Hybrid Power Systems
The future of solar power includes energy storage. The latest technologies combining solar power, batteries, grid power, and (optionally) a backup generator have created a new generation of hybrid power systems suitable for both homes and businesses.
With a typical grid-tie solar power systems, batteries are optional. Without a battery, however, solar power provides benefits during the day only, solely for offsetting utility power usage.
Battery systems are necessary to provide back-up power and may be used as a stand-alone system (without solar). A battery and solar power system combined can provide continuous power for the duration of a grid power outage.
By storing extra solar energy from the daytime, hybrid systems also help to self-power the home as needed at night or whenever needed, further reducing dependence on the grid. Larger solar power systems pair well with batteries.
Battery systems offer off-grid capabilities, but without necessarily qualifying as an off-grid system. Truly off-grid systems are specifically designed for the complete absence of grid power. Home batteries in combination with the grid are better known as hybrid systems, which offer more versatility in their design and capacity.
The choice to make a solar power system hybrid with the addition of batteries depends on the application and features desired. When thinking about energy storage, consider solar as an accessory to the battery - as the battery is in fact the central component of a hybrid energy system.