This article will cover of all you need to know about Hybrid Inverters.
From cars to household pens, the word Hybrid gets thrown around a lot in modern times. If you are getting solar in 2022 we recommend future proofing your system with a “Hybrid” inverter. Just about every non battery customer we come across would like to reserve the right to integrate battery storage in the future. Contrary to what many a salesman will tell you, very few inverters are truly “battery ready” Technically any old inverter can have an AC coupled battery added. This form of battery is great for the early adopters in solar due to the fact that it’s the only option they have. AC coupling however comes with its share of setbacks… It’s not the most efficient form of charging considering your panels make DC electricity. Which your Solar-inverter then converts into AC power for your house to consume. Unfortunately, we lose a little bit of our generated power in this conversion. After the Solar-inverter has converted DC electricity to AC electricity an AC-coupled Battery-inverter then needs to repeat this AC/DC conversion process 2 more times, resulting in further losses.
AC Coupled Batteries
As mentioned above, an AC-coupled battery requires an extra Battery-inverter. This means Western Power need to approve the extra inverter capacity. Due to the high uptake of solar in certain suburbs this extra inverter approval is far from a certainty. Many homes unknowingly have used up there allowable inverter capacity on their existing PV systems. As a result could find out the hard way that they can’t integrate an AC-coupled battery. As solar installations continue to grow it’s a real possibility that these approvals could become harder to come by.
Hybrid Inverters and DC coupled batteries!
So, what’s the alternative? HYBRID INVERTERS! Very few retailers are quoting Hybrid inverters at this stage. We at Positive Energy Solutions believe the reason behind this is because a cheaper, non-Hybrid inverter is an easier sell for a salesman. It is as simple as that! At Positive Energy, we are consultants with your best interests at hand. No sales training for us. A Hybrid inverter like Huawei, the Sungrow Hybrid, the QCELLS Q-Core or the new Fronius GEN24+ differ from all other standard inverters on the market. As they are a Solar inverter with an additional built in DC charger to match.
What does this mean? With an AC-coupled battery and a standard Solar inverter the greatest amount of panels you can have on a 5kW inverter is 6.6kW. On top of this we have had several customers lose their Synergy feed in tariff because of the additional Battery inverter. Plus, as above, there is an efficiency reduction given the many DC/AC, AC/DC DC/AC conversions. A Hybrid inverter can charge your battery much more efficiently as there is only one conversion as opposed to 3. On top of this Western Power are not able to easily prevent the addition of a DC-coupled battery and extra panels. This is because the DC side of things has nothing to do with the Western Power network. Finally, a Hybrid inverter with a battery gives the owner the luxury of having a feed in tariff with more than 6.6kW of panels. (On a 5kW Hybrid inverter) allowing up to 10kW of panels! This is because we can both oversize the AC side of the Hybrid inverter (power for the home) and the DC side of the Hybrid inverter (power to the battery). To summarise, with a 5kW Hybrid Inverter there currently is no potential loss of the feed in tariff. No potential approval dramas in terms of adding a battery to an existing Hybrid inverter. And on top of all this, you can have up to 10kW of panels on a 5kW Hybrid inverter and still keep the Synergy feed in tariff! In an ideal & sunny world this allows you to run your home during the day from the panels. Whilst at the same time charging a large battery to look after your night time energy needs. And on top of that any further excess generated power is still going to be purchased by Synergy!
Why is no one else quoting me a Hybrid?
That part is easy. Hybrid inverters and their benefits take longer to explain, and they cost more. Long story short, your typical salesman tends to simply want your signature on the dotted line in the quickest possible way so he can get paid. We on the other hand want what’s best for you. So if it’s within budget, do yourself a favour and go for a Hybrid inverter in 2022. AC-Coupled
- Less efficient because of many DC-AC / AC-DC / DC-AC conversions
- Battery is more expensive because of the built-in battery inverter
- Good for retrofitting on to existing systems. However; if you’re installing a new system today, it’s best to think ahead and get a proper battery-ready Hybrid Inverter. So you can DC-couple a battery
- More efficient; only 1 conversion
- Battery is more affordable; no built-in battery inverter required
- Can ‘supersize’ the array because of simultaneous AC output & DC battery charging