The Reliability of Hybrid Power Systems

SHINE Partners | July 2021


The world today is rapidly searching for sustainable energy solutions to fuel our electricity-dependent lives. Many renewable energy avenues are siloed, though. People may focus on a particular type of energy and fully invest in it alone, relying entirely on solar, wind, or water to power their businesses and homes. As with any fuel source, each method has a particular set of strengths and an efficient and optimal way to utilize it. What if, instead of zooming in on just one type, we broadened our scope, taking advantage of the best features of each, combining them into a comprehensive renewable energy system genuinely designed for success?

Solar power is an excellent renewable energy resource and one of the most abundant ones available to us. The amount of sunlight that strikes the earth's surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world's energy consumption for a full year. Since the whole earth’s surface is not covered in solar panels, though, we cannot capture that much energy at once. However, the solar panels that are being utilized are still converting a significant amount of sunlight electrical energy either through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation.

Wind power is another great renewable energy resource because it can constantly be captured, even at nighttime. Advancing wind technology can even make it possible to capture energy locally, making it more convenient and affordable than ever. Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator that ultimately creates electricity. The three main types of wind turbines are land-based wind, like what you might see out in fields of land; offshore wind, which are massive turbines set up out in the middle of the ocean; and distributed wind which comes in varying sizes and are installed close to the point of consumption.

For a renewable energy system to truly be complete and adequate, it requires battery storage. This allows excess energy to be held for later use. When the pros of wind, solar, and battery storage are combined, a significant amount of clean energy can be produced quickly and then stored. This makes these unlimited energy resources something that can be fully relied on. These types of systems that combine multiple types of renewable energy resources are often referred to as Hybrid Power Systems. They enable energy consumers to have access to non-intermittent electrical power that is both clean and sustainable.

Hybrid Power Systems also are capable of integrating into the primary power grid or operating off-grid when necessary. This is especially helpful when there is a large-scale power outage or grid failure. When a situation like the occurs, the HPS can continue to provide uninterrupted electricity so people still can heat or air condition their home, keep their refrigerators running, have light and the ability to charge their devices, use their stove/oven/microwave to cook their food, and more.


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