Hybrid Power Systems

 How it works:

A hybrid power system is an extension of a grid connect system. The grid connect inverter is connected to a second, off grid, inverter. Also connected to this inverter are a battery bank and the grid. At Tropical Energy Solutions we predominantly use the SMA Sunny Island off grid inverters for our hybrid power systems. If you have a grid connect power system already installed that uses an SMA inverter then converting it to a hybrid power system is a simple matter of adding the Sunny Island and batteries. 

The Sunny Island ‘manages’ all available power sources to provide power to the site from the solar panels during the day, while also using this energy to charge the batteries. The energy stored in the batteries is used to supply power during the night. This system is also able to draw power from the grid if more power is required and to avoid the battery bank being drained. 

             Hybrid Power System example                            Medium size battery bank                     

Modern batteries are safe and do not require any maintenance. They should be kept in a well ventilated area to keep them cool. Batteries can be damaged, and their lifetime dramatically reduced, if they are not used correctly.  Overcharging and repeatedly draining the batteries of all their charge will spoil batteries very quickly. The Sunny Island inverter is programmed to ensure this does not occur.  

Hybrid power systems suit domestic applications where more power is required during the night than the day. Commercial sites that operate at night or have night time electrical loads such as refrigeration can also benefit from the additional power supplied by a hybrid power system. Where no, or low feed-in tariffs are available, storing the power for future use can be a much better option than exporting it to the grid. 

Furthermore, opportunities exist to use batteries to reduce peak demand. This will become increasingly important to many businesses as current transitional consumption based tariffs become obsolete and customers are moved to more costly demand based tariffs. 

Off-Grid Power Systems

For customers who have no connection to the grid or no longer wish to purchase grid supplied electricity, off-grid power systems are available. These are also known as Stand Alone Power Systems (SAPS) or Remote Area Power Systems (RAPS).

How it works:  

Unlike a hybrid power system, an off-grid power system has no connection to the grid at all. 

Instead of using the grid to supply additional power, off-grid power systems use another power source, usually a diesel generator. Off-grid power systems often use multiple renewable power sources such as wind or hydro to complement solar and generate power at night. 

Because there is no backup power available from the grid, it is extremely important to match the system size with your power requirements. If this is not done correctly, you may end up with an oversized, very costly system, or an undersized system that cannot meet your power requirements and is constantly overworked, reducing its service life. 

Once power requirements have been defined, off-grid power system operators are given the choice in system sizing. You may wish to install a smaller system and operate a generator regularly or install a larger system which only requires generator operation in extreme load or weather conditions. 

Whichever option is used, operators should take the time to become familiar with their system and its capabilities. At Tropical Energy Solutions we provide full operator training, a comprehensive system documentation package and reliable after sales support. 




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