Hybrid Solar Power System Components
Generate solar power using your available shade free roof area.
Your smart inverter converts DC to AC power ready to use in your home & manages power storage autonomously.
Power storage enables you to use solar power day or night.
Check and control your system from your smart phone or tablet. Sophisticated alerts & real time data at your finger tips.
What Components make Hybrid Solar Power System?
Hybrid Solar Power Rebates
Small Technology Credits (STCs)
Solar power systems receive STC rebates (from the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator) at the point of sale. This is based on your system size on the date of installation. At the current value of $31 per STC, the rebates for each system size are shown below.
5kW System (82 STCs)
10kW System (165 STCs)
15kW System (248 STCs)
Hybrid Solar System Design
Hybrid Solar power systems enable you to either use or store your solar energy in battery bank on site using the main electricity grid to charge low batteries at off peak times.
A hybrid solar power system comprises of solar panels, mounting system, an inverter, a management unit and a battery bank. The management unit can be programmed to best coordinate your energy demands. It coordinates the supply of your home with solar power whilst keeping the battery bank topped up, charges the batteries if low on overnight on off peak rates and or combining the battery storage with the solar power system for use in peak rate periods.
The Hybrid system is the most flexible solar power system yet, allowing those who are not at home through the day to still take advantage of solar opportunities. This system allows you to be as self sufficient as possible with the main grid as back up, to never pay peak electricity rates again and to be independent in times of a black out.
This type of system requires careful assessment of energy requirements and times of use to create an individual system to accurately and consistently meet your power needs.
Soaring peak demand has caught our electricity networks unprepared, leading to dramatic price increases over the past few years and more increases to come. With a Hybrid solar power system not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint but you will be also reducing the peak load on our electricity network whilst being as independent as possible.
All systems are designed to meet individual needs. Careful assessment of your power needs is essential to design the right system for you as is the ongoing management of your power consumption which includes the use of low energy devices wherever possible. Assess your current energy demand using our Energy Load Sheet
Be as self sufficient as possible with the grid as a back up, enjoy an uninterrupted power supply and eliminate peak rate power usage from your utility bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hybrid solar power system?
A Hybrid system is a Solar Power system that has the capability to not only produce energy but store it for use at a late period. Generally when talking about a solar hybrid it is consider that the system would also still remain connected to the grid for additional energy supply. A system not connected to the grid is called an Off-Grid system. Most hybrid systems will also have a device either built into the inverter or that is installed into the switchboard which monitors your energy usage and talks to your hybrid inverter so it knows when is the best time to charge or discharge the batteries.
Will my new Hybrid solar power system completely power my house?
Generally no, however a Hybrid solar installation includes a battery bank & management system in addition to the grid connected installation. Your solar power production through the day can be tailored to meet household demand and or stored in the battery bank. Power used in the house can be directly from the panels if you are home through the day or from the battery bank. The Hybrid system gives you the most flexibility to manage your overall power demands. The installation includes an intelligent management system that balances battery levels, household power usage and grid back up with out any input from the home owner.
Can I turn my grid connect system into a Hybrid system in the future?
Yes, a Hybrid system can be added to any existing system or setup as a new system.
With the benefit of planning, including potential system size and component selection, you can certainly install a typical grid connection system now and be ‘hybrid ready’ and convert a grid connect system into a hybrid at a later date.
Converting an existing grid connect system to a hybrid system will in all cases require either an additional Battery Management System or the replacement of your existing inverter with an all in one Hybrid Inverter. Whilst Hybrid inverters can be added to all systems they are best suited to systems 2kW or larger as you require enough solar to directly power your home during the day with the excess power then being stored in the batteries for use at night. Smaller than 2kW will not have much excess power to be stored.
Will I have power during a black out?
Yes, your hybrid solar power system can be designed to operate in a black out.
However whilst the uninterrupted power supply (UPS) setup is possible it isn’t standard and often needs additional contactors and hardware to isolate the system from the Grid. Most people will still lose power for a short time maybe 15 secs in a blackout so they will still have to reset clocks etc and most units have limited support to around 20A so they could only run 1 or 2 circuits in a blackout not the whole home
The batteries are only good for 1 cycle unless the sun comes out so in the case of the recent (2015) storms most people would still have a blackout after a few hours because there wasn’t any good sun to re-charge the system.
How much does it cost?
Hybrid Solar Power systems vary significantly subject to individual needs. At present they are a few new products on the market and the cost of quality battery storage is quite high so is approximately 2 or 3 times the cost of a standard similar sized grid connect system. Due to the extra components and if purchasing a US product such as the Tesla system then the exchange rate is also a consideration. We expect this to reduce as demand for this type of system increases. As always we can design a system to meet your needs and budget but it is not cheap (yet).
Is the Tesla Powerwall available?
This sleek and innovative design by Tesla has certainly raised the profile of Hybrid solar power very rapidly. In reality however there is still minimal information available on this product and critically the compatibility with other hybrid system components is not guaranteed. Despite this Tesla have reported that they have already exhausted their 2016 production capacity so we would not expect to be able to deliver this product until 2017 at the earliest.
