Hybrid power systems
What Is Hybrid Power System
A hybrid power system refers to a combination of two or more modes of electricity generation that usually integrate renewable sources of power such as wind turbines or solar photovoltaic (PV). The idea behind combining different generation technologies is to offer a higher level of energy security and guarantee maximum supply at all times.
Most hybrid power systems are designed as stand-alone generators that operate independently of electricity distribution systems (“off-grid”). Combining solar electric/PV technologies with wind electric technologies offers several advantages over either system functioning on its own.
In the US, for instance, wind speeds hit their peak in the winter and are slowest in the summer. On the other hand, sunlight is at its peak during summer and minimal over the winter months. Since the peak operating times for the respective power systems are designed to harness renewable energy at different times of the year (and day), a hybrid system gives you a better chance of meeting your energy requirements.
They are also built with batteries or engine generators that run on conventional fuels. These provide backup for the times when neither the solar nor wind systems are producing a sufficient amount of energy.
Keep in mind that adding an engine generator adds to the complexity of the entire system and reduces the size of other critical components like battery banks. You would, therefore, need a large enough storage capacity to make up for this deficit. A battery bank should be able to supply the electric load required for at least three days.
Hybrid power systems are mainly used for providing power supply to remote areas, particularly in countries where the costs associated with grid extension are prohibitive. They can also be used to provide off-grid power to remote households for lighting and running essential electric appliances. On a larger scale, these systems are also used to inject renewable energy into the grid.