If you’ve read the previous two articles then you should know the difference between On Grid and Off Grid. A hybrid system is a combination of the two. It allows the option of being tied to the grid as well as running completely off grid. This is somewhat a best of both worlds scenario. You can have the Off Grid features without having to have 3 days of storage in batteries because you have the utility company as a backup. You can also size the Off Grid panel to only power certain key items like lighting, refrigeration, ect. This could cut down on the battery bank sizing depending on what you wanted to have on the backup power panel. This type of system can also increase battery life because you aren’t fully cycling the batteries as frequently. It’s more or less taking the excess energy once the batteries are fully charged and sending that power to the grid.
There are a couple different options when designing a system like this. Say you want an On Grid style setup with micro inverters that feed a battery bank and then the grid. The batteries that are used are considered AC batteries as they are being fed the 240vac power from the micro inverters. This is a good option to keep things simplistic but it is costly. The other option is to set it up like an Off Grid system and run DC from the solar panels to the battery bank and then invert it to AC to go to the grid and/or to power an off grid electrical panel.
I have seen it all the time, people using multiple setups. They want to stay connected to the grid and do a cost effective On Grid system and then run their barns or well house completely Off Grid. It’s all up to you and the possibilities are endless.
Why would I consider a Hybrid System?
A Hybrid System gives an option to those who want to stay connected to the grid as well as an option to be able to run things Off Grid if need be. This may be a good option for those working from home or those who need electricity for medical needs or even for peace of mind. If a storm or power outage happens this type of system would keep your home, office, or building powered.
Why would I not consider a Hybrid System?
A hybrid system is going to be more complicated and more involved for the user. There are more components to become familiar with than a standard On Grid system and more internal settings you have to program for an Off Grid system. This type of system will require some kind of maintenance at some point. If a component on this system fails your backup power is down and you are losing money with your panels not producing.
You still have the expense of the battery bank which will play into figuring your return on investment. You could consider these added features as the same pricing or less than a backup generator and think of the backup portion separately when figuring return on investment.