From our previous articles on solar power, have you ever wondered how it works at night? Due to the inconsistency of receiving sunlight, a hybrid solar system is way more practical than a full-fledged solar panel.
Now, what do you understand by the term “hybrid”? In biology, the term is used for combining genes of two different species to get the best of both. Likewise, when it comes to energy generation, we combine two different sources to get the most at all circumstances.
What is Hybrid Solar System?
The hybrid solar system backs up solar power with another source of energy supply. The other source could be an inverter at a household level or another source of energy at the commercial level.
If you have a solar panel on your own roof, you need your own source of back-up, which is a generator or inverter. If you get electricity from a solar farm, these farms will be having a backup from another source like diesel or wind energy.
Let’s take a look at both.
Household Level: Solar Hybrid Inverter
At the household level, solar panels on roofs are connected with inverters that can store power. This supplies electricity when it’s cloudy or dark. In order to understand how it works, you need to be familiar with two concepts first:
- On-grid solar system
- Off-grid solar system
On-Grid Solar System
This system involves the supply of electricity from the grid where solar panels are there. An inverter connected to this grid not only converts DC current to AC current but also reserves electricity for supply at night. However, if the power supply is over, you’ll be out of electricity.
Off-Grid Solar System
Areas that experience frequent power cuts use generators or inverters that store electricity for an emergency. This is an off-grid system, using another generator that has no connection to the main grid and supplies electricity during lack of sunlight. Here, you need to ensure that the battery is charged with enough power through other means.
Being dependent on either of the above is equally troublesome. A hybrid inverter is a smart device that uses power from both solar panels and an external battery source. It is also capable of charging the battery. Let’s see how it works to understand better.
Solar Hybrid Inverter Working Principle
Suppose, you need 20 kW of electricity for your entire house. This is how it will work:
- If the solar panel produces 30kW, your appliances will utilize 20kW and the rest 10 will charge up the batteries that are off-grid.
- Suppose, the batteries have 100% charge, the excess electricity instead gets stored on the grid.
- At night, electricity is first utilized from the battery which is off-grid.
- If the power of the battery is over and the sun hasn’t come out yet, the charge in the grid supplies electricity.
Commercial Level: Solar-Wind Hybrid System
A solar farm produces electricity on a wide scale. This can be supplied in multiple buildings over an area. India is constructing its biggest solar park in Dholera, which aims to produce 175 GW of electricity for the entire city.
To create the backup in such an area, you combine solar energy with another source of power. In areas where both sunlight and winds are common, solar energy can be combined with wind energy.
This is the eco-friendliest way of creating the backup and a true hybrid technology of generating electricity. Let’s see how it works.
Hybrid Solar Wind Power Generator System
The method is simple:
- Solar panels, windmills, and batteries are connected to the place of power supply.
- When both sunlight and wind are available, both generate electricity. Generally, it is enough for the connected buildings as well as to charge up the batteries.
- When either one is available, it solely supplies electricity.
- When both are unavailable, the battery source supplies electricity.
Hybrid Solar Lighting
This is a hybrid between natural light and artificial light. You have many lights in the market that use sunlight as a source of energy to glow. They receive sunlight from fiber-optic cables and store energy that produces artificial light.
These lights contain photocells that detect the absence of sunlight and produce artificial light.
Hybrid Solar Panel
We all know what a solar panel is and how it works. They only use sunlight to produce electricity. However, heat is not of use to a normal solar panel.
On the other hand, there are solar water heaters that use the heat of the sun as solar power to replace geysers.
A hybrid solar panel combines both the above. It uses sunlight to produce electricity and its heat to supply hot water.
Future of Solar Energy
Solar energy has enormous potential not only to supply electricity but also for other purposes. Technology has also replaced geysers with solar water heaters and ovens with solar cookers.
Of course, the potential is greater in areas that receive maximum sunlight, that is in the tropical zone. With the development of a hybrid solar system, the scope increases to provide an efficient, eco-friendly electricity supply.