What is a Hybrid Solar System?
Did you ever have a thought of “what if in the mere future with this ever-increasing energy demand a day comes where one-day electricity goes and never comes back!”
Well I know this sounds so scary!!
At many locations especially in summer, we often experience frequent power cuts and yes we know how irritating it is! But do you know why is this mostly in summer? Well, it’s because the power demand exponentially increases as compared to the production.
But we can avoid this, by shifting to renewable energy sources and the solar energy system proves to be the most reliable and durable option of all.
Going for the grid solar power is a good choice until you realise grid failure can halt your connection. Then one might think of an off-grid solar energy system as a good option, but what if we have consecutive cloudy days and the solar battery gets exhausted?
Well, With the developing prominence and exploration of solar-based energy, a framework known as a hybrid solar power system with benefits of both on-grid and off-grid system has been developed.
In this article, we have defined all about hybrid solar energy system, their components, pros and cons and also a comparative analysis to choose between grid, off-grid and hybrid systems.
Components of the hybrid solar system:
A hybrid energy system combines the on-grid and off-grid components. The following components are used while installing the hybrid solar system at your home or a commercial location:
1. Solar Panel: Solar panel forms the base of the solar energy system without this powerful solar radiation cannot be extracted and used. The solar radiation in the form of photons falls on the solar panel and generates electricity in the form of DC energy.
2. Direct Current Distribution Box(DCDB): DCDB is a combiner box, its primary function is to combine the multiple strings of solar panels into one. This box consists of protection components such as a miniature circuit breaker(MCB), fuse, and surge protection device.
3. Charge Controller: This component is assembled with the solar battery to control the amount of charge streaming into the battery. The major task of the controller is to regulate the flow of charges and prevent the battery from over or undercharging, thus increasing the lifespan of the solar battery.
4. Hybrid Inverter: The inverter is an essential component of the solar energy system, it helps in converting the generated DC energy from the solar panel or solar battery into usable AC energy. The inverter offers monitoring of the energy spent, received, consumed or stored in the battery; it helps in monitoring the performance of the solar panel as well as the solar battery.
5. Alternating Current Distribution Box (ACDB): The primary function of the ACDB is to protect the appliances from any fault that occurs in the hybrid inverter, it consists of protective appliances such as a miniature circuit breaker(MCB), fuse, and surge protection device.
6. Solar Battery: For off-grid and hybrid solar systems, solar batteries play an important role to store the surplus energy produced during the sunny day and is retrieved later during cloudy weather or night when the solar panel is not able to produce a sufficient amount of power. For renewable energy systems, rechargeable solar batteries such as lithium or lead-acid batteries are recommended.
Working of hybrid solar system:
When solar radiations in the form of photons are incident on the solar panel, direct current(DC) is generated using the photovoltaic principle. The DC energy generated depends on the solar radiation intensity.
1. This generated DC energy is fed into the charge controller which helps in regulating the amount of power to be supplied to the solar battery.
2. Depending on the power requirement by different appliances, the inverter draws energy from these batteries and converts it into a usable alternating current.
3. This generated AC energy is supplied to different loads through the wiring system.
4. When the solar battery is fully charged then the solar panel supplies the surplus generated DC power through the inverter and net meter to the utility grid connected and gets paid for this surplus power.
5. The stored energy in the solar battery is retrieved during the non-sunny day or at night depending on the requirement.
1. Reduced grid dependency
2. Hybrid inverters come with backup power capacity thus providing uninterrupted power under any circumstances. It allows consumers to consume power from grid, battery or solar.
3. It can be used as an off-grid solar energy system in case of power failure.
4. Can retrieve stored energy during cloudy weather or peak evening time (when tariff rates are high) thus saving the electricity bills.
1. Higher and complex installation cost
2. Increase maintenance costs due to periodical replacement of batteries.
3. Backup power build only for running critical loads, support is not provided to all the appliances.
What happens when a power outage occurs?
During daytime when the solar panel is in operation and suddenly if the grid failure occurs the solar power system won’t shut down. Instead, the system will isolate the grid supply and switch on to the solar battery system, it will retrieve the required power for all the appliances from the battery stored energy.
During the power outage, one must take care that the power consumed by all the appliances must be less than the inverter wattage.
Note: In a hybrid energy system when a solar panel is not capable of generating sufficient power during the cloudy day to cater power to all the loads, the system draws the power from the utility grid-connected and needs to pay only for that consumed electricity. In the event during sunny days when the solar panel produces more power than required by the load, the surplus power can be supplied to the utility grid and can get paid for the same.