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Detailed reviews and information of the best solar panels, inverters and batteries. Plus hybrid and off-grid solar system reviews and information articles on how solar and battery systems work.

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Reviews and information on the best Solar panels, inverters and batteries from SMA, Fronius, SunPower, SolaX, Q Cells, Trina, Jinko, Selectronic, Tesla Powerwall, ABB. Plus hybrid inverters, battery sizing, Lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries, off-grid and on-grid power systems.

Filtering by Tag: solar hybrid system

Victron Energy Review - Smart solar battery systems

Jason Svarc

Victron Energy has the largest variety of solar products of any manufacturer with everything from tiny solar controllers to large grid-interactive inverter/chargers. But it's the clever monitoring and smart control systems where they really shine.

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Solar and battery storage systems

Jason Svarc

Solar battery storage systems for homes and businesses are becoming increasingly popular and affordable but with the huge array of different types of batteries and systems available it can be very overwhelming for those who are not familiar with solar and energy storage. Here we help explain the different types batteries used for off-grid systems and the many different options used for home solar battery storage.

Off-grid Solar Power Systems

Off-grid solar systems also known as stand-alone power systems (SAPS) have advanced rapidly over the last decade with a wide variety of smart inverter and lithium battery systems now available.

A modern AC coupled off-grid solar power system with Fronius Primo solar inverter coupled to the powerful Selectronic SP PRO 7.5kW inverter/charger.

A modern AC coupled off-grid solar power system with Fronius Primo solar inverter coupled to the powerful Selectronic SP PRO 7.5kW inverter/charger.

The shift from traditional DC coupled lead-acid batteries towards more advanced scalable lithium battery systems over the last 2 years has provided much more flexibility and options when sizing off-grid systems. In addition the reduced cost of solar panels has made it more cost effective to oversize the solar array and reduce back-up generator run time during times of prolonged bad weather.

Click here to See our best off-grid solar systems article


What is a hybrid solar system?

Hybrid solar systems are connected to the grid and generate power in the same way as a more common grid-feed solar system but use lithium-ion batteries to store excess energy for later use. This ability to store energy enables most hybrid systems to also operate as a backup power supply during a blackout, similar to a UPS system... READ MORE


How to select a solar battery or off-grid power system?

Many people new to solar can become overwhelmed by the number of options and complexity of the various solar and battery systems available. Here we try to explain the reasons why people choose home solar batteries and the costs involved. Going completely off-grid is also considered by many people who are sick of being ripped off by electricity retailers or by those who have chosen to live in a more remote location.

Some of the reasons people choose to install batteries or go off-grid:

  • Reduce cost - save money by using less energy from the grid

  • Reduce emissions - reduce pollution from coal/nuclear/gas power generation

  • Be blackout safe - Have power available during a blackout or emergency

  • Become energy independent - operate off-grid where possible

  • Reduce peak demand - peak lopping and grid stability **

Read the full article here including the costs involved - Click here to continue


In-depth Solar battery review

The Tesla Powerwall compared to leading lithium and sodium based batteries LG Chem and Aquion, plus proven lead-acid and advanced lead-carbon batteries in the solar hybrid battery challenge!

Below is a comparison chart of the most popular lithium and lead-acid battery systems available on the market in 2019. Read the full details and cost comparison in our complete solar battery review article.

Performance and lifetime comparison of the leading home solar battery systems - Including the Popular Tesla powerwall 2, LG RESU range and high performance Simpliphi PHI lithium LFP battery.

Performance and lifetime comparison of the leading home solar battery systems - Including the Popular Tesla powerwall 2, LG RESU range and high performance Simpliphi PHI lithium LFP battery.


Hybrid & off-grid solar inverter reviews

With the new generation of hybrid solar inverters, complete hybrid energy storage systems and battery storage options now available on the market, we at CER have put together a summary of what's available and what's up and coming.

 

Video Reviews

Review the Australian made Selectronic SP PRO multi-mode off-grid and hybrid inverter. AC-coupled system with ABB solar inverters and gel VRLA battery bank.

The high-end Schneider Conext XW+ solar hybrid system with large 24kWh battery bank.

