Hybrid energy is the combining of two or more renewable energy systems to provide the energy for one consuming source such as a home or small business. For purposes of illustration we will use a solar power system and a wind power system, as the energy sources generating the electricity.
For a clearer understanding all renewable sources generate voltages and the voltages will vary from source to source. Solar is usually 35 to 45 volts incoming while wind, because of the nature of wind, can be as high as 160 volts and lastly hydrogen fuel cells can reach up to 95 volts. As an example, let’s use a 5 KW (5000 watts) solar array that is affixed on a home roof. The other source is a 2.5 KW (2500watts) turbine-free wind system that also is affixed to the roof. The advantage of a hybrid system such as this is that the consumer is now producing energy 24/7.
If the sun is out but there is no wind, then electricity is being generated. If it is a windy but cloudy day, then electricity is being generated. If it is raining and no sun, electricity is being generated. At night when there is no sun but it is windy, electricity is being generated. A renewable hybrid system is truly a unique way to generate electricity that will move renewable energy to a higher presentation platform for the power demanding consumers.
The tricky part is handling the electricity after the two power sources have generated their respective voltage. The solar system requires an inverter to invert the lower voltage to higher voltage, but also to change the incoming DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) so that the electricity can be used in a home or small business application.
The wind system requires a converter which converts the higher voltage into lower voltage while also changing the incoming AC (incorrect form) into DC and then back to AC (correct form). In the illustration we have chosen, a 5 KW solar array and a 2.5 KW turbine-free wind system would normally require many pieces of electronic support equipment that would probably cover a 4X8 foot metal backdrop (required to be metal and not a sheet of plywood). The other drawback is the loss of total energy, called lossiness, as the electricity works its way through all these pieces of equipment and on to the grid-tie inverter, the storage batteries, etc. The energy efficiency of the system is reduced therefore the total outgoing energy is definitely lowered as opposed to the maximum amount of energy being generated and retained.