How does a hybrid power system work?

For critical loads or greater power needs, we use a hybrid combination of solar power, wind and/or fuel cells.

The prime source of power will always be solar, meaning, when solar is available it will charge the batteries as much as it can. In the event that solar cannot keep up, this is where the fuel cells come into play. There is a preset range that the fuel cell monitors the battery bank. When the battery bank reaches the low voltage, the fuel cell turns on and charges the battery bank until the battery bank has reached its fully charged state. At this point the fuel cell ramps down and continues to monitor the battery bank until it is needed again.

What are the benefits of using a hybrid system over solar only?

Solar works great when solar is available. We often work with customers in environments where solar is not readily available year round (Vancouver where it is overcast, and Fort McMurray where daylight is only available for 6.5 hours in the winter). The issue with solar is that you have to implement a huge solar array (up to 40x the load) and even bigger battery bank. Our hybrid systems insulate this issue in the winter when solar is unpredictable by use of the methanol fuel cells.

What are the benefits of a hybrid system over a generator?

Our hybrid systems offer many benefits to those who currently use diesel generators. Diesel generators are extremely loud and emit a lot of emissions, our hybrid systems operate nearly silently and produce only water and trace amounts of CO2. Also, diesel generators are extremely inefficient, they typically only last about 3 days on a full 115L tank of fuel. Our hybrid systems, at the very least, with no solar and two 28L methanol cartridges will last 28 days. In the spring/summer/fall they can last months at a time with solar.

What is a charge controller?

Charge controllers are another important component of a solar system, as they are prevent overcharging or over discharging of the batteries. These devices provide reliable solar battery charging and are available for a variety of amperage and volts.

What kind of batteries does Ensol use?

Batteries are an integral part of any efficient solar power system as they store the energy produced by the solar panels, allowing the energy to be used as needed. We carry Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries specifically designed for solar applications. These batteries can withstand repeated cycles of up to 300 at 100% discharge and many times that at shallower depth. They are maintenance free, leak and spill proof, can operate at -40°C, do not out gas when charging and have superior performance.