Have you checked your monthly electricity bill and been astounded by how much energy it takes to run your business?
Perhaps you’ve been considering an alternative energy solution that makes you less dependent on the national power grid as South Africa continues to grapple with power outages.
Nashua has the solution to address these concerns. It’s the hybrid solar system. The use of this alternative energy solution is becoming more common as solar power becomes more accessible for the average business.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how this technology works. We’ll also offer some hybrid solar system benefits to consider when deciding whether this solution is right for you.
What is a hybrid solar system?
A hybrid solar system seamlessly combines the power supply of the grid and the electricity generated by solar panels with battery and / or generator backup. In a hybrid solar system, your business’ energy needs come first. The electricity produced by the solar panels will power your equipment during peak hours. The surplus energy is stored in the battery to use at night time or during power outages. Any excess electricity generated can be fed back to the grid for a net metering credit, subject to Eskom’s approval.
The anatomy of a hybrid solar system
To have a better understanding of how a hybrid solar system works and what it takes for them to function properly, here is a small list of its components.
Solar panels: Solar panels are the main power source. Photovoltaic modules and panels are combined to create a complete photovoltaic power generating system. The panels absorb energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
Hybrid inverter: This is the most critical piece of the system, which converts the generated DC energy from the solar panel or battery into usable AC energy for your business.
Backup battery: The battery is used to store energy that can power your business when the solar panels are not producing electricity (such as during night time or cloudy days). You can also take advantage of the stored energy during load shedding or when electricity tariffs are high.
Diesel generator: A diesel generator can be included as an additional source of power should the energy supply from the solar panels and the batteries not be enough.
Switchboard: After the electricity is generated, the switchboard is responsible for distributing it to the battery inverter and meter.
Alternating Current Distribution Box (ACDB): The ACDB has an AC Surge Protector installed to keep the system and any appliances connected to the inverter safe from lightning damage. The ACDB also helps ensure that the grid and the back-up system aren’t damaged by short-circuiting and overload.
Charge controller: This device regulates how much charge goes into a battery, preventing it from undercharging.
Energy management system: Software that manages your electric utility consumption and electricity-consuming devices as a cost-savings measurement.
Three benefits of a hybrid solar system
Since a hybrid solar system draws energy from the sun and the national grid, and stores it in the batteries, you’ll have a constant electricity supply. What’s more, the system uses less grid electricity than a conventional grid-tied system.
A hybrid solar system is a great entry-level solution as it is completely flexible. It allows you to start small and then scale up, gradually adding more panels and batteries.
Hybrid solar systems can help keep a check on our energy consumption. With the addition of an energy management system, you can monitor and control energy in your business for even bigger utility savings.
A final word on the hybrid solar system
A hybrid solar system is a powerful solution because it gives businesses greater control over their energy usage. If deciding between a hybrid, grid-tied, and off-grid solution, hybrid clearly provides the most flexibility – an especially important factor for organisations just starting out on their alternative energy journey.