It is the big question. Why opt for a hybrid solar system over its non-hybrid counterparts?
First things first: Hybrid solar systems aren’t necessarily a cost-effective alternative to solar systems. The costs involved in going hybrid comprises not just the battery, but also the upgrade to a hybrid inverter and consumption monitor. You also need to take into account labour and programming costs, and the margin your installer would have on the system. Although battery prices have reduced over time, other components of the system continue to be a major expense.
Investing in a hybrid system upgrade typically costs $10-$13k, providing 9.3kWh to 13.5kwh of usable storage. In a hypothetical situation where you use the battery to its full capacity every day, you stand to save approximately $1.1 daily. At this rate, you can expect a return on investment in 10,000 days, or 27 years. Even if you discount the fact that by feeding into a battery you are not earning that feed in tariff, it would still result in at least a 13 year payback period, or more likely 16 to 17 years when you take into account the degrading useful storage capacity of the battery over that period of time. Realistically speaking, your batteries won’t last long enough for you to recover the cost of setting it up.
When clients come to us for advice on installing a hybrid system, our approach is to first determine their motivations for opting for this system. If the motivations are primarily economic, we recommend opting for a non-hybrid solar system instead, or a bigger solar system which would be more expensive but will give you more monetary returns too.
Hybrid solar systems are a better solution for businesses and households that need automatic back up power if the grid fails, especially if they use important medical equipment making it more critical to have that emergency back-up power. It must be noted here that most hybrid solar systems don’t provide back-up power. Instead, they support self-consumption. Having a big battery there does not automatically mean you will be able to use it if the mains power is cut.
This is one of the reasons why we use the SolarEdge hybrid StorEdge inverter, DC coupled with a high voltage, high efficiency LG Chem Resu battery when installing hybrid solar systems. When installing this system, we wire in a secondary back up circuit into your switchboard, so the automatic back-up circuit kicks in when the grid fails to power your lights, fridge, TV, phone, internet and any other critical appliances.
However, the system won’t support air conditioners, washing machines/tumble dryers etc., since they can overload the capacity of the battery or inverter, rendering them incapable of supplying power to these devices when they attempt to run on back-up power. The SolarEdge/LG Chem combination produces strong results, and is definitely the way to go if you are looking at a good hybrid solution that provides you with that back-up power you need.
For more information, or for a quote, please contact us at Total Solar Solutions by filling out the contact form, and or of our expert consultants will be in touch.