection device, and microcircuit breaker (MCB). In a hybrid solar system, ACDB prevents hybrid inverters from malfunctioning.
What is hybrid solar system without a battery? Direct current (DC) power generated by solar panels is stored in the battery. For a hybrid solar system, rechargeable lithium or lead-acid batteries are recommended. This stored power can be either used at night or on days when there is insufficient power generation from solar panels.
3. Charge Controller
Connected to the batteries, a charge controller regulates the amount of charge flowing into the battery. Its principal work is to prevent the battery from overcharging and undercharging by managing charge flow. With a balanced amount of charging imported and exported these batteries maintain extended battery life.
4. Direct Current Distribution Box (DCDB)
Combining many strings of solar panels in a solar panel system is the principal role of a direct current distribution box. It does this by combining all the wires of a solar panel into a string that has two outputs, a negative and a positive one. A fuse, microcircuit breaker (MCB), and surge protection device are the main components of a DCDB device.
5. Hybrid Inverter
For a solar panel system, an inverter is essential which is responsible for converting direct current to alternating current. Without this, power generated by solar panels cannot be utilized by connected, unless the appliances run on direct current, which is very rare.
6. Solar Panels
Without solar panels, there is no solar panel system. They are sunlight absorbers and without them, there cannot be any power generation. Radiation from the sun falls in the form of photons on these solar panels, causing vibration in electrons present in solar cells. Free-flowing electrons generate direct electric current.
7. Racking and Mounting
To safely fix solar panels on different surfaces, mounts as well as racks are used. On the basis of the pitch of your roof relevant mounts or racks will be used for the hybrid solar rooftop panel system. You can also mount your solar panels with a ground mount and rack with more inclination than rooftop mounts for maximum sunlight exposure.
8. Electrical Wiring
To transfer power from solar panels to different components like inverters, batteries, charge controllers, or others you need electrical wires of the necessary thickness and durability. To prevent any electrical hazards proper wiring should be done.
What is Hybrid Solar System Price?
The cost of a hybrid solar system depends on various factors. However, this solar panel system tends to be slightly costlier due to the cost of batteries. The price of a 6-kW hybrid solar system may be around $12,654 including the federal tax credit. Note: This cost varies from place to place and as per the tax laws at your location.
The average cost will be around $12,000 at most places because batteries are up to $8,000 and sometimes even (depending on their efficiency). However, this is a long-term investment as you do not need to replace them for the next 10 years or even more.
The main factors determining hybrid solar system price are as follows:
1. Distance to Interconnection Point
Any unused power repurposed for net metering should be transported to the utility meter. The distance between the interconnection point with utility and solar panels matters here because the cost can be high with large distances. It depends on the conduit of installation, the size of the wire, and trenching required.
2. Energy Consumption
The number of panels also depends on the amount of energy required and your household energy consumption. You will need more panels if energy consumption is more, which means more expense.
3. Interconnection Cost
The process of connecting your solar panel system to the power grid is known as interconnection. Different types of local utility grids have different requirements that need to be followed. The type of meter to be used also depends on these requirements. It also determines whether transformer upgrades are required or not. Thus, for each project, interconnection cost is different depending on the age & strength of equipment on your line and solar array size.
4. Shading & Weather
Based on the size of the shaded area, the number of solar panels will be determined to meet your energy requirements. Less shaded areas need considerably fewer panels to produce a sufficient amount of energy. Similarly, colder regions with fewer sunlight hours and low sunlight intensity need more panels in comparison to areas with more sunlight hours.
5. Type of Installation
Roof-mounted, ground-mounted, and other installation processes are available to suit the place available for installation. Additional posts are anchored into the ground in ground mounts and carport types of installation which can increase installation costs.
6. Type of Roof
Metal, flat, or shingle rooftops are considered best for solar panel systems. But each roof type demands different installation components and varying labor levels. Pricing differs and depends largely on this factor also. Hence, the type of roof also determines what is hybrid solar system price.
7. Types of Equipment
The density and color of solar panels are two basic variables determining the type of equipment to be used. Here, density is per unit of power produced by solar panels, and the color is blue or black panels based on their type (polycrystalline and monocrystalline). As per the rule, more power-dense panels mean a higher cost per watt. Another piece of equipment is the type of inverter string, micro, or power optimizers. String inverters are cost-effective, microinverters are more expensive, and power optimizers are more costly than string inverters but not as costlier as microinverters.
What are Hybrid Solar System Advantages?
Since hybrid solar systems provide you backup from both sides, it is beneficial in the long run and in different circumstances. However, here is a brief description of the hybrid solar system advantages.
1. Better Renewable Resource Utilization
Batteries are connected to a specially designed system for storing excess power due to which there is no wastage of power.
2. Continuous Power Supply
It is a crucial advantage of hybrid solar systems over traditional solar panel systems because there is no hindrance in power supply. During power outages, energy from batteries is extracted; the rest of the time, you get power supply from solar panels.
3. High Efficiency
Hybrid solar system generators are more efficient and sustainable in comparison to traditional generators. Hybrid solar system generators are designed to efficiently generate power in all weather conditions without wasting any excess fuel.
4. Load Management
Hybrid solar power systems store energy during the daytime and use the same at night. With technological advancements, adjustments are made automatically as per the power requirements of specific devices, may it be a fan or an air conditioner. On the other hand, traditional generators provide only high output.
5. Low Maintenance Cost
Though initial installation costs may be more than traditional solar panel systems, in the long run, it turns out to be cost-effective. Since you will not be paying for generator fuels as well as there are no frequent requirements for maintenance, you will be saving in the long run. And with this what is hybrid solar system advantages come to an end.
What is Hybrid Solar System Disadvantages?
Despite a long list of advantages, there are some drawbacks to this system too. The following are hybrid solar system disadvantages.
1. Complicated Controlling Process
A hybrid solar system comprises different power outputs, and you need specific electrical knowledge to handle the process. Operation and interaction between these sources can become complicated, and you may need an expert to handle these things.
2. High Installation Costs
Several components required in the installation of hybrid solar systems increase initial costs as compared to other types of solar panel systems.
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3. Less Battery Life
Batteries connected are often exposed to extreme temperatures and weather conditions, resulting in reducing their lifespan. Though this largely depends on the location of installation, sometimes the odds cannot be eliminated.
4. Limited Number of Compatible Devices
Types and the number of compatible devices for hybrid solar systems are limited. You cannot connect every other thing to your hybrid solar system.
5. Requires More Space
Since you need to install both panels and batteries for a hybrid solar system, more space will be required. It is suitable for large roof areas. For small spaces, you need more efficient solar panels to save up some space for other components. But this on the other hand will increase initial costs as more efficient panels mean more costly.
Now you know that a hybrid solar system is one with a dual connection. Do not get confused between a hybrid solar system and what is hybrid solar rooftop system because both refer to the same thing. The only difference is the term rooftop which refers to residential and industrial rooftop systems.
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