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May 23, 2024

Pros & Cons: Hybrid Solar Inverter vs Off-grid Inverter

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This blog will examine the pros and cons of Hybrid Solar Inverter vs Off-grid Inverter, breaking down the necessary factors for customers to decide whether to buy a Hybrid Solar Inverter or an Off-grid Storage Inverter.

Hybrid solar inverters and off-grid inverters both convert DC to AC to power loads and can connect to energy storage. The key difference is grid connectivity. Hybrid inverters are grid-tied, allowing the use of solar power while staying connected to the utility grid. Off-grid inverters operate as standalone systems, independent of the electrical grid, relying solely on solar panels and batteries.

While one system may be perfect for some solar investors, it could be less than ideal for others. All systems offer benefits in their own ways. Hence, end-users need to be equipped with the necessary knowledge about Hybrid Solar Inverters and Off-grid Storage Inverters to make an informed decision when purchasing the right inverter.


What is a Hybrid Solar Inverter? How do they work?

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A Hybrid Solar Inverter is a versatile system that combines the functions of a grid-tied solar inverter and a battery inverter into one unit. Its bidirectional power conversion capability allows it to handle power seamlessly from multiple sources - solar panels, battery storage, and the utility grid. The inverter converts DC from solar panels into AC to power loads while also converting AC into DC to charge the solar batteries. A key advantage is its ability to draw from the energy storage system during outages or periods of high demand, providing reliable backup power.

For users in regions with net metering policies, the grid-tied nature of the hybrid inverter enables exporting of surplus solar power to the utility grid, resulting in cost savings. Conversely, when solar production is insufficient, the inverter can charge batteries by drawing AC power from the grid. This all-in-one design offers a compact and versatile solution, allowing homeowners and businesses to maximise the utilisation of harvested solar energy from photovoltaic modules while maintaining grid connectivity.


What is an Off-grid Storage Inverter? How do they work? 

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An off-grid storage inverter is a type of inverter designed to operate independently from the utility grid, relying solely on solar panels and energy storage systems to meet energy needs. It is optimised to work with solar batteries, where surplus solar energy harvested from photovoltaic (PV) modules can be stored to provide a consistent and reliable power supply for end-users. Off-grid storage inverters are particularly well-suited for regions with poor grid infrastructure or remote areas where grid connectivity is unavailable or unreliable. By combining solar panels with an energy storage system, these inverters offer a self-sufficient and sustainable solution for powering homes, businesses, or off-grid applications without reliance on the traditional utility grid. Their ability to operate autonomously makes them attractive to those seeking energy independence and resilience against grid outages or disruptions.


Pros and Cons of Hybrid Solar Inverter vs Off-grid Storage Inverter

Hybrid Solar Inverters

Pros:

- The hybrid solar inverter is a future-proof system that allows for expansions and upgrades as energy needs evolve. Users can initially utilise it as a traditional grid-tied inverter and later incorporate energy storage system when they decide to expand their solar setup. By investing in a hybrid inverter, homeowners and businesses can future-proof their investment, ensuring compatibility with energy storage systems down the line. This flexibility provides a path for increased energy independence and maximises the versatility of the solar system, allowing it to grow and adapt to changing energy requirements.

- With both on-grid and off-grid functionality, the Hybrid Solar Inverter provide more options for the users to choose how to use their solar energy – be it to store, use, or export back to the grid – allowing users to enjoy consistent power supply in most scenarios. Customers residing in countries with stable grid conditions and wish to have an upgradable inverter system are more suited for the hybrid solar inverter, which provides the option of connection to the battery systems and power exports to the grid.

- When paired with a battery system, the hybrid solar inverter provides a consistent power supply. It stores surplus solar energy in the energy storage system for later use. During blackouts, outages, or low solar production periods, the inverter draws stored energy from the solar batteries to power the home's or business's electrical loads, optimising the usage of harvested solar energy. Users with large solar systems should consider installing a hybrid solar inverter system to better utilise their surplus solar energy.

Cons:

- The hybrid solar inverter's sophisticated construction requires more expertise for proper installation and operation. Users attempting self-installation may face difficulties unless they thoroughly understand the inverter and have prior experience with installing hybrid storage inverters. In short, customers should engage a professional solar installer to set up a hybrid solar inverter system correctly.


Off-grid Storage Inverter

Pros:

- Off-grid storage inverters provide energy independence, allowing users to be self-sufficient without relying on the grid. Customers in remote areas or with poor grid conditions are well-suited for these inverters, especially when paired with an energy storage system. With sufficient solar batteries, the system discharges power during low solar output, ensuring a consistent power supply for users.

- Off-grid storage inverters are generally more economical than other inverter types. Their simpler functionality makes them easier to manufacture, leading to comparatively lower prices. Users seeking a cost-effective off-grid solar solution are well-suited for these inverters to power their homes or businesses.

Cons:

- Off-grid storage inverters cannot export power to the grid. Customers seeking inverters compatible with net metering should choose alternative options like hybrid inverters, as off-grid storage inverters operate independently from the utility grid.

- An off-grid storage system requires careful energy management. With only DC input from the PV modules, users are limited to the harvested solar power. They must carefully plan the appropriate power capacity for sufficient energy consumption in their home or business and determine the number of batteries needed to discharge power during periods of low solar input.


Checklist for choosing between a Hybrid Solar Inverter vs an Off-grid Storage Inverter 

Selecting the right inverter system - hybrid solar or off-grid storage - is crucial for optimising the solar investment a customer intends to take. To make an informed choice, consider this checklist: energy consumption patterns, budget, location's grid reliability, future expansion plans, and desired level of grid independence versus utility supplementation. Carefully evaluating these factors will help in choosing the inverter solution that best aligns with your energy needs and goals.


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Growatt Solar Inverters: Versatile Energy Solutions for Grid-Tied and Off-grid Living

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Customers seeking Hybrid Solar Inverters or Off-grid Storage Inverters can consider these models suitable for residential and commercial applications:

Residential Hybrid Inverter: MIN 2500-6000TL-XH, MIN 2500-5000XA, MOD 3000-10000TL3-XH, SPH 3000-6000TL BL-UP, SPH 10000TL-HU, SPH 4000-10000TL3 BH-UP, SPA 4000-10000TL3 BH-UP, and MIN 3000-11400TL-XH-US

Commercial Hybrid Inverter: WIT 50-100K-HU/AU, WIT 50-100K-HU/AU-US, WIT 28-55K-HU/AU-US L2, and WIT 29.9-50K-XHU

Off-grid Storage Inverter: Future H Series, SPF 6000ES Plus, SPF 3000-5000 ES, SPF 3000TL LVM-ES, SPF 2000-5000TL HVM (LVM), SPF 3000-6000T HVM(DVM)-G2, SPF 4-12KT HVM, and SPF 4000-18000T DVM(DVM-MPV)


Which is better? Hybrid Solar Inverter vs Off-grid Storage Inverter? 

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Both Hybrid Solar Inverters and Off-grid Storage Inverters have their merits, but the choice ultimately depends on the solar investor's energy requirements. Hybrid inverters suit customers seeking a flexible, upgradable, and grid-tied system, while off-grid inverters cater to those pursuing complete energy independence from the utility grid.

To better understand and design the solar system for your home or business, contact our sales representatives to schedule a free consultation session. We are happy to create a customised solar solution tailored to your specific energy needs.



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