Beneficial in terms of improved reliability, energy services, operational life and energy efficiency, the hybrid system has brought forth the highest form of perfection in electricity generation. This system combines two energy sources; the sun and a diesel generator (genset), where the genset supplies excess load and recharge the battery during overcasts.
The hybrid system is meant for backup power in case of a power shortage, say during the peak demands. It also reduces downtime during maintenance or repairs since the system on its own, ensures that all the components are used efficiently at an optimum rate. For example, during the day, the solar modules will generate energy in the form of Direct Current (DC) and is stored in the battery or straight away put to use by converting it into AC through the inverter. So, when night time falls and the solar modules do not generate energy, the DC stored in the battery is put into use.
However, the DC stored in the battery is not necessarily enough to support the energy demand throughout the night since during day time, it may rain or the sunlight is blocked by thick clouds, reducing the energy production. This will maximize the discharge level of the battery, causing its operational life to decrease, in other words, exhausting the battery. In this case, here is where the genset comes in. The genset produces AC and can be used immediately and at the same time the current is rectified to produce DC to recharge the battery. The mechanism can also happen during peak loads or when a prolonged period of overcast occurs.
In addition, due to this alternate operation, the overall system has prolonged life proven by the discharge level of the battery is being kept optimum. The hybrid system adopts an environmental- friendly technology whereby the diesel generator is used discontinuously and the whole operation itself is much quieter. All this is governed by a micro-processor-based controller unit.
The first installation may take up a high cost, but the maintenance cost afterwards is very low, thanks to the system’s self preservation mechanism. In addition, we can save fuel consumption of the genset because the solar photovoltaic (PV) modules supports the base electricity load while the genset provides additional energy should there be a sudden peak in the energy demand.
A Schematic of a Stand- alone Hybrid System
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