Redback Technologies hybrid solar inverter with the Pylon Tech (LFP) 2.4kWh battery module.

The MPP Solar hybrid solar inverter from Voltronic with seal Lead-acid battery bank.


AC Vs DC coupled solar battery systems

AC or DC coupling simply refers to the way solar panels are coupled or linked to a battery system. Most home battery systems like the LG chem RESU are DC coupled using a hybrid solar inverter but several popular batteries such as the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen ECO are AC batteries meaning they have an integrated inverter and are connected to the AC supply which is known as AC coupled. Being AC coupled makes it easier to add a battery storage to homes with an existing solar system.

For more technical information about the types of solar, hybrid and off-grid configurations here - AC Vs DC coupled Solar battery systems

how solar works Off-grid v4.png

More information and reviews

Solar battery system types - AC Vs DC coupled

Jason Svarc

AC coupled is the preferred battery configuration for larger solar installations while DC coupling works very well for smaller systems. We explain the advantages and disadvantages of each along with the new generation High Voltage DC batteries and AC battery systems.

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Hybrid Solar Inverters

Jason Svarc

The simplest and most economical way to add battery storage to a home is using an all-in-one hybrid Inverter. The all-in-one inverters contains a solar inverter, charger and battery inverter with wifi software monitoring and metering.

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Home solar battery options and price guide

Jason Svarc

The following solar battery (hybrid) system sizing is based on the energy consumption of an efficient 3 bedroom home with an average energy use of 12kWh per day. This is a basic guide to sizing a home solar battery system, remember every household is unique and there are many ways to reduce energy consumption. See introduction here.

Note: Prices are in Australian dollars and are estimates only - including all parts and labor for a solar hybrid installation. Cost breakdown is shown at the bottom for reference.

  • This solar array size is based on an average of 4.5 PSH (peak sun hours per day) which is the average annual solar energy (irradiance) received around northern Victoria or southern NSW. Melbourne is approx 4 PSH and Sydney closer to 5 PSH. For locations further north in QLD the requirements will be different as the energy use will be greater for air-conditioning in summer rather than heating in winter.

 

HYBRID SOLAR SYSTEM TYPES IN ORDER OF PRICE

  1. Hybrid solar system for self-use ($9-12K)

  2. Hybrid solar system for self-use and limited back-up power ($12-15K)

  3. Hybrid solar system for maximum self-use and back-up power ($15-20K)

  4. Hybrid/Off-grid solar & complete energy management system ($20-60K)

Full explanation and breakdown of each option below:

* Sponsored by the Clean Energy Reviews team

* Sponsored by the Clean Energy Reviews team

Would you like the team at Clean Energy Reviews to size a solar system for your home?

Join the free trial here

We want to set a new industry standard using our unique calculated algorithm to accurately size a system for each individual household. Giving you a clear insight on how solar can benefit you and reduce your electricity costs.

 

1. Hybrid solar system for self-use

This is the most basic hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover peak evening energy use from 5pm to 10pm. The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems typically use AC-batteries which are easier to install and are a great cost effective way to store solar energy. The main drawback is that they do not have back-up power capability during a blackout.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 4kWh (5-10pm)

  • Battery capacity required = 4kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 14 x 300W (4.2kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from large trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $9-12K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, LG chem, Enphase, Samsung, Sungrow, Goodwe, BYD.

 

2. Hybrid solar system for self-use and limited back-up power

Hybrid system using a SolarEdge inverter and LG chem battery - Installed by  Skyline Solar

Hybrid system using a SolarEdge inverter and LG chem battery - Installed by Skyline Solar

This is the most economical hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover peak evening energy use from 5pm till midnight. The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems can also provide limited back-up power during a blackout. Note, if the black-out happens during the day (when the battery is full) the system would typically be able to power essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) for 6-12 hours.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Back-up reserve - 1.0kWh (after peak use)

  • Battery capacity required = 6.0kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 14 x 300W (4.2kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from large trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $12-15K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, Redback Technologies, LG chem, Tesla, Pylontech, Alpha ESS, Fronius, BYD, Sungrow, Enphase, SolarEdge.


