Hybrid Photovoltaic Power Plants as a Path to Energy Independence

Photovoltaics is a dynamically evolving discipline, and what was utopia just a few decades ago it is literally a reality today. Photovoltaic systems are more and more perfect and you can get to the border of energy independence with them today. In times of increasing energy prices, this solution is even more attractive. Technical Director of the company SunnyCold, Ing. Petr Rubeš, will explain how hybrid photovoltaic power plants work and what are their greatest benefits.  

Solar panels on the roofs of houses are definitely not news to you. What matters is what happens inside the house where the whole system is connected. Simpler photovoltaic systems were connected directly to distribution network, where all produced energy was released into the distribution network. There is a disadvantage of this system, without connection to a distribution network, it could not be used and it also could not be used in the event of a power blackout.

Hybrid photovoltaic power plant is a solution for energy independence

Hybrid photovoltaic power plants are one huge step ahead in this field. In this case the distribution network is connected before the main circuit breaker of the household and it is used mainly as a backup for events of insufficient own energy. System of a hybrid photovoltaic power plant is able to work even in he even of power failure of the distribution network. The system does not “send” electricity to the network, but stores it for the needs of the household thanks to high capacity lithium batteries. You can thus have electricity in stock at home, and you are becoming partially energy-independent.

In order for the system of hybrid photovoltaic power plant to work efficiently, it is always adapted to the specific house. The proposal takes into account not only habits of household members but also the intensity of use of domestic appliances, the heating system or the use of garden technology. The power of solar panels as well as the energy storage itself is always tailored-made.

Let’s give an example to give a better idea. It is advisable to choose a battery with a capacity of 10 kWh for a smaller family house, while using up to 80% of the battery capacity the house has a total of 8 kWh after fully charged. If the house is bigger (for example multigenerational houses), or if it is equipped with a heat pump, the system is designed for greater capacity.

You will most benefit from this system in the summer when there is plenty of sunlight in our latitudes. You will certainly not have the problem with charging batteries during summer periods. It is worse in the winter, especially in December and January, the system will need to use electricity from distribution network more often.

When is a hybrid photovoltaic power plant worth it?

Are you reaching for the calculator and do you want to calculate whether it is worth it? Before that it should be noted that, in general, hybrid photovoltaics covers approximately 70% of the total annual household electricity consumption. Of course, this number as well as the final savings for energy bills will depend also on your habits and way of life.

With current electricity prices, the average return is around 5-7 years. Again, it is a very rough assumption, given that each system has different parameters and even the consumption of individual households differs. As far as energy prices are concerned, let’s just say that in case of their expected increase, the financial return on hybrid photovoltaics will be even shorter. The lifetime of the system, which is more than 20 years for photovoltaic panels, and about 15 years in the case of lithium batteries, should also be taken into account in calculations.

Hybrid photovoltaics works well even with alternative energy sources

One of the major advantages of hybrid photovoltaics is the possibility of its connection with practically any heating system and household electrical appliances. In this regard, the connection with a heat pump which can operate very efficiently and at the same time it is characterized by a very favourable consumption of electricity, is very convenient.

The pump powered by hybrid photovoltaics takes care of heating and water heating, while in perfect alignment, it does not deplete the whole battery capacity at all. This way even your house may be practically totally independent from the distribution network, in addition, the pump can produce up to 4 kW of heat from 1 kW of electric energy.

The fundamental added value of any such system is if we can label it “user friendly”. You can simply monitor the photovoltaic power plant system online. You will be able to see the system status from virtually everywhere, while you still have the option of remote control. However, its connection to the Domotron home automation system is the real icing on the cake. This is precisely the way to a carefree living where you do not have to worry about energy prices and maximum comfort.  

Heating by boiler or heat pump – what’s worth more?