What's the difference between a Standard and a Hybrid solar kit?

What's the difference between a Standard and a Hybrid solar kit?

Looking at our solar kits but not sure whether to go with a Standard or Hybrid kit? Here's a rundown of the key differences in function, contents, and recommended uses.

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Looking at our solar kits but not sure whether to go with a Standard or Hybrid kit? Here's a rundown of the key differences in function, contents, and recommended uses.

Our kits come with everything you need to power your life off-grid, including the solar panels, batteries, charge controller and inverter/hybrid inverters, as well as the necessary cables, circuit breakers, mounts, and full instructions.  

Standard kits  

A Standard kit is the base version of our solar kits, without any inverter or battery upgrades. This kit type requires a separate battery charger to be added to the system if you plan to run a backup generator.  All kits smaller than the Lifestyle Kit have a standard option available. 

What does a Standard kit include? 

Standard kits include a standalone inverter, a charge controller, and gel batteries, as well as the necessary cables, circuit breakers, mounts, and full instructions. 

What is a Standalone Inverter? 

An inverter converts the energy in your batteries into the AC power that your appliances run on. Our standalone inverters come with a standard 3-pin outlet for immediate power use, which is DIY-friendly, unless you are planning to get the inverter wired to a distribution board.  

What is a Charge Controller? 

A charge controller is an essential component of every off-grid solar system, as it optimises the energy coming from the solar panels to charge the batteries at the correct voltage and current and prevents overcharging.  

Why Gel (VRLA) Batteries? 

The Gel Battery is best used in smaller scale off-grid solar power systems, such as baches and cabins. They weigh 60kg each, require no maintenance other than regular recharging, and have an expected lifespan of 3-5 years.  They should only be regularly discharged to 50% of their total capacity and can become damaged from being regularly over-discharged or left in a partial state of charge. These batteries are cheaper up front but require more frequent replacement than lithium batteries. 

When is a Standard kit recommended? 

We recommend a Standard kit if you’re looking for a smaller solar setup, have a lower budget, or don’t require mains or generator backup. A Standard kit has more DIY aspects which can make installation cheaper and simpler.   

Key Takeaways 

  • Lower in price 
  • DIY-Friendly installation 
  • No mains or generator backup 
  • Harder to expand 

Hybrid kits

Hybrid kits offer an upgrade to an all-in-one hybrid inverter unit - this replaces the charge controller and standalone inverter in our Standard kits. This kit type allows you to easily run a back-up generator. The Lifestyle and larger Kits come with a hybrid inverter by default, and all other kits can be upgraded to use the hybrid unit. 

What does a Hybrid kit include? 

A Hybrid kit comes with the same kit contents as a Standard kit, simply replacing the charge controller and inverter with a hybrid inverter, plus relevant cabling and circuit breakers. The Bach, Freedom, and Lifestyle Kits can also be upgraded to a Hybrid Lithium kit. In this case, the standard Gel batteries are replaced with Lithium batteries, plus the relevant cabling and circuit breakers.  

Why a Hybrid Inverter? 

This unit combines the inverter, charge controller, and a battery charger into one central unit, which simplifies installations and allows for more functionality, so it can be better configured to suit your use. A hybrid unit can also future proof your system, as the larger units are more expandable. However, an electrician is required for the installation, because the unit does not come fitted with a NZ/AS plug, so it must be separately wired. 

Why Lithium Batteries? 

With our larger kits (Bach Kit and above), you can also upgrade your batteries to Lithium. Our Growatt Lithium batteries offer several advantages over Gel batteries – half the weight for almost twice the usable capacity, a much longer expected lifespan, a built-in battery management system to protect them, and much simpler expansion with their modular design. These batteries do cost more upfront; however, they are more economical in the long term due to their longer lifespan. 

When is a Hybrid kit recommended? 

We recommend a Hybrid kit for any full-time living situation. It allows you to connect a back-up AC power source, such as a petrol generator, which can be configured to kick in when your batteries get too low and need a top-up. This ensures you have power throughout the darker parts of the year. Another reason that we might recommend a hybrid system is to accommodate more panels, batteries, or brief periods of higher power use that our Standard kits can’t handle. A hybrid unit is required for Lithium batteries.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • Electrician required 
  • Mains or generator backup 
  • Better expandability 
  • Allows for lithium batteries