Combination Solar Wind Power for Residential Home Settings
Combination solar wind power
is an alternative approach to producing clean, non-polluting energy from
two of the most abundant renewable energy sources. This system uses a
hybrid solar panel and wind turbine generator to create electricity
which is then stored in batteries.
Some locations have an abundance of sun while others have an abundance
of wind. Having a combination system allows you to take the most advantage
of the prevailing weather conditions to maximize energy production.
Advantages of a Combination Solar-Wind Power System
- When one source isn't available (overcast skies or calm air), the
system will still be able to provide energy from the alternate energy
source. The clean, emission-free power acts as a reliable backup or
supplemental power source.
- When both sun and wind is present, the batteries will charge even
On a cost per Watt basis, solar panels
have a higher initial cost than wind turbines. With this hybrid system, you can spend more on
wind power to offset the number of required
and still achieve the same output.
- Solar panels require very little maintenance (cleaning when
necessary). Wind turbines
need only periodic service (rotational inspection and lubrication of moving parts).
Disadvantages of a Combination System
- Weather conditions are unpredictable and a hybrid system cannot
be relied upon as a primary power source for critical applications.
Check to see if energy conserving appliances could help reduce your
energy consumption requirements.
- The solar panels and wind turbines need to be adequately sized
to supply enough power to the batteries. If insufficient energy is
produced, the batteries will not be fully charged in a convenient
time frame. If too much power is produced, the extra energy will
simply be wasted.
- The system should be esthetically pleasing to you and your
neighbors. Solar panels require adequate room with full exposure
to the sun; wind turbines need unobstructed access to the wind.
- Wind power will generate some noise as the blades rotate in a
Systems need to be designed for the maximum amount of electricity
that will be generated from both sources. A charge controller
must have a current rating that is high enough to accommodate the maximum
current when both sources are generating peak power (too much current
will burn out components). These units should have an automatic
electrical disconnect circuit that will stop the current from
damaging the batteries once they are fully charged. Also, the solar
panel should have a separate charge controller with a maximum power
point tracking (MPPT) circuit to optimize the energy efficiency of
Other system considerations include:
- The solar panels should be in an open area free of obstructions
- The wind turbine should be attached to a secure mounting pole
as high as possible with full exposure to air currents.
- Ensure that the wind turbine does not shadow the solar panels.
- When doing maintenance, disconnect the entire system since the
other power source may still be able to deliver electricity.
- The wires should be thick enough to handle the maximum current
load from both sources.
If your location and budget can support such a system, a combination
solar - wind power system may be a good alternative energy source for
your power needs.
In many jurisdictions, you can feed the surplus power that you
generate back into the grid. However, if you're producing extra
power, then your system is over-sized for your needs and the
extra costs may not
be justifiable. The cost per Watt for small
scale power generation is much higher than for large industrial
power plants and will take years to recoup the initial investment,
even with subsidies from municipalities. It's often best to produce
enough power just for yourself and store it in batteries for