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Wind and Solar Hybrid Systems

Separately, wind and solar energy are effective ways to power a home or a business but can be limited due to lack of sun or a sudden shift in wind velocity. Using a combination of these will provides a stable, higher energy output to power your home or business. These hybrid energy systems generally include a solar panel array and one or more wind turbines, and they create a more constant flow of power than either single source provides.

As with other off-grid systems, hybrid systems are connected to batteries to store power for use during times when the turbine and solar panels cannot produce enough energy. These systems can be specifically designed to meet particular household or business requirements by adding additional photovoltaic panels or wind turbines. As with standalone systems, care must be taken to properly place turbines and solar panels to allow them to function at maximum capacity.

Corporations searching for more stable sources of alternative energy are also investing in new combinations of wind and solar technology to power their office buildings and production facilities. Originally, alternative energy sources would be added as an afterthought, and only one form of energy would be utilized. Current large-scale hybrid systems offer sufficient power to allow even large corporations to save money while reducing dependence on the grid.

A wind and solar power combination is even being used to help power a wastewater treatment plant in New Jersey. When completed, the five wind turbines and a solar panel array will provide the facility with 8 megawatts of power. While this represents less than half the energy needed to run the facility, it demonstrates the potential for operating public infrastructure with the use of hybrid alternative energy systems.

The largest experiments with hybrid systems are being run in remote regions of India and on Pacific islands. Villages constructed in isolated locations have received hybrid wind and solar systems to provide a source of electricity in those areas. The systems operate well under a variety of conditions and are the first sources of power other than generators to be used in some of these locations. The load varies between villages as many had low electrical needs to start.

The test systems have demonstrated that small towns can be powered by independent equipment rather than requiring dependence on an electric grid. It is possible for small towns in the United States to utilize hybrid systems and provide their own power as well—the town’s year-round energy requirements must be documented and compared with the potential output of a hybrid system to determine if the system can provide sufficient power.

Future Possibilities

Researchers are studying how to streamline hybrid systems by combining components to better utilize space and materials. Adding photovoltaic panels to the base of a freestanding wind turbine can permit one structure to provide the same amount of power as the two independent structures would produce. The main drawback has been the design of the wind turbine: photovoltaic panels need to be angled up toward the sun to receive the maximum possible amount of light, and placing flat panels on the turbine’s tower base prevents them from working at their optimum capacity. Furthermore, using curved solar panels leaves certain sections in shadow during daylight hours.

Engineers are experimenting with a new format for solar panels: prisms. These photovoltaic cells are designed as pyramid structures rather than as flat panels. This type of configuration has the solar collectors inside the structure as opposed to on the surface. Sunlight passes in through each of the prism’s surfaces, and bounces around the interior collection cells. This form allows solar cells to absorb more light and produce greater amounts of power than traditional flat panels.

The prism shape can be constructed in any size, and a large-scale version could be used as the base of a wind turbine. This type of construction could free up land for more hybrid units that can then produce greater amounts of power. In theory, enough such units could power mid- to large-sized towns and cities, and not just homes and small businesses.

Useful Gadgets

The most unique and practical invention in the field of alternative hybrid systems is wind and solar-powered chargers for mobile devices. These handheld gadgets have an internal battery and can be left to charge in the sun or any windy area, and one version has the added option of connecting to an electric outlet if solar and wind power are not sufficient for a charge. Once fully charged, the hybrid device can recharge personal items such as cell phones and MP3 players through a USB connection. Alternative energy chargers that work solely from wind or solar are also available, but hybrid systems are more likely to provide a consistent charge for your personal mobile devices.

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© 2008-2014 Off The Grid News

6 comments

  1. The article while informative in it’s general text did not provide information that would allow an individual to obtain either a solar or wind powered unit. It also did not provide direction for addition and more detailed information. Missed the mark.

  2. Agreed, good info but no real gems. Also, there are some new, much smaller wind turbines for single home use.

  3. Paula Broadfoot

    Here is one resource. He has kept up with the upgrades in power.
    http://windenergy7.com/

  4. Generating Energy Storage & A Combination Renewable Energy System

    “It is cheaper to save energy than make energy”

    Any renewable energy system that is installed should have extra capacity and be able to convert water into hydrogen which will be used to power a hydrogen generator as a back-up power source.

    We should install a renewable energy system that utilizes solar & wind, when possible add geothermal to the mix.

    A design is needed for a renewable energy system that can generate electricity and heat water with a step down mixer allowing the system to provide water hot enough for radiant heating and at the same time utilize a step down mixing valve to reduce the water temperature to be able its use for hot water in normal consumption.

