A hybrid solar system is pretty much the same thing as getting off the grid, but it utilizes different types of power resources. Not all of these resources necessarily have to be renewable, as you’ll see in a moment, but the point is that you don’t have any dependency on the Eskom grid. So, the main aim of a hybrid system is to implement solar power along with other cheaper options to break away from dreaded price increases.
A Typical Hybrid Solar System
Everyone who is reading this will probably agree that a complete solar array system, powerful enough to keep you off the grid, and which doesn’t require additional power sources, is a common dream. Who wouldn’t like to tell Eskom to take their power grid and shove it where the sun will never shine? Even though it’s a dream that’s not too hard to reach, it’s not always realistic in terms of installing everything in one go. For some it’s going to take time, but once they get there it’s like a peace of solar heaven on earth.
Assuming you are one of those individuals who want to take their time building a strong solar power source, there are things like gas and generators. Apart from serving as backup solutions, they can be used as a support system. With this support system you can still be completely independent from Eskom.
You take down one of the heavy hitters first, like the geyser for instance, by installing a retrofit kit. Now you’ve removed a big chunk of the power you need in your home at peak times. By installing a few more collectors, an inverter and a battery, you can run the lights along with moderate appliances. You decide to switch to a gas stove and the generator is used for heavy power appliances. There you have a basic hybrid system and you don’t need Eskom.
Of course you add other renewable energy sources if you want, but they are more expensive than solar power. They come in the form of wind and hydro energy. For the former you’ll need a wind turbine, and for the latter you’ll need a strong running stream. Both are excellent at generating energy, but they are still not as practical as solar.
Is it still a hybrid system if you stay tied to the grid? Yes, it can also be considered a hybrid system.