 

3. Hybrid solar system for maximum self-use and back-up power

This is a more advanced hybrid system with enough battery storage to cover your peak evening energy as well the off-peak overnight energy use.  The solar array will cover the majority of the daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. These systems will provide greater back-up power during a blackout. Note, if the black-out happens during the day (when the battery is full) the system would typically be able to power your essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) for 12-24 hours or several days in good weather.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Off-peak or overnight energy use - 3kWh

    • Back-up reserve - 1kWh

  • Battery capacity required = 9kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 18 x 300W (5.4kW)

    • Location - Note slightly larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 20-30 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $15-20K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter and battery options currently available - Solax, Redback Technologies, Selectronic SP-PRO, SMA, LG Chem, Tesla, GCL, Pylontech, Sonnen, Redflow, Fronius, SolarEdge.

 

4. Hybrid/off-grid solar energy management system

This is the most advanced hybrid system with potentially enough battery storage to cover your total energy use for several days at a time. At the larger scale it is essentially an off-grid system and would be able to operate independent of the grid for much of the year and several days at a time over winter or bad weather. Note: If setup in an off-grid location a back-up generator would be required. Refer to the following section 'Going off-grid' for more details about off-grid power systems. Also see our guide to selecting an Off-grid/hybrid inverter and batteries here.

An advanced AC coupled off-grid solar power system with lithium battery bank -  Click for full review

An advanced AC coupled off-grid solar power system with lithium battery bank - Click for full review

The solar array and battery will typically cover all daily energy use plus charging of the battery system. In addition these systems can provide full back-up power for the entire home including high load appliances such as reverse cycle air-conditioners. Note, if a black-out happens the system would be capable of powering your essential loads (lights, TV, laptops, fridge etc) indefinitely if you monitor the system and high loads such as air-conditioning for much of the day in the right conditions.

  • Total energy used per day - 12kWh (over 24 hours)

    • Peak evening energy use - 5kWh

    • Off-peak or overnight energy use - 3kWh

    • Back-up reserve - min 9kWh up to 30kWh or more.

  • Battery capacity needed = 18-40kWh (usable capacity)

    • Solar array size* - Min number of panels required = 20 x 300W (6.0kW)

    • Location - Note larger system needed for southern VIC & TAS

    • Solar orientation - Roughly North facing on 25-45 deg tilt

    • No solar shading issues from trees / buildings

    • Total estimated cost - $20-60K (inc GST)#

  • Inverter options currently available - Selectronic SP PRO, SMA Sunny Island, Schneider Conext XW+, Outback Radian (USA only), Redback Technologies.

  • Battery options currently available - Most lead-acid batteries (Gel or AGM), Narada lead-carbon, LG Chem, Sonnenshine, Redflow Zcell, Ecoult Ultrabattery, Simpliphi PHI, GenZ LFP

 

# Cost Breakdown - Solar battery systems

The following figures are a guide only as pricing from various distributors, installers and retailers can vary significantly depending on state and location. Prices in Australian dollars $

  • Hybrid solar Inverters - $2000 - $4000 (Single phase)

  • Advanced Off-grid/hybrid (multi-mode) inverters - $4000 - $6500 (per phase)

  • Battery storage - Lithium - $500 - $850 per kWh (usable)

  • Battery storage - Lead-acid (VRLA) - $600 - $850 per kWh (usable)

  • Solar panels including installation - $900 -$1300 per kW (inc solar STC rebates)

Note: Installation cost can vary significantly depending on roof type, roof height & available space, panel tilt kits, distance to inverter, roof access, battery location, switchboard location and other requirements to meet current standards and regulations.



Hybrid Solar Inverters and Systems

Jason Svarc

This review has been updated. Please follow the link below for the latest hybrid inverter and energy storage systems:

Hybrid Solar Inverters and Energy Storage systems review 2016

 


Solar Hybrid Inverters and Battery Systems

Jason Svarc

The complete guide to hybrid solar inverters, battery storage and all-in-one systems from leading manufacturers LG, SMA, Tesla and more. Plus advanced AC-coupled systems from Selectronic, Schneider and Victron energy.

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