Do I still need to use the grid if I have a Hybrid solar system?
A Hybrid solar system couples an energy storage capability whilst still being connected to the grid as a back up, so power produced through the day can be used during the peak evening period. Whilst this enables people who are not at home through the day to benefit from solar it does not mean you will be independent of the grid.
In reality most Hybrid solar systems are built around supplying 12kWh/day which means around 5kW is supplied directly from solar in day light and then the 7kW battery is used completely at night. Given that the average daily energy consumption is around 20kW, most homes will still be using the grid every day. You would have to be using less than 12kwh/day to not use the grid at all.
What are the extra Hybrid components I will need?
Hybrid systems still need solar panels and an inverter to convert the DC current to AC current for your home to utilise. The extra components include:
- A battery bank to store power for later use.
- A battery management system. This device autonomously manages your power system, delivering power required to your home, keeping the batteries with ample charge primarily with solar power and secondly with grid power at non peak times. This is a specific battery inverter/charger to use the energy from the batteries and recharge them. Some solar inverters such as the Fronius Primo can manage both tasks however most will have a separate battery inverter/charger additional to the solar inverter.
- A monitoring system. This works with the management system to to coordinate supply and storage of power for your individual home needs.
More about Hybrid Solar products
What is Superior Solar's recommendation regarding Hybrid solar?
We believe that hybrid systems are still in the early adoption stage. Superior Solar have installed a few hybrid systems mainly into rural areas where they have the additional benefits such as power during frequent blackouts to run things like water pumps and septic systems. We have also installed systems into built up areas for people who want to be on the cutting edge of technology or have had other restrictions such as not being able to export any solar to the grid.
If this isn’t you then it might be best to get yourself hybrid ready so that once the cost comes down you are ready to join the hybrid revolution. Options include:
- Consider installing a more efficient panel such as the LG Neon2 315 so that you can fit the most number of panels onto your roof in the future to have enough power to charge your batteries and who knows maybe even your electric car. For example if you can only fit 16 panels on your roof, using a 250w panel you will have a 4kW array, however if you install the 315w panels you can have a 5kW array.
- Consider installing energy monitoring to build a detailed picture of your home’s energy consumption to then design a optimum hybrid system
- Consider a Hybrid ready inverter (solar inverter and battery management system in one rather than two separate components)
- Consider installing a slightly larger inverter to allow the installation of more panels to support a battery storage system
Is a Hybrid system worth the extra cost?
Considering the above cost the return on investment is very loosely estimated at 10 years or more subject to energy use patterns. So for a straight financial consideration then you will have to stay in your home for a long period to realise this return. Some of our customers in rural areas are seeking an uninterrupted power supply primarily for emergencies such as powering water pumps in a bushfire or areas that are prone to blackouts. Others just want to support renewable energy and reduce their reliance on coal fired power. It depends on each individual circumstance to be able to determine value.
Can you explain the two types of inverters used in Hybrid systems?
There are 2 main types of Hybrid inverters. The first type of inverter is an AC coupled inverter/charger, this is an additional inverter/charger that is installed alongside your existing solar inverter to charge and discharge the batteries. This is the type of setup SMA and Selectronics offer and is available for single or 3 phase homes or businesses. The other option is to have an all in one Hybrid Inverter, this has 1 inverter for your solar panels and the batteries. We currently only offer the Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter which is only suitable for 3 phase homes or businesses.
Tell me about the different battery technology
The 2 main types of batteries available are lead acid and lithium.
Lead acid batteries are a proven technology that have been used in a range of industries for many years. They are typically a very safe battery that are available in a range of sizes and are very common in off-grid solar power systems offering large storage capacities for a reasonable price as lead acid batteries are also considered to be one of the cheaper forms of battery technology. However lead acid batteries do need to be well looked after to ensure the maximum amount of cycles (longest life) is possible. Lead acid batteries also are generally only discharged to around 40% state of charge and don’t cope well with deep discharge. They can be used in hybrid systems although if they are not carefully managed they can wear out quickly and often don’t like the type of use a hybrid system needs.
The alternative is a newer technology which is Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). This is considered to be the safest form of Lithium Iron battery. These batteries generally offer longer cycle life (longer battery life) than lead acid and are able to be quickly charged or discharged with minimal impact on the life of the battery. These batteries are also able to be discharged to 0% state of charge without permanently damaging the battery although generally manufactures recommend only discharging to around 10-30% state of charge to get the longest life out of the batteries. These are the batteries that are being using in most of the new hybrid battery options coming to the market from companies like, Tesla, Fronius, LG Chem, Samsung, Bosch to name a few.
Can I disconnect my house from the grid with a Hybrid system?
No, A Hybrid system is designed to power some of your energy load however generally they are not large enough to power your whole home for 24hrs or for multiple days if the weather is bad and there is not much solar production. To remove your home completely from the grid you will need an off-grid system with a backup diesel generator.