Ever wondered what a solar hybrid inverter is and how it differs from a regular inverter?

The world of solar energy can be confusing. From solar panels to battery storage systems, the solar generation options available to households are expanding. One area that’s seen a particular growth over the last few years is solar inverters, thanks to newer hybrid capabilities.

In this article, we’ll deep dive into the complex world of solar hybrid inverters. An we will explaine how they work, the benefits, and whether they are worth installing.

Solar hybrid inverter operation mode

What is a solar hybrid inverter?

Essentially, a hybrid solar inverter is a solar inverter and battery inverter combined into one model. This means that this inverter can both convert the sunlight into electricity. Also it can convert energy stored within solar rechargeable battery into electricity for use in the home.

You can use this charge controller to transfer the extra power back to the grid. Instead of shutting down completely, this solar hybrid inverters for home can go into standby mode if any problems emerge.

The PROS of hybrid solar inverter

Constant Power Supply

A hybrid solar power system, with the aid of storage batteries that are connected to the inverter, provides an uninterrupted power supply. In case of an electricity outage, the batteries function as an inverter and provide backup.

Optimal Utilisation of the Renewable Resource

A battery system connected to a hybrid system ensures maximum utilisation of the abundant solar radiation on bright sunny days. Therefore, such a system results in optimal usage of solar radiation by storing energy on sunny days and using the stored power when there is an overcast.

Low Maintenance

A hybrid solar inverter is a low-maintenance system, especially compared to traditional sources of energy.

The CONS of hybrid solar inverter

Supplemental Add-ons or modifications for an Existing solar panel systems

If you currently have a solar panel system and plan to incorporate a battery, an AC-coupled battery with an inverter is an option. A hybrid scheme will entail extra labour and cost because your solar panel system currently has a grid-tied inverter.

Costly installation

The addition of a hybrid inverter plus batteries to your current system is likely to fetch a higher price than installing a grid-tied solution.

If you have regular power outages or want to use a battery for savings on your utility bill, the extra expense may be a beneficial investment. The conventional grid-tied solar system may be an affordable choice if your power grid is reliable in your area and your utility company offers a favourable net metering incentive.

How does a solar hybrid inverter differ from a regular inverter?

Where a regular inverter, whether it be string (most common) or battery (used for energy storage) can only convert energy for one type of system, a hybrid inverter combines these two functions to allow for use in multiple systems.

A hybrid inverter can still generate power in the same way as any other kind of inverter. Its standout feature however, is that it already has built-in connection for energy storage systems. This means that if a household already has a battery, it can connect to that system straight away, as well as the panel system.

Why do you need an inverter?

An inverter is needed to help convert the electricity generated by solar panels into energy compatible for household use and storage ability. This is because solar panels create direct current – DC – energy whereas household appliances generally run off alternating current – AC – electricity. Therefore, without an inverter, the energy generated from a solar panel is practically useless in the home.

What can you do with a hybrid solar inverter?

Since a hybrid solar inverter is combining the functions of two separate systems, there are a few notable things it can do that a regular inverter can’t. Some functions you may find in a hybrid inverter include: grid-tie mode, hybrid mode, backup mode and off-grid mode.

Solar hybrid inverter function

Please note, not all inverter manufacturers will include these specific features in each of their models.

  • Grid-tie Mode: This is a function that allows the hybrid inverter to default to simple solar inverter operations. In this mode, battery features are switched off.
  • Hybrid Mode: Under this option, the inverter defaults to battery operation, working to help support the storage of excess solar energy during the day for use in the evening.
  • Backup Mode: This allows the inverter to act as a backup power source during grid outages. Generally, this feature allows the system to automatically switch itself to this mode if an absence of grid power is detected. This is a less common feature among hybrid inverters.
  • Off-grid Mode: As the name suggests, this feature allows the inverter to operate as its own power source and provide independence from the grid. It uses its own power to generate solar energy, power the home and charge any battery systems. Only a select few hybrid inverters come with this feature.

Should I get a solar hybrid inverter?

Ultimately, this decision comes down to the needs of your solar system and home energy usage. If you’re installing a solar power system for the first time, it might be worth looking into a solar hybrid inverter as a means to future-proof your panel system. This way there is some flexibility should you decide to add a battery system later on.

If you aren’t interested in battery storage you can still get everything you need for your solar system from a standard string inverter. Going with this option however, may just mean that you’ll need additional inverters or equipment, should you decide to add a battery system down the track.

Before making any purchase decisions it is best to get in contact with a licensed solar installer who can evaluate the energy needs of your home and help you choose the inverter that’ll make the most of your solar energy. They can also take into consideration your budget and solar energy goals and suggest an inverter that meets these needs.

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