Ever since the large-scale power outage that occurred on the 25th of May, during which 375 000 households were affected in Brisbane, we have seen an ever-increasing interest in both Off grid and Hybrid solar systems.
There is nothing worse than being without electricity. Especially when you have solar panels on your roof. The future of independent electricity is going to be based on battery storage. The key is understanding what the options are and how these will meet your needs now and into the future.
So which option is right for you?
Essentially it boils down to two solutions:
1. Hybrid Solar Systems and
2. Off Grid Solar Systems
Again, the key to remember is that both these solutions are connected to one or more battery storage units. The batteries are there to provide electricity after the sun goes down and the solar is no longer producing.
The main difference between a Hybrid solar system and Off Grid solar system is simply whether or not you stay connected to the grid. An Off-grid solution means exactly that; your household will no longer be connected to the main electricity supply. Or it may never have been in the first place. This means it is crucial that you have a back up generator connected and ready to turn on should you ever drain your batteries overnight or experience a fault with the solar.
Off Grid Solar systems are truly independent. This is why the need for a backup generation system and this adds an extra cost to the installation. If the backup generator is set up to be an automated change over this will come at further cost. So it is important to identify the right solution from end to end.
For this reason alone, for most residential properties often a correctly sized hybrid solution is instead the smarter option.
If a hybrid system is designed correctly, you will still be connected to the main electricity grid but you may never actually need to draw electricity from it. In some cases, you will actually use the grid to your advantage and sell back any excess power that is generated during the day once your storage is full. Although still connected to the grid (for risk management assurance) you can still be independent from it.
Selling this excess back can then cover the daily grid connection costs. You will essentially stay connected to the grid for free. This connection is now a safety net should your solar system ever fail or should your daily usage ever spike for a short period of time. The grid will always be there as your safety net and so there is no need for a generator.
But what if we get another power outage?
Hybrid systems also have the ability to continue to run dedicated circuits should the main grid fail, unlike a normal grid connected solar system which will completely turn off should the connection to the grid be lost.
This means, depending on the inverter used and if the system has been designed / installed correctly, that during a power outage you will still have power to your fridges and all essential items as well as the ability to use normal lighting and not have to resort to lighting candles throughout the house to get around.
A Hybrid solar system is also a far cheaper solution then a complete off grid set up, and can be installed in stages instead of needing to outlay the total cost all at once.
The future of home electricity production and storage is all about solar + batteries. Whilst solar has taken off and will continue to grow, the battery / hybrid solution is gradually taking traction as people take control over their electricity independence.
If you would like to find out more about Hybrid Solar of Off Grid Solar then give us a call.