Sunday, November 20, 2016

Combination Solar Wind Power for Residential Home Settings

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 faster.
  • 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 solar panels 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 strong breeze.

System Considerations

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 the panel.
Other system considerations include:
  • The solar panels should be in an open area free of obstructions and shadows.
  • 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 later use.



Wind solar hybrid system can be an effective if your off-grid home or cabin has an average wind speed of 9 MPH or more. Using wind to supplement solar panel energy production can be cost effective even if good wind is only partially available throughout the year, especially if the solar potential is low at that time.

Hybrid stand-alone power system technology has advanced with the pace of the number of homeowners who want to live off the grid making remote home energy systems that are no longer dependent on a single technology. In areas of the country with an average sustained winds of 6 M/S or 9 - 14 MPH, good exposure to prevailing winds like the top of hills or clearings at a 98 ft. height are generally considered to have a suitable wind resource for small wind applications.
To start the process of selecting a hybrid system, you first need to make a list of the equipment you intend to power. The hybrid solar and wind system kit you choose depends on the amount of electricity you require (Watts & Duty Hours/Day), and the where the equipment will be located. (Average sun hours & average wind speed.)

Energy Harvest in All Areas are Not Equal.

"Hello, we have lots of wind in our area and I want to add a wind generator to my off-grid home. It is always windy here." Many a homeowner has learn an expensive lesson the hard way because they have not taken the time to understand the basics of wind generation which is wind generators placed in areas of insufficient average wind are like dams placed in streams with little water, they do not work.
Wind is far more location-specific than solar. Another way to put it, everyday the sun will rise and set but not so with wind. Wind follows daily geographic patterns as well as seasonal peaks and valleys. (USA Wind Resource Map)
In many selected areas of the country, wind and solar are complementary power sources. Wind generation peaks during late afternoon, evening and during winter storms when solar is at a minimum. Conversely, a solar system will shine while wind may be in the doldrums.

Initial Planning Steps:

  • Consult Wind Resource Maps: Click on the planning, design and installation tips tab above where you will find a resource map link for wind and solar. Use these maps to determine how much wind and solar in your area is available.
  • Airport Wind Speed Data: Though not definitive, your nearby airport can provide good information about the average local wind speed for your area. You need to be a little cautious because the information recorded at the local airport may be on land that is flatter and less obstructed than your lot and is usually measured at heights of 20 - 30 feet off the ground.
  • Use a Wind Speed Measuring System: Though not as accurate as more expensive system, you can purchase for under $60 equipment to directly monitor your sites wind speed allowing you to record to your satisfaction your available wind resource. (Tech Solar Transmitter Wireless Weather Station WA-1070T.) The measurement equipment must be set high enough to avoid buffering created by buildings and trees. The best location would be at the top of the proposed tower height you intent to place your turbine.
  • Zoning, Permitting and Local Restrictions: Before you invest in a hybrid wind power system, you should check with your local code officials and association (If Applicable) to find out if there are any restrictions. In addition to zoning issues, your neighbors might object to a wind turbine that interferes with their view.
    • Height Restrictions: Some towns or HOA have restrictions on the height of structures in their zoned areas. Althought you can sometimes get a variance, many zoning laws limit the height to 35 feet.
    • Noise Issues: Small wind turbine noise is only slightly above wind noise. (Click On Video Tab Above) You may be able to pick out the sound of a hybrid wind turbine if you strain to listen but most people would not find it objectionable. However, if there is any doubt if your wind turbine will disturb your neighbor, be a good neighbor and have a conversation with your the family living next door in advance.
    • Shadow Flicker: Shadow flicker occurs when the blades of the wind turbine rotor cast a shadow across nearby windows. This shadow can have a disturbing effect sometimes referred to as the strobe light effect. Small turbines are less of a problem but you should give it some thought.
    • Birds: There is no way to dance around this discussion. Wind energy does kill some birds some of the time, but no more than tall structures and most sources of energy.

Attaching anything related to a wind turbine to your house is a bad idea.

hybridNever attach the tower to your house. If the tower were attached anywhere to a structure, the structure itself would begin to vibrate ever so slightly. This reverberation would vibrate the building with the possiblity over time of structural damage.

Ok, You Are Satisfied You Have Enough Wind in Your Area, Now What?

Now, it is time to consider site specific issues associated with installing the hybrid solar wind system. The most important factor in maximizing the performance of your wind generator is the correct siting on your property. The better the siting, the greater the performance. Small increases in average site specific wind speeds result in dramatic increases in energy output of your wind generator. For example, an increase in wind speed of 10% (10 mph - 11 mph; 4.5 m/s - 5 m/s) results in approximately a 30% increase in the power available from the wind. Therefore, the better the location the better the performance. As a rule, the small wind generator should be mounted as high and as farwind solaraway from obstructions as possible.

