Hybrid inverter features to save on your electrical bill

Hybrid inverters are not simply grid-connected solar inverters with storage. They offer much more than the ability to charge from either the grid, solar, or both. True hybrid inverters, such as the Deye Inverter, Sunsynk inverter, and Goodwe inverter, are a popular choice for residential and small commercial solar solutions in South Africa.

What sets these inverters apart is their seamless power management, which maximizes the efficiency of a solar solution by utilizing battery storage for self-consumption and backup. They also have the capability to export power to non-essential loads or even to the grid, ensuring optimal utilisation of the installed solar panel capacity.

One of the key features of these inverters is their battery storage management.

Users have the option to set the storage for backup power only in the event of a grid failure where the total storage capacity is kept for backup purposes. Alternatively, you can allocate a certain percentage of the storage for self-consumption, while using the remaining balance for backup. This setup helps increase savings on power purchased from the grid.

Hybrid Inverter Funtionality

The backup-only system setup

This commonly used in situations where the battery capacity is smaller or only sufficient to maintain the essential loads and solar production is only capable of maintaining the battery’s state of charge (SOC) and powering the load. For instance, in a residential installation using a 5KW inverter with a 5kw battery capacity has an average essential load of around 900W, the battery capacity would provide power for over 4 hours during load shedding without solar production this will increase with solar production. The essential loads on this example typically include lights, plug points, appliances like a TV and fridge, Wi-Fi, security systems, and laptops. Depending on usage, it may even be possible to include a kettle and microwave with moderate use.

Setting the system for Self-consumption

Self-consumption systems allow for the use of stored power in batteries to either power or supplement loads. In cases where solar power alone is insufficient to meet the load requirements, a certain percentage of battery capacity can be utilized to reduce reliance on grid power.

During normal grid operation, instead of drawing power from the grid, the batteries can be used to power or supplement both essential and non-essential loads. Once the predetermined depth of discharge is reached, the grid takes over to power the loads, while the remaining battery storage is reserved for backup power.

There is also an option to power only essential loads. This setting is suitable when the number of installed panels is just enough to charge the batteries and meet the essential load requirements. Savings in this setup typically be less, depending on the system size and consumption habits but can be cheaper than a system designed to export power.

Exporting Excess production the non-essential loads

This setting involves exporting excess solar production capacity to non-essential loads. After the batteries are fully charged and essential loads are powered, any surplus solar power can be used to supplement non-essential loads such as pool pumps or geysers. By installing timers to activate non-essential loads during peak solar production times, additional savings can be achieved. In cases where the solar production is 5KW, the essential load draw is 1KW, and the non-essential draw is 6KW, the system will utilize 5KW from solar production or solar production and batteries, while draw the remaining 2KW from the grid.

The amount of storage and individual usage profile will determine the potential savings, ranging from 30% to nearly 100% of power used from the grid. In such cases, the grid serves as a backup to your solar solution, only drawing power from the grid if there is insufficient sunlight or storage capacity to power your load and charge the batteries.

Note : you can use both PV production and additional battery storage to export to the non-essential loads.

Exporting to the grid.

The inverters also have the option to export power to the grid, the option to export power may not be available or allowed in your area but it offers a significant advantage for those who can utilize it. With this option, the inverters have the capability to sell or export excess power generated by the solar panels back to the grid. This means that any surplus power can be sent to the grid, providing a credit for the user.

By exporting power to the grid, the solar panels can not only charge the batteries and power essential and non-essential loads, but also contribute any additional power to the grid. This can result in substantial savings without the need to increase the battery storage capacity.

In this situation the grid serves as a backup to the solar solution in times where there is insufficient PV power to charge the batteries or power the loads. This ensures a reliable and uninterrupted power supply.

It is important to note that this is just a basic overview of how true hybrid solar solutions operate. For more detailed information and to find the best system for your needs, it is recommended to check the specific inverters for additional features like system work mode that have a time of use settings to further optimise saving from you hybrid solution.

Full hybrid solutions Like the Deye, Sunsynk inverter solution are recommended for residential and small commercial installations where backup and savings are required.