Optimizing a Hybrid Solar System
A hybrid solar system is simply a hybrid combination of an energy-storage-ready device and a photovoltaic system that deliver consistent, reliable energy output during all times of the day. The hybrid solar system can store energy from the sun during the day for future use in one or more solar batteries but can also pull power from the electricity grid during low energy use times such as hot, summer months. The hybrid solar energy solutions are steadily gaining popularity as a reliable alternative to standard photovoltaic solar panels.
Photovoltaic systems have been available for decades but have always required modifications to your home’s layout to accommodate the electrical components. While many homes already have set-up photovoltaic panels, many homeowners do not realize that some states severely limit the total amount of electrical capacity that a residential electrical system can support. The average utility meter footprint in most areas of the country will typically only support a maximum of about 15% of the peak capacity of a typical household’s electrical consumption at any given time. This mandated capacity restriction results in a majority of homeowners being unable to properly use solar panels in conjunction with their existing electrical plans.
The result of this constraint is that most hybrid residential electric generating systems will only be able to properly generate power at peak hours using only the electric energy stored in the batteries. Since conventional photovoltaic panels only convert energy from the rays of the sun to usable electricity, a hybrid PV panel system cannot exceed the maximum demand electrical capacity of the household. The only way to overcome this limitation is by combining multiple photovoltaic panels with an efficient energy storage system. The combined PV / DC electrical system will then be capable of properly converting the thermal light from the sun into usable electricity during peak hours.
There are two main types of energy storage systems found in hybrid residential solar hybrid systems – active and passive designs. Active systems utilize the batteries for both the hot water and electrical loads. Passive systems employ clever load shifting techniques to allow energy consumption to switch between the batteries and the auxiliary electric components such as air conditioners and central air conditioning units during low-demand times. This allows the systems to operate at maximum capacity even when it is not necessary to use the auxiliary components of the household.
Several factors impact the effectiveness of load shifting concerning hybrid solar PV systems. The size of the panels and battery used in the hybrid solar system plays a major role in the amount of energy that is produced. The larger the required batteries the greater the need for expensive grid assistance. The length of time that the system is run on “maintenance free” parts also impacts the efficiency of the hybrid system. The longer the system is run on its maintenance-free parts the more the energy production from the panels will drop.
It is important to take care when connecting the panels to the batteries. There are several ways that this can be done including the use of T-backs or C-backs. Both these types of connections are effective but have their disadvantages. The T-back connection is most effective when the PV array is placed at the height of the roof. When the system is placed at an improper height the energy usage from the panels will increase.
Another important factor to consider when optimizing hybrid solar systems is the set up of the batteries. Most hybrid vehicles have standard batteries that can handle maximum demand from the batteries. Many hybrid vehicles have special hybrid batteries that are capable of handling the maximum demand from the batteries. If these batteries are over-discharged below their optimal performance of the hybrid vehicle’s performance will suffer. The vehicle will become harder to drive causing costly damage.
The optimal location for most hybrid solar system designs is on the northern side of the United States. This allows the PV cells to receive the full amount of sunlight necessary to convert the DC produced to AC. Some of the best locations include Texas and Arizona. The materials needed to manufacture these cells are lightweight and flexible making them easy to transport to the required locations. The size of the battery can vary between four hours to six hours. The size of the photovoltaic array will depend on the amount of sunlight needed to generate the power needed for the hybrid vehicle to function.