How Do Solar Wind Hybrid Systems Work?

C.B. Fox

Solar wind hybrid systems work by collecting energy from both the sun and the movement of the wind. Using these two sources of alternative energy in conjunction with one another allows energy to be supplied to a building when one or the other of the energy sources is insufficient. Typical solar wind hybrid systems use turbines and solar panels to collect energy and then transfer it both directly to a building and into batteries for future use.

A horizontal axis wind turbine.
A horizontal axis wind turbine.

The two different components of solar wind hybrid systems work in very different ways. The solar aspect of the system uses photosensitive cells that react to the radiation emitted by the sun. Though there are cells that work in partial light, the panels need to be used in full sunlight in order to generate energy at optimal levels. Solar panels work best in the summer months, when the hours of daylight are longer and when there are more clear, sunny days.

Solar panels convert sunlight into usable energy.
Solar panels convert sunlight into usable energy.

The wind component of a solar wind hybrid system generates energy when wind turns the blades of a windmill. The windmill uses a turbine to generate rotational energy. In many places, there is more wind in non-summer months, making windmills more useful in spring, fall, and winter, when solar panels are often insufficient.

The use of solar wind hybrid systems can provide a reliable source of energy for buildings that are off the grid or that are trying to cut down on their use of energy purchased from power companies. A building that uses both of these systems together can use alternative energy more reliably than buildings that only use one system or the other. It is also possible for solar wind hybrid systems to provide energy to a building even when there is no sun or wind.

Energy from these systems can be sent directly to a building to provide for immediate energy needs and any surplus energy can stored in batteries. The batteries are available for use when neither the solar nor the wind component of the hybrid system is able to generate enough energy on its own. A generator powered with a fuel such as diesel can be hooked up to the system to recharge the batteries if they are completely discharged before the solar and wind systems are able to recharge them.

Wind and solar power costs significantly less on a monthly basis than traditional energy sources.
Wind and solar power costs significantly less on a monthly basis than traditional energy sources.

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Discussion Comments

Sporkasia

@Drentel - I agree that setting up a solar energy system is expensive. We have one and it was a considerable cost, but we are certain that we are going to save money in the long run. In the short time we have had the solar system, we have been very pleased with the system and with the savings. And by using solar energy we are helping the environment, which is very important to us.

We were able to get some energy efficiency rebates when we installed the solar system, and we are hoping for the same when we add a wind turbine. The tax breaks made a difference for us.

Drentel

@Laotionne- The problem with the solar and wind powered systems is that they are too expensive. They may save money in the long run, but the start-up expenses are more than the average family or average individual can afford to pay. Also, I think the verdict is still out on whether solar and wind energy can provide the steady flow of energy the average household is used to receiving.

mobilian33

If you get a wind and solar hybrid power system then be sure to choose a good location to put the wind turbine. I live in the mountains and we have plenty of wind, but some people here bought wind turbines and put them on the roofs of their houses. A small wind turbine paced on a roof top is not going to generate enough power to do much of anything.

Laotionne

With good solar and wind hybrid systems available, everyone should be looking into going green. We hear so much about the negative impact of the energy sources we use now. It is common sense that we need to stop using dirty forms of energy production and use what is so readily available; the clean energy that can be produced by the sun and the wind.

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