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The Differences Between a Hybrid Inverter and a Standard Inverter

15 December 2023

What is the difference between a hybrid inverter and a standard inverter?

In PV installations (photovoltaic installations or solar panel systems), the difference between a standard inverter and a hybrid inverter is significant and relates to the functions and capabilities of these devices:

Standard inverter:

  • A standard inverter, also known as a “string inverter” or “central inverter,” is designed to convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) suitable for use in household appliances and the electricity grid.
  • Standard inverters usually do not have integrated storage functions and are solely responsible for converting solar energy into directly usable electricity.
  • They are not designed to store or provide electricity during a power outage.

Hybrid inverter:

  • A hybrid inverter, as the name suggests, combines the functions of a standard inverter with those of a battery inverter. This inverter can convert solar energy and store and deliver electricity from a connected home battery.
  • A hybrid inverter allows excess solar energy to be stored in a battery for later use, enabling you to use the energy generated during the day in the evening or at night.
  • During a power outage, a hybrid inverter can often serve as a backup power supply by utilizing the stored energy from the battery to power critical devices.

In summary, a hybrid inverter offers more functionality than a standard inverter because it can store and later deliver solar energy, as well as convert solar energy into usable electricity. This makes hybrid inverters ideal for homeowners who want to combine their solar panel system with energy storage to be self-sufficient and have electricity during power outages.

Why is it better to purchase a hybrid inverter when installing solar panels?

When installing solar panels, it’s wise to consider a hybrid inverter if you might later add a home battery for the following reasons:

  • Long-term cost savings: If you plan to eventually add a home battery to your solar energy system, it can be financially wise to purchase a hybrid inverter upfront. This eliminates the need to later replace a standard inverter with a hybrid inverter, which incurs extra costs and installation time.
  • Seamless integration: Hybrid inverters are designed to both convert solar energy and store energy in a home battery. They ensure a seamless integration of the battery into your solar energy system, making it easy to add the battery when you’re ready.
  • Optimization of self-consumption: With a hybrid inverter, you can store excess solar energy in the home battery and use this energy when the sun isn’t shining. This increases your self-consumption of solar energy, reducing your reliance on the grid and further lowering your electricity bill.
  • Backup power supply: A hybrid inverter with a home battery can act as a backup power supply during power outages, providing access to electricity even when the grid is down, which can be especially useful for critical devices and emergencies.
  • Environmental consciousness: Using a hybrid inverter with a home battery contributes to sustainability by increasing the efficiency of your solar energy system and reducing the need for electricity from fossil fuels.

Although the initial costs of a hybrid inverter are higher than those of a standard inverter, the long-term benefits, including cost savings and the flexibility to add a home battery, typically outweigh these initial costs. It’s important to consider your long-term plans and budget when making your decision and seek professional advice from a qualified solar energy installer to make the best choice for your specific situation.