Hybrid Inverters

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

A power inverter or inverter is an electronic appliance that converts DC (direct current) electricity from sources such as batteries or solar cells to AC (alternate current) electricity for use in appliances.


An inverter can be constructed to draw its DC electricity from batteries. When so, the inverter is called a deep-cycle or battery-based inverter. Such an inverter will depend on grid power or a generating set to charge its batteries.


An inverter can be constructed to draw its DC electricity from solar panels. Otherwise called a ‘solar inverter’, such an inverter can only work during the daytime when there is sunlight.


An inverter can also be constructed so that this gap between what is produced and what is consumed during the evening and night time when there is no sunlight, is bridged. It becomes necessary to store energy for later use and manage energy storage and consumption with an intelligent hybrid inverter. In other words, these ‘intelligent’ hybrid inverters are able to choose where to draw the electricity based on availability and/or needs. Also, they are able to store the electricity drawn from the solar panels in the batteries for use at a subsequent time. Inverters that perform this ‘hybrid’ functions are called ‘smart inverters’, ‘intelligent inverters’, ‘muti-mode inverters’, multi-directional or simply ‘hybrid inverters’.

HOW A HYBRID INVERTER WORKS

A hybrid inverter is an inverter which can simultaneously manage inputs from both solar panels and a battery bank, charging batteries with either solar panels or the electricity grid, depending on availability, consumption or preference.


A solar hybrid inverter will first use the solar power, and if the demand exceeds the solar power, it imports power from grid. If the solar power exceeds the power demand, the excess power is used to charge batteries. Moreover, if the batteries are fully charged the excess power can be fed back into the grid. All this are automatically controlled by smart microchip systems. In other words, they are able to do this on their own without constant changeovers. Hence the name ‘intelligent’.


Also, most models can convert DC power from modules to usable AC power and then convert stored A