A hybrid energy system usually consists of two or more energy sources used together to provide increased system efficiency as well as greater availability of energy supply. The intensity of solar radiation and wind can change randomly, and electricity generated from these resources will also change randomly without any notice. With the increased amount of power generation from solar and wind, energy storage is becoming increasingly important for reasons including the availability of power, grid stability, energy management as well as demand reduction.
There are many different energy storage technologies – mechanical, pumped storage, thermal – molten salt, and chemical-batteries. Each type of storage has unique characteristics that differentiate them from others, as well as the types of power sources with which they can be integrated.
Chemical storage systems are generally battery-based systems that use chemical reactions to store and convert energy. Battery-based storage systems had been widely in use in many small to midsize day to day applications. Now Lithium ion batteries based storage systems have become the choice for large scale day to day applications.
With regularly rising and tiered utility rates more and more people are choosing to invest in hybrid solar energy systems which provide them with both stable power and energy savings. In areas where the utility grids are not stable, hybrid solar energy systems are the ideal solution currently on the market. Acting as a backup when the grid is down, and allowing owners to send excess power back to the grid when there is excess energy.
With a solar hybrid system with battery backup, the excess energy generated during daylight hours can either stored in the batteries for later use or send back to the grid. Hybrid inverters have smart electronics on board that allow the user to choose how much solar generation goes into the battery and how much goes back to the grid as well as at what times. Smart hybrid inverters also enable the customers to buy from the grid during low-cost hours and send back to the grid during high-cost hours. Solar alone cannot do this; the battery in the hybrid system is what makes this possible to do all these.
In the case of the hybrid solar PV system, both the grid and the solar array can charge the battery. The hybrid inverter allows the user to choose how much of either one will flow into the battery. Some hybrid inverter systems can connect to 3 different power sources, the grid, the solar array, and a generator. They are each controlled by the hybrid inverter and are utilized based on the user’s settings during commissioning.
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