Wind and Solar Energy: Compatible Hybrids of Two Alternative Energy Sources
Solar power is a renewable energy resource, but its intermittent nature makes it difficult to provide stable and reliable power that meets the required electricity demand. The inevitable change of seasons and weather conditions limit the amount of sunlight in various regions.
Due to this, most residential and commercial solar power users use substantial backup in the form of fuel and coal powered electric grids, as a solar power system cannot generate sufficient energy for the whole year. Combination of two alternative energy systems in a strategic location also reinforces the autonomy of the system.
Low cost production of wind energy positively reduces the overall cost of solar and wind power system combination. Wind energy is also one of the major sources of alternative energy and investor’s support for wind power generation exceeded other alternative energy sources. It also comes second for overall renewable energy generation in the world with hydropower placing as the number one renewable energy resource.
The federal government is pushing the use of combined solar and wind energy to answer the limitations of solar energy. The plan is concentrated on regions where there are strong winds at night and ample sunlight during the day. This includes locations near mountains and the ocean or sea like rural and wider geographic areas. The combination of solar and wind energy is a proven alternative energy tandem as most of the time, there are strong gusts of wind at night when solar panels cannot collect and generate energy from the sun. Instead of using grid-tied electricity, wind energy serves as the backup energy generator as well as another electricity contributor to independent electric systems. There may still be a need for baseload power but it would only be minimal.
Solar and Wind Energy Installation
Installing of a dual alternative energy system require separate regulators for both PV panels and wind turbine to ensure that both systems run on optimum conditions. A stationary battery that can hold deep discharge cycles is widely used due to availability and affordability. What makes wind and solar energy compatible is their ability to generate direct current electricity. An inverter must be employed to convert DC to AC power. A DC source center serves as a connection point for other DC sources, batteries, and loads. For hybrid wind and solar energy, both systems must be connected to a DC source through separate regulators with no additional controls required.
1. Installation of wind turbine and solar energy is done separately and must be mounted/installed in strategic locations. Many wind turbines have built-in direct drive generators. Connect the output wires to the regulator. The rule of the thumb for small wind turbines is that the amp-hour capacity of the battery bank must be at least six times of the renewable charging current. Although the demand for the battery will be low because of the incorporated PV system, ascertaining your electricity demand is necessary to avoid over-discharging and overcharging the battery.
2. Once the wind turbine is installed, connect the wiring of the turbine transformer or regulator to the DC source center breaker. Follow the wiring diagram provided by the DC source center.
3. Mount the PV panel in a location where it can collect sunlight all day long. Panels are simple to connect as they can be plugged together but for safer installation, read the manufacturer’s manual. Connect the PV panels to its corresponding regulator and then connect the controller to the DC source center’s breaker.
4. The battery bank must be configured to optimize the generated power and the loads’ power requirements. This can be done by wiring the batteries in parallel, series, or series-parallel. For higher voltage, wire the battery in series and in parallel for higher ampere rating and longer battery usage. Battery voltages of renewable energy systems come in 12v, 24v, 48v, 60v, and 72v.
5. Once the batteries are wired accordingly, connect it to the DC source center relay. This is to ensure that the collected energy is input by the regulator and the output comes from the battery bank to the inverter. Again, follow the DC source center’s wiring diagram.
6. Connect the output of the DC source center to the converter/inverter to convert direct alternating current to 110V AC or (220V AC in other parts of the world). The inverter can also be fed to the backup generator like grid-tied or off-grid systems. The inverter must be connected directly to the house main electrical panel.
When things run smoothly, we enjoy a comfortable and convenient life. But if something happens to disrupt that grid, then what we depended on will come crashing down. When you depend on anything else but your own resources, you can’t count on it always being there for you. That’s why you always need to find a way to live off the grid.
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