All over the world, and particularly in Australia, solar power and other renewable energy sources are gaining traction as an attractive alternative to conventional electricity generation. That makes sense since a growing global chorus is calling out for solutions to the calamity of climate change. Still, homeowners and business operators that are considering a switch to solar power have a number of options when doing so.
One of the most popular options today is the use of a hybrid solar system, which is a type of solar power installation that typically includes solar panels, a connection to the standard power grid, and batteries to store excess generation for later use. They differ from traditional grid-feed solar systems in a few important ways, making them a great option for the vast majority of applications. To elaborate here are seven advantages to having a hybrid solar system.
1. They Reduce Reliance on the Grid
Although they maintain a connection to the standard electrical grid, a properly-sized hybrid solar system can reduce or eliminate a home or other building’s reliance on the local utility company. In fact, they allow the owner to choose when to store their generated power and when to feed it back into the grid, allowing for maximum efficiency.
2. They’re Cheaper Than Off-Grid Systems
Although having a fully off-grid solar power solution may seem like a great idea, the reality is a little more complex. Off-grid solar systems must be larger, and more resilient than hybrid systems, and often include an expensive backup generation source to cover electricity shortfalls. Hybrid solar systems use the grid as the backup, so their storage is smaller and their components less costly.
3. Maintenance is Less Costly
Since a hybrid solar system is made up of smaller power storage solutions and has less generation capacity, they’re also cheaper to maintain than comparable solutions. They’re also less prone to failures since there are fewer components that can break in the first place.
4. They Overcome Solar System Size Limits
In some places, the local utility company puts strict limitations on the size of any solar power system that will have a connection to the grid. This is because the power grid wasn’t designed to accommodate multiple points of electricity feedback, so they impose restrictions to maintain stability across the grid.
5. They Work Through Grid Outages
Most people assume that any solar power system has the ability to function even if grid power fails, but that’s not always the case. Traditional grid-connected systems actually shut down when they detect a grid power failure, to prevent power feedback that can endanger repair crews. Hybrid solar systems can instead isolate themselves from the grid, allowing continuous power during a grid failure.
6. They Reduce Charges at Peak Times
Since power consumption can sometimes exceed solar generation capacity, it’s often necessary to draw power from the grid at various points. The problem is that electricity companies price their electricity higher during peak times when demand is highest. A hybrid system can be configured to use battery power during peak times and recharge on off-peak hours to keep any grid charges to an absolute minimum.
7. They’re Adaptable to Changing External Conditions
Possibly the biggest advantage of today’s hybrid solar systems is that they have the ability to adapt as electricity needs change. According to the experts at Gem Energy Solar Power, adding additional batteries to increase storage is a snap, as is reprogramming the inverter system to accommodate shifting conventional generation rates. That’s crucial when you consider that power companies can change their rate structures almost at will, making flexibility a must.
The bottom line here is that hybrid solar power systems are an excellent solution that occupies the middle ground between conventional grid-tied systems and fully off-grid solutions. In that way, they eliminate or curtail many of the weaknesses of those other types of solar systems, and do so while being future-ready and flexible. They’re a perfect option in most circumstances, especially for residential and small building installations. In short, a hybrid solar system is worth a look for anyone considering making the jump to solar power – there’s quite a bit to like and virtually no downside to be seen.