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How Does a Hybrid Solar System Work?

Hybrid solar systems are hybrid power systems that combine the photovoltaic system with another energy source. However, the term “ hybrid solar panels” refers to solar and battery storage connected to the grid systems.

How does a hybrid solar system work?

Hybrid photovoltaic systems have the advantage that it is not necessary to significantly oversize the solar generator for periods of low irradiation. It represents a considerable cost saving. The system always uses the energy produced by the module as a priority.

These systems have batteries for isolated locations and a backup power generator set, starting if the energy obtained is not enough.

Hybrid solar systems generate power in the same way as a standard grid-tie solar system. The most common combinations of hybrid solar energy are:

The most economical hybrid solar system uses a simple hybrid inverter that contains a solar inverter and battery inverter/charger.

In the absence of the sun, the inverter will use the energy exclusively from batteries or will be able to take power from the public grid. It depends on the energy consumption.

What Is a Wind-solar Hybrid System?

A wind-solar hybrid system is a system that combines the power of solar energy and wind energy.

The best way to reduce fossil fuel consumption is using this kind of system.

These sites are often off-grid solar systems used in remote locations,  and diesel transport over long distances is expensive. The mining sector and on the islands often use this solar hybrid system.

Wind power and solar energy complement each other. Peak operating times for each system occur at different times of the day and year.

These hybrid solar installations' power generation is more constant and fluctuates less than the two-component subsystems. If the grid connection is accessible, it can be connected to the electricity grid. In this way, it is possible to sell the excess power produced. The inconvenience is that it only has the ability to store solar energy using battery systems.

Hybrid energy solutions make it possible to minimize CO2 emissions that incentivate climate change. It happens because the generator set becomes a backup power source, running when needed instead of the 24-hour customarily used.

In this way, we reduce energy consumption since we obtain energy from renewable and unlimited sources. Being connected to the electrical network is not essential, and therefore, consumption is reduced.

Solar Panels with Diesel Generators

A common type is a hybrid solar system combining a diesel engine with a photovoltaic system. This type combines photovoltaic (PV) and diesel solar power generators, or diesel generator sets. Photovoltaic energy production has an almost marginal cost. Consequently, it is treated with priority in the network.

Many facilities without grid power connections adopt this sort of system. In some cases, we can use diesel generators in case of power outages.

It is often a viable option to include battery storage. The battery is helpful because of the fluctuation of solar energy and the limited range of a generator. The battery sizing must be thought to serve and optimize the photovoltaic solar panels' contribution to the hybrid systems.

Hybrid Solar Photovoltaic and Thermal Systems

These systems work combining PV cells with thermal production 

One of the problems with solar PV is that the solar panels get hot. This heat is lost energy but also causes the performance of the PV cells to drop.

A hybrid solar panel puts the panel in contact with a refrigerator. However, it is much more beneficial if the heat taken from the refrigerator is stored in a thermal accumulator.

Hybrid solar panels allow generating electrical energy and thermal energy in the same solar panel. Those systems can store excess solar energy easier using thermal tanks. This type of renewable energy is ideal for single-family homes.

Uses of Hybrid Solar Systems 

Hybrid solutions are designed for locations with power grid problems, lack of power, or regular grid outages. These systems can be applied in different situations, for instance:

  • From use for infrastructures, such as livestock applications with continuous high energy consumption

  • Industrial applications

  • Isolated residential (shelters) or rural electrification.

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Published: May 13, 2015
Last review: April 9, 2021