Hybrid Home Energy Systems Offer Both Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Benefits


| 9/14/2016 11:40:00 AM


Tags: off grid living, energy storage, home energy, batteries, Washington, Eric Hill,

Who hasn’t been attracted to the idea of living off the grid? Between the monetary freedom and the savings — especially when you consider peak pricing and other utility charges — grid independence is enticing. It’s also practical during a power outage or emergency. Grid independence can be a formula to help any home withstand the elements. The situation is never beyond your control when you can generate and use your own electricity.

However, as some homeowners realize late in the process, not utilizing the potential of energy storage is easier said than done. Following Hurricane Sandy, many solar owners in the affected area (New York and New Jersey) learned the hard way that because they lacked hybrid operation and energy storage capabilities — their grid-tied solar electric systems were incapable of keeping the lights on and refrigerators running, because they were required to disconnect during a power outage. All those thousands of kilowatts of solar electricity being generated stayed up on the rooftops, unable to help the homeowners below.

What is a Hybrid Energy System?

What they needed was a hybrid approach, a way to harvest and store solar-generated electricity to use it with or without the grid present, at night as well as during the day. That’s what hybrid systems deliver: the ability to operate in multiple modes and store electricity for later use.

Such a system can “zero out” the grid if enough solar is present for self-consumption, which occurs when your solar electricity use powers the loads in your home, effectively providing off-grid independence. If there’s a surplus of solar-generated electricity available, these systems can export it back to the grid for net-metering incentives if they are allowed by the utility and locale.

Most important, they can store surplus solar electricity in a battery bank, enabling you to use your own stored electricity during peak demand times when rates are higher, giving you time-of-use control and flexibility.




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