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Hybrid inverter

Discover what a Hybrid inverter is and how it works

Maximize the use of solar energy with a hybrid inverter, reducing the electricity intake from the grid, while optimizing the costs on your next bill

If you need to design a complete photovoltaic system, to make targeted choices and avoid mistakes, I recommend delving into the functioning of the different components of the system (inverter, battery storage, type of panels, etc.) and analyzing the habits (types of appliances and electrical devices usually used, time slots of use, etc.) as well as your customer needs.

You can certainly obtain valuable support by using a software for calculating the photovoltaic system, helping you in the sizing phase and economic analysis as well as the definition of the single-line diagram, etc.

Furthermore, if you desire intelligent management of electricity produced from renewable sources, you must plan from the beginning the type of inverter and storage batteries to use.

In this article, I will talk about the advantages of the hybrid inverter. Discover what it is, what it’s for and how it works.

What is a hybrid inverter

A hybrid inverter is an electronic device used in solar energy systems or in other renewable energy generation applications. It combines the functions of a photovoltaic inverter (used to convert the electrical energy produced by solar panels into ready-to-use household alternating current) with those of a storage inverter (used to manage storage batteries).

In other words, a hybrid inverter allows you to manage both solar energy production and energy storage in batteries. This type of inverter is designed to optimize the self-consumption of the energy generated by the solar panels, storing it in storage batteries and making it ready for use when the sun is not available (evening hours, rainy days, etc.). Furthermore, a hybrid inverter can be configured to operate in backup mode, providing emergency power in case of a power grid interruption.

The integration of these functionalities in a single device offers a more compact and convenient solution for solar energy systems with storage, allowing for more efficient management of the generated and stored electrical energy.

How it works

The operation of a hybrid inverter follows a precise operational flow that maximizes the efficiency of solar energy and optimizes its use based on external conditions. The process typically unfolds as follows:

  • morning: the hybrid inverter directs the energy produced by the photovoltaic modules directly to household utilities to meet real-time consumption. Any excess production not immediately used flows to the storage battery, if present. This phase is crucial to maximize self-consumption, minimizing the intake of energy from the grid;
  • fully charged battery: when the battery reaches its maximum charge capacity, the excess energy produced is directed to the power grid. In many situations, this surplus can be sold to the grid operator in a net metering regime;
  • evening: as the sun sets and the direct production from the photovoltaic modules decreases, the hybrid inverter comes into action. It activates the storage battery to provide energy for household needs during nighttime hours. In case the energy stored in the battery is completely depleted, the hybrid inverter automatically activates the intake of energy from the national grid. This ensures a continuous supply of energy even when direct solar production is limited or absent.

In summary, the hybrid inverter offers intelligent energy management, allowing for the optimization of self-consumption, the sale of excess energy and the continuous supply of energy. Ensuring a smooth transition between the various available sources. This process contributes to maximizing the overall system efficiency, making the use of solar energy more practical and convenient for household users.

Differences between a normal and hybrid inverter

The main difference between a normal inverter and a hybrid inverter lies in the advanced functionalities offered by the latter. A traditional photovoltaic inverter converts the direct current (DC) produced by a photovoltaic system into alternating current (AC) for household use. In fact, photovoltaic panels produce direct current, but since the household electrical system uses alternating current, the inverter’s function is to transform it into alternating current. It is necessary for this operation to be carried out with maximum efficiency and that is why the inverter’s efficiency value is one of the main parameters to consider in the choice. It can take on different forms, such as a centralized inverter for large photovoltaic parks, a string inverter for residential and commercial-scale systems, or a microinverter for smaller systems. In addition to this basic function, the photovoltaic inverter must ensure that the system operates at peak performance. The MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) system allows for obtaining the maximum producible power from the panels under certain conditions. In general, its main role is to optimize the production and intake of energy from solar panels and to automatically manage energy flows to utilities or the grid.

On the other hand, a hybrid inverter is an enhanced photovoltaic inverter that goes beyond simple current conversion. It also functions as a Battery Management System (BMS), which means that in addition to converting direct current into alternating current, the hybrid inverter intelligently manages and coordinates energy flows from the photovoltaic system, the battery and the grid through dedicated software.

The hybrid inverter offers various usage modes. It can send electricity directly to utilities for immediate consumption, store it in batteries for later use when the sun is not available or release it to the grid when the batteries are fully charged. This flexibility allows for maximizing the self-consumption of solar energy, optimizing the overall system efficiency and offering a complete solution for managing renewable energy and energy storage.

Finally, some hybrid inverters also have the EPS (Emergency Power Supply) mode or anti-blackout function, which provides electrical power to priority loads even in the absence of grid supply.

If you use a photovoltaic system software, you have the possibility to insert the specific product you have chosen in the project model during the analysis phase. In fact, you have at your disposal a rich library of dedicated objects for the representation of electrical panels, photovoltaic generators and inverters. Additionally you can insert into your 3D model, using them for project calculations and analyses. The library objects are a collection of the most common items in the world. If you do not find the model that suits your case, you can still create new custom objects or make changes to those in the library.

Sizing of a photovoltaic system with Solarius-PV

Sizing of a photovoltaic system with Solarius-PV

Advantages

The convenience of adopting a hybrid inverter focuses on the main goal of maximizing energy self-consumption. This is achieved by integrating a device of this type into a photovoltaic system with storage. This allows for fully exploiting the potential of energy self-production. Therefore minimizing the costs associated with the electricity bill.

The advantages of the hybrid photovoltaic inverter are fully realized in the presence of a storage system, which allows for storing the energy generated by the photovoltaic system but not immediately consumed. Currently, “hybrid” storage systems are also available on the market that integrate the functionalities of a hybrid inverter into a single device. This integration encapsulates all the necessary electronics in a single enclosure, improving the aesthetic aspect and reducing the overall footprint of the system. Furthermore, the unit is governed by unified software that increases overall operational efficiency.

The control software not only allows for remote monitoring of the photovoltaic system and storage batteries. But also offers the possibility of remote updates and anomaly resolutions. Further improving the reliability and management of the system.

In summary, if you are considering installing a photovoltaic system, including a hybrid inverter in the project is recommended as it is flexible and open to future developments. Especially in the case of the addition of a storage system. If the goal is to maximize energy savings over time, the ideal option is to integrate a hybrid storage system from the start. This choice will not only contribute to pursuing the goal of energy independence, significantly reducing electricity expenses. But will also have a positive impact on the environment, reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

 

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