Solar Hybrid Power Systems

Solar hybrid power combines solar power with wind power to create a more reliable and stable energy source for your household. A hybrid solar power system creates electricity from solar panels and wind generators which is then stored in batteries. Both methods create energy from clean, non-polluting sources whose ultimate source is the sun (wind is the movement of air created from solar heating).

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Locations with an abundance of sun and wind may be an ideal place to generate electricity. When both are readily available, more power will be generated and charging times of the batteries will be shortened. When only one source is available, the system will still be able to generate power from the other available source with reduced output.

Advantages of a Hybrid Solar Power System

  • Solar panels have a higher initial cost than wind turbines on a cost per Watt basis. With this hybrid system, you can spend more on wind power to offset the number of required solar panels and still achieve the same power output.

  • The two systems do not have to be located adjacent to one another. They can be separated so that either system can be situated in the most appropriate location.

  • Wind turbines need only periodic service (rotational inspection and lubrication of moving parts) while solar panels require very little maintenance (cleaning when necessary).

Disadvantages of a Combination System

  • Weather conditions are unpredictable and change rapidly. If your application needs uninterrupted power, a hybrid system will provide more reliability than separate systems. However, there is still a chance that both the wind and sun will be unavailable when the batteries have been fully exhausted.

  • The solar panels and wind turbines need to be adequately sized to supply enough power to the batteries. If not enough 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 be wasted.

  • Ensure that the installation will not be visually offensive to 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 strong breeze.

System Considerations

A hybrid system needs to be designed for the maximum amount of electricity that can be generated from both sources, otherwise circuits will get burned out. Also, the charge controller should have an automatic electrical disconnect circuit that will stop the current from damaging the batteries once they are fully charged. For the solar panel, a separate charge controller with a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) circuit should be installed to optimize the energy efficiency of the panel.

Other system considerations include:

  • The wind turbine should be attached to a secure mounting pole as high as possible with full exposure to the winds.

  • The solar panels should not be blocked by any obstructions and shadows. If available, south and west facing walls or roofs should be used.

  • 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 solar hybrid power system may be a great alternative for your power needs.