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What type of inverter should I use? What is a hybrid/grid-tie inverter?
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What type of inverter should I use? What is a hybrid/grid-tie inverter?

The type of inverter really depends on the type of setup you are trying to setup. Each inverter type has its own pros/cons. Hybrid being the most expensive is probably its biggest con. However, it may suit your needs perfectly.

What size inverter should I get?

There are 3 base line systems as of today even though there is more and more hybrid versions coming out.
The most common names of them are listed below. All inverters have a specific criteria for it to be running.

Grid Tie
This inverter solely relies on the grid. Since the inverter in most cases only is hooked up between grid and solar the system needs the grid to be online for it to work. If grid fails, the system will shut down and stop generating power. With that said, you cannot use this type of inverter to feed your house unless the grid is hooked up and there is incoming power. You must be connected to mains and it be active.

The whole idea with a grid tie inverter is that during the day you use the energy that is available from the solar and the surplus gets delivered back to the grid. In some places this pays decent money, in others hardly nothing. 

There is protection built in to them in form that if the grid goes down it will stop producing electricity to protect the device including the grid. This is an added benefit for if the grid goes down due to downed poles/wiring, the Lines-Men/Women won't get electrocuted due to the line being back-fed from the Grid-Tie Inverter.

Off grid
This is one of the most common inverters out there and as the name implies this type of inverter is meant for people being off grid. No mains power at all.

To be able to run a solar inverter you need an energy storage. You can't rely that solar is 100% available all the time and on the grid-tie you use the Grid. Off grid system uses a battery bank.

Off grid inverter does have its own load output and this one cannot be tied to the grid but must be on its own circuits. This means that it has its own breaker box/panel. The load output can either have its source from the grid, from battery, from solar or a combination of the three. 

Off grid inverters with AC input generally also consist of a battery charger that can charge up the battery bank if there is no sun and you need to charge them up. 

Hybrid inverter
As the name implies this is generally a combination of the above 2 systems where you have the functionality to be able to run and have a battery bank but at the same time have the ability to sell the excess to the grid. 

A hybrid inverter can run without grid or run without the battery bank attached in most cases. It's the most advanced system where some of them even can deliver a combination of all 3 sources to the loud output.

Many of them have a central pool of energy that it takes or sends out energy to the other sources.

There's also what is called a 0-Meter Inverter. This type of inverter has a clamp meter that connects to each Hot leg coming into the house and monitors the power coming in or out and adjusts it's output to be regulated so that it only outputs enough to compensate for loads. It will not output enough to go back to the grid. This is in case feeding back to the grid is not allowed.

Common setup
Grid tie
Solar -> Grid

Off grid
Solar -> Battery -> load out
.             and/or
Grid  -> Battery -> load out
.                or
Grid  -> load out as bypass

Hybrid
Solar -> energy pool <-> Battery bank
.                             <-> Grid
.                               -> load out

Please note that even though "Solar" is used as an example, there are other sources, such as Hydro and Wind.

Courtesy: Daromer



Quote:DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert on any one or all of these fields/questions/topics. The results of this FAQ is a collaboration of multiple different members to come up with a common list of questions that would be asked and we have tried to answer. I was the member who was chosen to post the FAQ. If you have question that goes beyond the FAQ, please post your questions in the relevant section pertaining to your inquiry. Thank you and have a nice day
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