Hybrid solar inverters are a new solar technology that combines the benefits of traditional solar inverters and the flexibility of battery inverters into a single device. Hybrid inverters are an emerging solution for homeowners looking to install a solar power system that has room for future upgrades, including a battery storage system.
What is a hybrid solar inverter?
A hybrid solar inverter is a single device that combines a solar inverter and a battery inverter to intelligently manage power from solar panels, solar batteries and the utility grid at the same time.
A conventional solar grid-tie inverter converts the direct current generated by a photovoltaic (PV) system into alternating current to power your house, which also allows excess power generation to be transferred to the utility grid. A battery inverter handles the process of converting the DC power stored in the solar battery into AC power that can be used in your home.
By combining these functions into a single device, a solar hybrid grid-tie inverter streamlines and improves the operations of the classic solar inverter. Even better, since the amount of solar power available may depend on weather and seasonality, the hybrid inverter can draw power from the grid to charge your battery storage system if needed.
What are the functions of hybrid solar inverter?
The basic purpose of an hybrid solar inverter is to convert the DC input from a solar panel into an AC output that can be used by the home. The ability to use hybrid solar inverters takes this process to a new level and includes the following benefits.
- Bidirectional DC to AC power conversion: Typically, solar cells are charged by either DC power received directly from the solar panels (DC coupling), or DC power converted from AC power by the solar inverter (AC coupling). Then in order to release this power, the inverter needs to convert the stored DC power to AC power. With a hybrid inverter and battery, one device can fulfill both roles. A hybrid grid-connected inverter can convert DC to AC to power your home, but it can also take AC power from the grid and convert it to DC to be stored in a battery for later use.
- Power Regulation: Depending on the time of day and weather patterns, solar power fluctuates as sunlight levels increase and decrease. The hybrid inverter regulates this power to ensure that the entire system operates within the desired parameters.
- Power monitoring: Solar hybrid grid-connected inverters can be fitted with solar monitoring software to measure and monitor your PV system via a display or connected smartphone app to help identify any faults.
- Power maximization: A hybrid inverter with a maximum power point tracker (MPPT) checks your solar power output and correlates it with the voltage of the batteries. This allows for optimal power output and converts DC power to the optimal voltage for maximum battery charging. MPPT ensures that your solar power system works efficiently under any conditions, such as varying amounts of solar light, solar panel temperature and electrical loads.
What are the advantages of hybrid solar inverter?
- Power Resilience: Having a solar power system doesn't always guarantee that you'll have power during a power outage. If your system uses a traditional solar grid-tied inverter, it will still automatically shut off power to the solar panel system during a power outage for safety reasons. A hybrid inverter paired with a solar cell storage system is a great solution in this case. It ensures that you have both off-grid and grid-tied capability, so you always have access to power, even during a power outage.
- Easily retrofit battery storage: A complete solar power installation can be a significant investment, especially if you add an energy storage system to the other individual components. Hybrid inverters are designed to integrate storage at any time, allowing you to forego the cost of installing battery storage from the start. You can then more easily add battery banks later while still enjoying the full benefits of solar energy now.
Simplify energy monitoring: Hybrid inverters simplify energy monitoring because you can check important data such as performance and energy production through the inverter's panel, or through a connected smart device. If your system has two inverters, you have to monitor them separately.