Your Guide to Hybrid Solar Panels

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Your Guide to Hybrid Solar Panels

More and more people are becoming aware of solar panels after seeing an increasing amount on the roofs of homes and businesses

However, a term that may be new to you is “hybrid solar system.” Hybrid solar systems allow you to source energy from the grid if your panels don’t generate enough electricity to power your home. 

While it’s possible to go completely off the electrical grid, you typically need a solar battery to store backup power for use on low energy generation days. 

What Is a Hybrid Solar System?

Solar panels are placed on homes and businesses to absorb solar energy from the sun. As photons hit a solar cell, electrons are knocked loose from their atoms, which then flow to an inverter through a conduit.

However, a hybrid solar system provides additional benefits because it gives you access to the grid. Having access to the grid, a solar battery, and your panels means you’re not at the mercy of just one energy source.

Plus, hybrid solar panel systems aren’t as costly as you might imagine. They save you more money in the long run since you can earn credits through net metering (as long as your utility company offers a net metering program). 

[Related: Guide to Solar Panels]

Is a Hybrid Solar System Right for You?

Deciding to incorporate solar panels into your home or business may feel overwhelming. However, solar energy is a highly beneficial solution no matter what your goals are.

Do you want to:

  • Utilize renewable energy for your electricity needs?
  • Cut your energy bill by accessing solar energy?
  • No longer solely rely on the electrical grid? 
  • Sell back extra electricity to your utility company?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then a hybrid solar system may be right for you. 

Consider those days when it’s overcast or if it’s night time — your panels won’t have solar energy to convert into electricity. But with a hybrid solar panel system, you can still power your home or business by connecting to the electrical grid. 

Additionally, if your hybrid solar panel system generates excess electricity, it’ll flow into the grid. This earns you net metering credits through your utility and helps you save money on your monthly energy bill. 

[Related: What Is Off-Grid Solar Power?]

How Hybrid Solar Panels Are Different 

An off-grid system and a hybrid solar system work on the same basic principles by first converting solar energy into DC power through the photovoltaic (PV) effect

DC power is then either stored in a battery or runs to a solar inverter. A solar inverter converts DC power into AC power, which is what powers your home and appliances. Most solar panel owners generate more DC power than they need to power their home which is where batteries come in handy. 

There are two main methods of handling your excess energy. One option is to invest in a battery, or feed excess energy to the grid for credits. 

Both options cut down your long-term utility costs. However, depending on your personal needs, one may be more beneficial than the other. 

The difference between hybrid solar panels and an off-grid system is the electrical grid backup. If you choose an off-grid system, your electrical needs completely rely on solar energy giving you full energy independence. There is no risk of fluctuating costs or losing power from grid outages. But let’s hope your panels can generate enough power during the day for what you need.

Going off-grid greatly reduces your carbon footprint, too, but it’s not fail proof. In fact, there is no backup during cloudy days (or months, for that matter) or when your system needs servicing

Hybrid Solar System Reliability

You’ll use less grid electricity with a hybrid solar system, but still have access to the grid when you need it. While highly efficient solar panels (such as those from SunPower) will maximize the amount of energy you can produce in a day, a hybrid solar system gives you access to power on those days when the sun refuses to shine. 

Moreover, you can store and/or sell back your excess energy to lower your utility costs. If you were completely off-grid, there would be no option to send your excess energy back into the grid. 

Overall, hybrid solar systems offer stronger reliability than an off-grid system.

Hybrid Solar Panels Cost

The cost of solar panels is determined by the type of inverter you choose. There are three different kinds of inverters:

  • String inverter: The least expensive but makes it difficult to assess individual panel performance since DC electricity is routed through a single inverter.
  • Micro inverter: The most expensive because you need to attach one to each separate panel.
  • Hybrid inverter: Less expensive than a micro inverter but has similar benefits. It uses a centralized inverter with power optimizers on each panel. These optimizers tune their power output to match the inverter, which is possible through DC-to-DC converter technology. 

Can I Install My Hybrid Solar System Myself?

The short answer is yes. Is it easy? No. 

In fact, it would be a huge undertaking to research and purchase the appropriate parts to install on your own. 

So while you can do a DIY install, the more important question is whether it’s a good idea. And that answer is no. 

You’re better off relying on professionals to handle your hybrid solar system installation. Plus, when it comes to determining the right size of system and dealing with permits and inspections, an experienced professional will make sure that process is done right.

[Related: What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels]

Explore Your Solar Energy Options With Freedom Solar Power

Are you ready to invest in a renewable energy source that will save you money? Freedom Solar is here to help you acquire a hybrid solar system that will benefit you for decades to come.  

If you’re ready to make the switch to solar, contact us today. Call +1 (800) 504-2337 or complete our consultation form and one of our solar specialists will be in touch!

Featured image via Unsplash

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