To store or not to store

In this article, we will look at the implications of  starting or adding battery storage to your PV solar system. 

Standard string inverters are NON hybrid, which means they have no capacity to deliver any PV solar produced to battery storage. 

Hybrid inverters have the ability to send PV produced to batteries. Usually after the inverter has detected surplus power, which otherwise would be exported to the grid. 
In the main, hybrid inverters can be installed with or without the addition of batteries.

Q:Why would you install a hybrid inverter without batteries?
A: Installing a hybrid inverter without batteries to start gives you more options at a later date when looking at adding batteries to your PV solar power system. One of the biggest benefits of a hybrid inverter is its ability to create PV solar in the event of a power cut. If you retrofit an AC coupled system (inverter with batteries), whilst in a power cut you can still divert power to essential circuits e.g. fridge, lighting, power points, once your battery has discharged, you need power to get your system up & running.

Q: Do hybrid inverters cost more than non hybrid inverters?
A: Yes, lets look at some differences.

Lets assume a 3kw inverter.

$1,895 for a non hybrid
$3,250 for a hybrid inverter, c/w charger & EPS, (emergency power supply)

Lets look at a retrofit system (adding an inverter/battery set up). Remember, an AC coupled retrofit system will give you storage, but no ability to produce PV solar in a power cut, so when the battery has discharged, NO more solar until power back on)

$5,9900 installed, (2.9kwh battery) (approx $3,300 for the battery)

So, if you go with a hybrid inverter at time of installation, paying $1,355 more than a non hybrid, then add a 2.9kwh battery later, you would pay $4,655, so less than the retrofit, with the added bonus of being able to produce PV solar power during a power cut. So, in summary, if you think you could possibly add batteries at a later date, then going with a hybrid inverter at time of installation makes both financial sense & gives you a better all-round PV solar system.

Posted: Thursday 7 May 2020

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New Plymouth, New Zealand