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Solar and wind power are two of the most popular sources of renewable energy. Indeed people have been comparing the pros and cons between the two and debate which is better. But why settle for one when you can have both? Yes, wind and solar power can be combined into a hybrid energy system.
To combine wind and solar power, connect the wind generator to the solar panel battery inverter. If the inverter does not support wind turbines, it must be replaced with a hybrid inverter and battery that are compatible with wind generator systems.
How to Install a Wind Turbine on a Solar Panel System
Most grid tied solar systems don’t have batteries because the grid serves as their battery. But you can still use wind turbines if you want. There are three ways to do this. Again, this is for grid tied systems.
Method 1: Replace your current inverter with a hybrid inverter and battery. Connect the battery and the wind turbine. That’s it. You should be able to test the system and get confirmation it works. The step by step process varies per system, but after connecting to the turbine to the generator, there should be an indicator from the inverter that installation was successful.
Method 2: Install a wind generator compatible hybrid inverter. You don’t have to remove your existing inverter, you will have two. Connect the wind turbine to the hybrid inverter via its battery. This is a good option if you do not want to get rid of your current battery and willing to install a new one instead.
Method 3: If you already have a compatible inverter, connect the wind turbine, inverter and solar panels to one battery. As long as the battery is compatible with wind energy the system will run. Only specific types of inverters may work here, so check your inverter product guide.
How to Connect a Wind Turbine to a Solar Inverter
There are four ways to combine a wind turbine with a solar panel system.
- Install a wind turbine on your current solar panel system
- Connect a wind turbine to a 48V solar battery
- Install a wind turbine with high voltage batteries
- Connect the wind turbine to an off grid system
You can connect a wind turbine to an inverter if it has the same voltage and has a DC output. Inverters convert DC to AC, so if the wind turbine already produces AC power it may not run with the inverter. This may or may not be the case. You can check your inverter manual or contact the manufacturer. They will be able to tell you if it is compatible with wind turbines or not. At the very least they shold be able to offer some advice.
How to Connect a Wind Turbine to a 48V Solar Battery
Most 48V batteries are compatible with wind generators so if you already have one, you probably don’t need to buy a hybrid battery inverter. If that is the case, you just have to connect the wind turbine to the battery and it is all systems go. The higher the battery voltage, the more likely it will work with a wind turbine.
Inverters come in all sizes, but they all have a monitoring system. This monitor keeps track of the battery’s health, status, recharge time and so on. In a grid tied system, the battery charges from the wind generator, so make sure you have a charge controller to keep the battery from being overcharged.
The type of battery used can affect the performance of a wind generator (and solar panel for that matter). AGM, gel, FLA and lithium batteries have different parameter settings that determine how it performs. How you maintain the batteries is just as important for the performance of a wind solar system.
Connecting a Wind Turbine to a High Voltage Battery
By high voltage we mean Tesla battery levels, or even an AC generator. Use this installation if you want the wind turbine to supplement the solar panels in powering your house.
For this to work you must have strong wind gusts in your area (37 mph), a large solar array or solar generator and a powerful inverter. 48V lithium batteries are ideal here, while the inverter size will depend on how many appliances you have to run.
Whether you want to run a house, barn or a solar powered shed with hybrid solar wind, a powerful system is required. Of course your solar array must be able to receive as much direct sunlight as possible, just as the wind turbine must be high enough to convert wind into electricity.
Connect a Wind Turbine to an Off Grid Solar Power System
The wind turbine can be connected to the solar battery by way a fuse and an isolator. There are hybrid wind solar kits that include all the necessary components to connect a wind turbine to your off grid system. The isolator is particularly important because because it functions a breaker for the wind turbine when its output gets disconnected from the battery. This is an impotent feature that serves as a fail safe for the system.
Whichever installation method you choose, always follow the instructions in the kits you purchase. You can do this yourself or have a professional install the components for you. If you are not familiar with solar and wind power wiring, leave it to the professional to avoid accidents.
If your solar system is already installed, you may want to avail of a professional installer to set up the wind turbine. Installing a wind turbine and getting all the requirements and permits is a lot of work. But if you are familiar with wind energy installations you can do this yourself.
What Permits are Needed to Connect Wind Turbines to Solar Panels?
You should have no trouble installing solar panels at home, but wind power is another matter. Before you add a wind turbine to your solar panel, make sure you meet all the following requirements and permits.
- Check your state and community codes for the requirements needed to install a wind turbine for home. Majority of US zonal laws impose a 35 foot height limit. Wind turbines may also generate some noise that is above the acceptable limits in your area. Consult the local and state authorities to be sure. The specific rules will vary by state, community and even homeowners’ associations.
- There must be sufficient wind power in the area. Wind turbines need at least 7-8 mph to run and 30-37 mph for full power. However you may not need full wind power since you will be combining it with solar. But if you plan to use wind extensively during low solar power production, strong winds is a must.
- The place where you install the wind turbine must not only be high, but also at least 30 feet clear from any trees or structures that could impede the wind.
- Check your existing solar power setup for wind turbine compatibility. Everything – the inverter, charge controller, battery – they must all be compatible with wind generators, otherwise the system won’t run or even cause damage. Check with your solar panel provider for information on compatibility.
What are the Benefits of a Solar Wind Energy System?
The biggest benefit of using wind and solar power together is they are complementary. Solar energy works best during daytime and the summer, while wind energy picks up on late afternoons and evenings during the cold season. When one source is at low production, the other picks up so they work together well.
Solar and wind power are not 100% efficient, which is why solar rated vs actual output are not the same. The same with wind, on some days it is very strong and others it can barely be felt. But both produce energy in predictable ways so you can prepare. If you are familiar wit the wind and sun behavior in your area, it is easy to set up the system to take advantage of the weather patterns.
Because solar power works best during the day/summer and wind during night/winter, you can have a constant source of energy all year long. This is very important if you are off the grid. With a wind turbine connected to solar power, you can be confident of having enough power even during the winter or when it rains.
A hybrid solar wind system also benefits a grid tied system. One of the drawbacks of being tied to the grid is when the power goes down, you don’t have access to the energy you stored. With a wind turbine, you have a backup energy source in case of a power outage. You can also sell the excess energy to the grid and make money.
Putting together a hybrid wind solar system is not as difficult as it used to be. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your solar power system or just want to take advantage of wind energy potential, it can be done. And the best thing is wind and solar do not compete, but complement each other.