Solar Hybrid Systems
Hybrid systems are one of the fastest growing areas not only of our business but also the renewable energy industry. Battery technology and control systems have come a long way. Probably our most favourite feature is that you can also add a generator plug so that in the event of an emergency you have an even longer power source if the grid goes down. They are also proving a really valuable tool in Bushfire Management Plans.
Here at Solar Integrity we have certainly cemented ourselves as the hybrid experts having delivered a number of award winning micro/mini grid projects with our project partners. Some of our systems have been in for a number of years now and our customers are so happy that they are now coming back and expanding their battery systems.
What is a Solar Hybrid System?
A Solar Hybrid system is an energy system that incorporates the use of solar power, batteries and the power grid ─ allowing you to be your own energy manager by choosing whether to use these individually, or as a combination…making even greater savings on your power usage.
There are many different types of hybrid systems on the market. All having different capabilities. Some will only allow you to draw from the battery at night and if there is a power outage you will still be affected. Then there are the battery management systems these systems will see your premise functioning when there is a power outage.
Some of these systems will allow you to put add a generator to them as well, this can be very useful for those in bushfire prone areas.
These systems to require greater planning and consultation as we are looking at your entire usage and what your overall goals and requirements may be.
Worth noting is that not all batteries will work with all inverters and vice versa. Therefore, the earlier you plan the better the outcome will be in the end. So, if you aren’t quite ready to look at batteries or are thinking you will add them in a few years, now’s the time to plan for that, it will save you money in the long run.
To get an idea of your daily power usage, we like to see your electricity bill.
We explain the amount of power various sized systems will produce and we can then discuss what you would like to achieve with your solar power system, and what government incentives may be available.
You can either have a system that will generate a component of your power requirements, or one that will produce all your requirements.
For example: Five 200w panels will generate approximately 1 kw of power per daylight hour.
The inverter and its size is the key to your system.
Its size determines the maximum number of panels allowed, or the ability to expand your solar system, should you decide to down the track. An over-sized inverter with too few panels may not start up and isn’t recommended. These issues will be explained to you to help you make an informed decision regarding your system.
A Solar Hybrid system such as Selectronic’s SP Pro Solar Hybrid system may also be an option for you. It’s an energy management system that incorporates the use of solar power, batteries and the power grid─ allowing you to be your own energy manager by choosing whether to use these individually or combined…making even greater savings on your power usage.
The solar panels are the main component to your system, as it is the panels that generate the power for you. Solar panels are primarily measured by their wattages, with many different sizes ranging from 5w to 350w. The most common sizes that we use in a Grid Connect System, are 250w—350w panels.
Solar Integrity will design and install any size system for you, and we only use panels that meet Australian Standards and are approved by the Australian Government and the Clean Energy Council.
There are several solar incentives available to people with a small generation power system.
Small Technology Certificates (STCs) are the incentive offered for installing small renewable energy power generators for householders and small business owners. These systems can be solar, wind, hydro or a combination of these.
STCs are a tradable commodity and the value of the STC is determined by supply and demand, as with the share markets. STC prices, therefore, can fluctuate. If you require more information about what STCs are, please contact our team.
Most states have a feed-in tariff which is when your power company recognises you for the power your system has generated.
The two types of feed-in tariff are Net and Gross.
Net: After your premises uses the power it needs, any unused power generated by your system is exported to the grid and you are paid for this excess.
Gross: You are paid for ALL the power generated by your system. This was in operation in various states in Australia, but no longer exists for new customers.
NSW operates on net metering. Currently, your retailer determines what you may be paid, so you will need to contact them, to inquire about their feed-in tariff process.
For more information you can ask us, or refer Energy Made Easy https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/
VICTORIA also operates on net metering and offers a 6c feed-in tariff; however some retailers may offer a slightly higher amount. Again you can ask us, or refer to https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/victorian-feed-in-tariff. You should also contact your electricity retailer and inquire about their processes for this tariff.
It is certainly to your benefit to compare electricity retailers every so often, say maybe every 2 years. This way you can ensure you are on the best rates for not only what you are paying for your power, but what they are paying you for your excess solar energy. And don’t forget to look at the daily supply charges as well.
To do this we recommend using only government sites, that way there is no bias involved and no one is getting paid a spotters fee/commission.
For NSW head to https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/
For Victoria head to https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/
However we would encourage you to look at our local electricity retailer. That’s right you can purchase and sell your electricity through Indigo Power. Indigo Power are community owned and operated, and located right here in North Eastern Victoria and the Border Region. Their prices are comparative, they are creating local jobs and investing in renewable energy project locally as well. AND when you ring them, you get to speak to someone local! To look at their prices you can head to https://indigopower.com.au/ or call them on 1800 491739.
Finally, in recent years we have seen the emergence of energy monitoring units. Most inverter company’s have their own monitoring systems now, so we would recommend the one that matches your system. However, there are also now great, affordable after market ones available. Ask us for more information, and about one that will suit you.
This is a great way to see how, where and when you are using your power, but also you keep an eye on your generation.
There is little maintenance involved in Solar Grid Connect systems. Solar Integrity with provide you with all the necessary information.
We also offer a maintenance program, where we call you every year and schedule your system for a general clean and check over; a report on your system will then be sent out to you.
When we discuss maintenance we don’t just mean on systems that we have installed. We are often called out to inspect system that we have not installed. Often because there has been a failed product. So the answer is yes – we do look after you even if we didn’t install your system.