What is a hybrid backup solar system?

Solar panel installation, backup, Tesla Powerwall, Quebec, Quebec Solar
Canada Greener Homes Grant – solar panel installation.
May 29, 2021

Updated 11/17/2021

Some of us who are interested in solar energy lean towards the idea of being completely removed from the grid (off-grid). However, staying connected to the Hydro grid and investing in a battery backup system will provide more benefits. 

When you’re connected to the grid, you can count on it for backup power for your house in the event that your solar battery runs out of power. You can also exchange excess electricity back to Hydro Quebec through net metering.

In this article, we will review what a hybrid backup solar PV system is, what solar batteries are best. Keep on reading to find out if a hybrid system is the right solution for your electricity needs. 

On this page:

What is a hybrid backup solar system?

After your solar panels are installed, the energy produced needs to be converted to power for your home. There are a few ways to do this – you can remain connected to the grid, go completely off-grid, or have a hybrid system. 

A hybrid system with backup is when your solar panels remain connected to the grid’s power lines and have a backup battery system to store excess power. The sun’s energy absorbed by the solar panels goes to an inverter and it is being transformed into usable electricity. From there, electricity either goes to your home, to the grid or to your battery backup system.

The benefit of a hybrid solar system is that you will always have power in any situation. With a backup battery, the excess energy that your solar panels create (but your home does not use), will be stored in this battery. When power outage occurs your hybrid back system will switch automatically within milliseconds, without you even noticing.

What components are usually included in a hybrid backup solar system?

Going from the top, we have solar panels with its racking (ex. ground mount, pole mount, roof mount). In the electrical room we have a hybrid inverter which is connected to the main electrical panel. We add an auxiliary panel for critical loads which is also connected to the hybrid inverter. Battery bank would be the last of the main components connected to the hybrid inverter. Please note that only chosen critical loads will be running during the power outage. It is possible to power the main panel however this brings us to a completely different cost bracket.

How much does a hybrid backup system cost?

Here in Quebec, the average system size is a 6kW solar system and the average cost as of October 2021 is 11 100 $ after the federal tax credit is applied. Solar panel system costs will vary based on your roof type, difficulty of installation and the amount of power your home uses.

For hybrid backup solar systems, the backup battery is what drives up the price. Batteries typically cost around $8,000 (10 kWh) or more and usually offer a 10 year warranty. Typically the home hybrid backup system will cost between 20k – 50k $. Depending on your energy needs and days of autonomy required.

Having a backup battery ensures that your critical loads like refrigerator, freezer, well pump, lights, wifi, alarms and cameras will always be powered, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide if your peace of mind is worth the cost.

Is installing a hybrid backup solar system better than going completely off-grid?

When you’re completely off-grid, you will only have a backup battery to maintain your energy usage, as opposed to a hybrid solar system that can draw power from the battery or the Hydro’s grid.

An off-grid solar system might be tempting if you want to be completely in charge of your power generation, but you will need to be very careful with energy management and your power consumption to make sure that your backup battery never runs out. 

With a hybrid solar energy system, if you overuse your stored battery power or there is bad weather for a few days and your solar panels do not get enough energy, the grid connection will help provide power until you can begin producing your own again. 

Without this backup option, you could find yourself without power during a snowstorm or hurricane. 

Benefits of a hybrid backup solar system – is it worth it?

A hybrid system is a great way to be in control of your energy supply. You have the ability to be your own energy provider with solar panels and a backup battery, with the added safety net of being connected to the electricity grid.

Hybrid systems will save you money by reducing your electricity bills, which makes the higher upfront system costs worth it. Your solar battery will store most, if not all, of the excess power your system generates instead of selling it back to your utility. So, while you won’t see those net metering credits on your Hydro bill, you’re still getting the same value for your electricity. 

What makes a hybrid system unique is the fact that you will be covered during inclement weather and nighttime use. You have your backup battery filled with energy and access to grid power if you need more than your battery can provide. 

Hybrid backup solar systems are the best way to make sure you never run out of power. 

Does a hybrid backup system make sense for you and your loved ones?

If you can afford a backup battery in addition to installing solar panels, it is a great option to ensure that your home is consistently powered by solar electricity. 

You will have more stability when connected to the grid and you can still save money by producing your own electricity. If the cost of a backup battery is out of reach, a grid-tied solar system can be a compromise. 

But whatever you choose, installing solar panels is a great choice for saving money and ensuring your own energy independence. 

Interested in hybrid backup solar systems? Quebec Solar Inc. is a leader in PV market in Quebec with emphasis on hybrid backup solar power systems. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you to get your home back solar power!