Want to take advantage of solar power but aren’t fully committed to going the distance? Don’t worry, there are options for people who want to take their first steps toward a greener way of life.
What Is a Solar and Generator Hybrid System?
Not to be confused with hybrid solar systems [also sometimes known as grid-tied solar systems], solar and generator hybrid systems use a combination of solar power and power from burning fuels like gasoline or diesel.
A solar and generator hybrid system can be off-grid and typically involves a solar panel array connected to a charge controller, inverter, and battery bank [collectively called a solar generator], as well as a traditional gas generator. The idea is that you get the best of both worlds. You can use solar power when the sunlight is strong, and still have reliable power when it’s not.
Why Would You Use a Solar and Generator Hybrid System?
You might be asking, “are solar and generator hybrid systems better than just solar or just generators?”, and the answer boils down to your specific needs. No one system will be the best for every person out there.
The initial investment of a large solar generator that can power your entire household is usually very expensive, even with the help of government incentives.
On the other hand, gas and diesel generators are generally cheaper to buy but you have to make sacrifices in other ways. You also have to plan on buying fuel multiple times in the future if you want to use these generators – this can quickly add up. Transporting and storing fuel can be a hassle as well.
Solar and generator hybrid systems offer a middle ground. You don’t need as large of a solar generator as a fully solar-powered house which significantly reduces costs. You don’t need to purchase fuel as often either because smart controllers prioritize solar power over fuel when they can.
If your house is off-grid, you can have reliable power no matter the time of day or the weather thanks to these hybrid systems. Solar power can be used during the day and any excess can be stored in the battery bank until it is needed [like at night].
In case you haven’t had some good sunshine in a while, your batteries and gas generator can cover your energy needs until the weather clears up.
Hybrid systems like these typically need less maintenance than dedicated gas generator setups. However, because there are still several moving parts, more maintenance is necessary than a solar-only setup.
You could even argue that these hybrid systems have just as much maintenance as gas generators because you need to clean and maintain them even if you’re not using them.
Hybrid systems aren’t perfect. If you need to fall back on your fuel generator at all, you can expect to produce a fair amount of fumes and noise. Neither of these is great for the natural environment but it is less than if you relied solely on gas generators.