  • Two basic necessities for a good hybrid site pick are average wind speed and low ground turbulence. The lower the turbulence or buffering, the less stress you will put on your wind generator and the more energy it will produce.
    • A good rule of thumb if your tower is downwind from a building it should be 20' above the height of the building as well as any barrier such as a stand of trees that are closer than a 500' radius.
    • Surface Roughness: Rough ground is land covered with small bushes, trees or other obstructions. Smooth land is an area covered only by grass or dirt. The smoother the ground, the less the friction. The rougher the ground the greater the friction, thereby requiring the tower to be higher.
    • Place your tower on the highest land point around your home as practical. There are circumstances where the highest point available may not be the best place for your tower. Highest land nearby may be awkward to get to, may be too far away from where you need the power, or may expose your wind turbine to potentially damaging turbulent conditions.
    • How high is your tower? Hands down, the biggest mistake a homeowner can make with a small wind turbine is putting the turbine on too short of a tower. Like solar in the full sun with no shade, any renewable energy source must have good access to the fuel that drives the electricity. There is nearly 100% more power available in 10 MPH winds than 8 MPH winds.
wind speedTIP: The power output of a wind generator decreases roughly 3% for every 1,000' of elevation above sea level due to lower air pressure.


Hybrid Solar Wind; Combining Wind Turbines with Solar Panels - Installing solar panels to generate electricity an ideal way to create power using the sun's energy. However, once the sun sets you're left drawing power from a battery bank. By using a combination of a small wind turbine and solar panels (Hybrid Solar Wind), it should be possible to generate sufficient electricity to power your home or cabin day and night. When the sun goes down, your solar panels lose their effectiveness, but your wind turbine keeps turning even on those overcast days.
If you're keen to living off the grid, take the time to consider which hybrid micro generation systems may be worthwhile for your home or cabin. The ability to generate your own electricity using solar panels and wind turbines can make an off-grid power system more stable by increasing the amount of time that energy is being produced, reducing dependence on energy stored in the batteries. These days, it's possible to generate electricity at a high level of efficiency without using fossil fuel generators . Once you've made the decision to live off of the grid and generate your own power, you need to select the renewable energy technology that best suits your needs. Our comprehensive guide helps you make the best choice for your home.
1. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Cells
Solar PV cell technology converts radiation from the sun into electricity. The technology has been around for decades, and is pretty straightforward. How It Works is specially-designed solar cells, containing a semi-conducting material such as silicon, are located on the roof or ground of your home or cabin. When sunlight hits the cells, it excites the electrons within the silicon, creating an electric field across the cell's sheet layers and causing a flow of electricity.
How Much Electricity Will It Generate?
This depends on the size of the panel and the amount of sunlight it receives at your location which is called solar irradiance. A 260 watt panel receiving five hours of good sunlight per day generates 1,300 watt-hours*, or 1.3Kw, of electricity. (*STC = "Standard Test Conditions" Definition) To put that into context, the average U.S. off-grid household uses about 10 - 15Kw per day. Homeowners usually install several panels, depending on the amount of their off-grid daily energy budget.
Where is the Best Place to Locate the Panels?
The determining factor is shade. Any shade, whether from trees, clouds or neighbors, undermines the performance of the solar cells. To work effectively, the whole installation requires full sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours power day unshaded. The more sun the panels get, the more efficient the power generation will be. In rare instances, your roof may not be large enough or strong enough to support the technology. Usually, this results from poor repair rather than problems inherent in the roof design, though flat roofs are not ideal. Generally, you need at least 100 square feet per kW of available roof space. That means a 4 kW system would need about 400 sq. ft. of roof area.
How Much Maintenance Do Solar Panels Need?
Almost zero. Solar panels have no moving parts, so, once installed, very little can go wrong. Give the panels a through clean three or four times a year, and that's pretty much it.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Solar PV Hybrid Wind off-grid system?
Most hybrid systems come with at least a 25 year guarantee on the solar panels but should last considerably longer. FLA batteries can last up to 10 - 12 years if they are maintained properly. The inverters in power centers and wind turbines usually last about 10 years.
2. Wind Turbines
Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind to electricity. Once limited to large swathes of vacant land, such as farms and coastal regions, small-scale or micro wind systems now make it possible for homeowners to install a turbine in a small off-grid residential footprint.
How Small Wind Turbines Work
With a traditional wind turbine system, wind hits the rotary blades which turn a shaft connected to a gear box. The gear box increases the rotational speed enough to feed a generator, which converts the rotational energy into electrical energy. Modern systems get rid of the gearbox. Instead, the generating mechanism is housed in the blade tips and frame. The AIR wind turbine incorporates a three-phase brushless permanent magnet alternator and integrated microprocessor-based charge controller to optimize its power production capability. The microprocessor continuously adjusts the loading of the alternator to keep the turbine operating efficiently in most wind regimes.
How Much Electricity Will It Generate?
Small Hybrid Wind Turbines are sized according to potential output. Systems range from a few hundred watts with the actual output depends on the average wind speed. Some residential systems receiving a constant 11 mph average wind speed can generate roughly 1,000 watts of electricity per day.
Is My Home Suitable?
Wind turbines need a good wind resource. Off the grid homes on higher ground, with no obstructions between the turbine and the prevailing wind, are ideal, which is why coastal areas work well. The wind energy map can help you predict you average wind speed before installing your system. As a minimum, you need wind to hit the turbine at around 11 to 12 miles per hour. Local weather data will be helpful, but wind is very site-specific based on local terrain, site elevation, wind direction, and any obstructions such as trees or buildings. Check with your local code authority having jurisdiction because zoning and other planning restrictions may prevent you installing a turbine on your site.
These Primus Windpower / Magnum Off-Grid Hybrid Solar Kits are an affordable expandable do-it-yourself (DIY) high quality solution for your home, cabin or backup application.

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