With the new generation of hybrid solar inverters, energy storage systems and battery options now on the market we put together this complete guide of what's available and how the various systems work. Although hybrid solar inverters are similar to off-grid inverters only a select few of these systems can be used for off-grid solar installations.
What is a hybrid solar system?
A hybrid system uses batteries to store excess solar energy much like an off-grid solar power system. For those who are not up-to-date with home battery storage systems and 'self-use' of solar energy here's an introduction to how solar works and how hybrid solar works.
There are many terms used to describe an hybrid solar system and the terminology can be confusing but to put it simply all systems use hybrid inverters to storage energy in a battery. Some other common names include:
BESS - Battery Energy Storage System
ESS - Energy Storage System
Multi-mode Inverter - Hybrid inverter with backup
Off-grid Inverter - Powerful battery inverter/charger
With any type of energy storage or off-grid system there are many important features to consider when selecting and sizing the various components. To make it easier we have also created the hybrid/off-grid energy storage selection guide highlighting the key features and specifications which should be considered.
Unfortunately to complicate things further there is no standard type of hybrid system available, some have integrated solar and battery storage while others can be coupled with existing grid-feed solar inverter/s to form either a AC or DC-coupled system. The different terminology used can be very confusing with terms such as hybrid battery, multi-mode or interactive inverters. To add to this some new battery systems now have built-in AC inverters referred to as AC batteries. Therefore due to the complex nature of these systems we have divided our review into four categories below:
The 4 Main types of Inverters and battery storage systems
These multi-mode inverters are the most advanced and powerful battery inverters used for high performance energy storage and off-grid solar power systems.
2. Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)
A BESS is a complete home energy storage systems containing all the components in one integrated package, including the solar/battery inverter and battery system.
Hybrid Inverters, also referred to as multi-mode inverters, are the simplest and most affordable inverters designed for home energy storage. These inverters are combined with a DC coupled battery system (below).
4. Battery systems - energy storage (ESS)
Battery systems used for energy storage (ESS) come in many shapes and sizes and can be either AC or DC coupled with a one of the many multi-mode or hybrid inverters listed above. Here we review the most popular battery systems available.
For easy viewing of all products listed see the Hybrid Inverter and Battery System summary pages for direct comparison:
Detailed solar battery review
To see our detailed article on different battery systems available see the complete battery storage comparison and review here. See how the Tesla Powerwall 2 compares to the leading lithium batteries from LG Chem and BYD, advanced tubular gel lead-acid based batteries and lead-carbon batteries from Narada in the solar hybrid battery challenge.