Are you tired of grappling with power outages or high electricity bills? Do you want to take control of your energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint? If so, a hybrid solar inverter could be the solution you’ve been searching for.
A hybrid solar inverter is a device that combines the benefits of a regular solar inverter with a battery storage system. With this technology, you can store the energy generated by your solar panels and use it when you need it most, even during power outages.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into what a hybrid solar inverter is, how it works, and what benefits it can offer you. Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, or environmental enthusiast, this article will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether a hybrid solar inverter is right for you.
What Does Solar Hybrid Inverter Mean?
A hybrid solar inverter merges solar power with another energy source. It functions as a single unit. For example, a solar inverter may merge solar energy with the energy from a battery. A more green hybrid solar inverter is obtained when solar energy is combined with wind energy.
How Does A Hybrid Solar Inverter Work?
To understand how a hybrid solar inverter works, you must first understand the principle of a solar inverter. It is a vital part of the solar energy system.
- A solar inverter converts the energy created by PV panels into a form that can be used in your home. The PV panels or solar panels of a solar energy system trap the sun’s energy. Sunlight is composed of small packets of energy called photons. PV panels absorb these photons and convert light energy into electrical energy.
- The materials in the PV panels have electrons which can be knocked off from their shells when photons hit them. An example of such a material is Silicon. You should remember that all materials do not have this property.
- Once electrons photons knock off the electrons from their shells, they become free. An electric field then pulls these free electrons in the required direction. This is how it generates electricity. But, this electricity is DC.
- Now it is the job of the inverter to convert this electricity into a usable form. It uses Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) to do the job. IGBTs are solid-state devices, that is, they are solid electronic tools that allow current to pass through them. Also, they are durable and do not consume too much power.
- IGBTs are made of semiconductors and have three terminals. When they are arranged in different fashions, they cause different outputs. For this application, the manufacturers arrange IGBTs in the form of an H-Bridge.
- An H-Bridge is a type of electric circuit. It lets you apply a voltage across a load in any direction. Thus it is very flexible. It has four switches, namely, S1, S2, S3, and S4. Depending on which combination of switches you keep open or closed, the applications of H-Bridge vary.
- The H-Bridge converts DC into AC. Then it sends this power to a transformer, or specifically a step-up transformer. A transformer can work as either a step-up or step-down transformer. It depends on the direction of the current.
- A transformer has two sides. The first side is called the primary side. It is the side from which the current enters. On the other hand, the second side is known as the secondary side. The current exits from this side.
- Both the sides have coils or windings which draw and deliver current as mentioned. Once the current enters from the primary windings, the transformer converts it to magnetic energy. Then, it converts the magnetic energy into electrical energy once again as it passes through the secondary winding.
- In a step-up transformer, the number of turns of the winding in the secondary coil is much higher than that in the secondary coil. This difference in the number of turns helps the transformer function as a step-up transformer. In this way, a step-up transformer low voltage into high voltage. That said, some solar hybrid inverters do not have a transformer. Such inverters are usually more efficient.
- In addition to this, a hybrid solar inverter has a backup system. Usually, this is a battery. It helps the inverter store energy in the battery whenever there is additional energy available. It can use this energy as and when needed. Thus, it can deliver energy in case of an emergency.
- A hybrid solar inverter can also merge solar and wind energy. Additionally, it also can have a battery for backup. It manages power and shifts to solar, wind, or battery when required.
What Is The Difference Between Hybrid Inverter And Normal Inverter?
The main purpose of the inverter is to convert Direct Current (DC) into Alternating Current (AC). To do this, it obtains energy (DC) from an energy source. A normal inverter uses fuel as an energy source. On the other hand, a hybrid inverter integrates the sources of this DC. In the case of a hybrid solar inverter, one of the sources remains solar. Then it changes the DC into AC – the kind of electricity you use in your home. You cannot directly use DC energy in your home because it can be lethal.
Are Hybrid Inverters Good?
People criticise renewable energy because it is unreliable. For example, a solar energy system may not be able to deliver enough power on a cloudy day. This is because it depends on sunlight to deliver power. If it does not get direct sunlight, it would not be able to produce electricity.
Also, this is true for other renewable energy systems like wind energy systems. If there is not enough wind on some days, the wind turbine will not be able to rotate. This means that it will not be able to give electricity.
However, in feasible areas, these two technologies can be combined. In this way, hybrid inverters give reliable and consistent output. In addition to these, hybrid inverters may have battery backup. This ensures that power is more consistent.
Also, they are low in maintenance. They work in several modes and help use green energy. So, hybrid inverters are indeed a good technology.
Can A Hybrid Inverter Work Without Battery?
Yes, a hybrid inverter can work without batteries. Instead of a battery, it is connected to the power grid. Therefore, this inverter uses power from solar panels and the power grid. It is easy to maintain because there are fewer components to take care of. Also, it is not as costly as one with a battery. However, it cannot provide power in case of a blackout.
Disadvantages Of Hybrid Inverter
As with any device, a hybrid inverter has its disadvantages. These are:
- They have high costs for installation
- They are not easy to control.
- The battery life is less. This is because you have to connect the batteries to a solar panel. Thus they may be exposed to changes in the weather or climate. Hence, the weather can damage them easily.
- You cannot connect too many devices to a hybrid inverter. However, the number of devices you can connect vary from device to device.
A hybrid solar inverter is a great choice for those who care about the environment. It meets your needs without polluting nature. Also, it solves the major problem associated with renewable energy devices. Most of the time, it can deliver consistent power. However, you must also think of its disadvantages before buying one for yourself.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.