    A thermal renewable energy system may be able to provide both.

    Prior to sizing up a renewable energy system, an energy audit should be conducted and energy efficiency recommendations should be implemented, that includes changing habits in utilizing energy and utilities in general.

    Habitual changes can save between 20 to 50% of energy & utility consumption.
    When people are considerate not to waste, they save resources and money.

    YJ Draiman, Energy/Utility Analyst

  5. ah children of wealth and privilege.. those of us struggling to change and still working in increasingly lean jobs markets need not your “should be”‘s and often pay not nearly enough taxes for the brib…. uh, subsidies to be worthwhile. We try all the more then. We are the forgotten citizens.

  6. World class renewable energy innovation enterprise zone revealed for Los Angeles – Proposed by YJ Draiman – rev.2

    YJ Draiman welcomes an innovative renewable energy zone approach which will create 100,000+ new jobs over the next 10 years.

    An ambitious project that will transform the way universities, business and industry collaborate, and establish Los Angeles as a world leader in the research, development and design of next generation renewable energy technology, was announced today, January 31, 2011. Spearheaded by the Draiman economic development agency, Draiman Enterprise, and National Technology Renewable Energy Zone, will be established in the city of Los Angeles with the Universities of Southern California Technology Innovation Development at its heart.

    A large parcel of land will be allocated to set up the renewable energy enterprise zone site, which will be within the boundaries of Los Angeles. There will be an academic center which will be transformed into a center of excellence for academic research, commercialization and industry collaboration.

    The renewable energy zone initiative, which would span further than the confines of the City of Los Angeles and include Southern California, is expected to create 100,000 + new jobs over the next 10 years and give a boost to the Los Angeles economy through further industry academia collaboration and inward investment.

    Draiman enterprise Chief Executive YJ Draiman said: “This new vision of the Renewable energy Technology Innovation Center will be the cornerstone of Los Angeles Technology and Renewable Energy Zone. YJ Draiman’s vision for The Renewable energy Zone is to provide a breeding ground for ambitious companies to harness cutting-edge research, access the best people and develop the products which will shape the renewable energy industry of tomorrow.

    “Southern California has already claimed a place on the renewables map attracting energy heavyweights and pioneers in the solar and wind sector and we believe that by establishing this zone we will help reinforce Los Angeles position as a location of choice for the rapidly expanding renewables industry.”
    YJ Draiman said: “The Universities in the Los Angeles area’s Technology and Innovation Center is a transformational project for Los Angeles, building on California’s great tradition of innovating new technologies and developments in fields; including energy and engineering while creating and supporting hundreds of jobs. Through this collaboration, the aim is to quadruple the scale of research program investment in Los Angeles in areas key to economic growth by up to $10 billion + in ten years. “And now, as an integral part of Los Angeles Enterprise’s new Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, which aims to establish Los Angeles as a premier location for inward investment into world-leading technology and renewables research and development, we have the potential to deliver huge economic and social benefits, not only in Los Angeles but nationally and beyond.”

    YJ Draiman said: “The Technology and Innovation for renewable energy zone will help transform Los Angeles and Southern California. By capitalizing on our leading, industry-relevant research, the renewable energy zone will attract billions of dollars of inward investment to the city of Los Angeles, drive global businesses, create jobs, and support the development of our highly-qualified graduates and postgraduates. “As a leading technological hub of Universities, they are committed to sharing knowledge to address challenges that affect every area of society, including energy, health, manufacturing and economics. The renewable energy zone will forge new levels of collaboration between researchers, the public and private sectors to accelerate the pace of research and development and deliver benefit to companies, the economy and Southern California.” The collaborative approach with the Universities, Los Angeles Enterprise and existing pioneering renewable energy leaders means that companies locating in the zone will have access to government support and some of the world’s best industry and academia in the fields of technology, engineering and energy. The project represents a supportive government and business environment where companies locating in and around the zone may be eligible for additional support for job creation, innovation and staff development, delivered through various California Enterprise schemes.

    When the need arises we will establish facilities within the existing Zone that offer temporary accommodation for prospective tenants until construction of the research center is complete or, if required, a purpose-built industry engagement building is created within the Zone.
    Renewable energy Zone is designed to draw on Southern California’s existing competitive advantage by providing the right business environment for the renewables industry to continue to grow and further develop. Recent announcements from industry leaders have reinforced Southern California’s position as a world leading city in solar, wind research and development. A leader in energy innovation with unrivalled human and natural resources in renewable energy, Southern California is building on its rich history of oil and gas exploration and developing an infrastructure to cement its position as a world class location for international companies looking to invest in renewable energy and Energy efficiency.

    YJ Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles

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