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Complementary hybrid PV systems reduce reliance on energy storage

Posted on 2022-11-14

As variable renewable energy, dominated by solar and wind energy, accounts for an increasing proportion of the world's energy mix, how to strike a balance between its inherent intermittent characteristics and the achievement of a continuous and reliable energy supply has become an important issue. a bigger challenge.

These challenges will come into focus for the industry over the next decade as many regions set targets for high levels of renewable energy deployment by 2030. Undoubtedly, energy storage technology is the key here, but another strategy that is gaining traction is to design hybrid systems based on two or more generation sources and use their different variability curves to increase the availability of the grid at a given time power level.

A team of scientists led by Sweden's Mälardalen University delved into the latest research on the subject and came to a series of conclusions. They highlighted the latest research advances and proposed research priorities for the continued development of hybrid renewable energy systems. They also suggest that there is clear potential for a hybrid approach – several studies have shown that a hybrid wind and solar system can reduce energy storage needs by 50% compared to either generation technology operating alone.

The potential of hybrid systems

The authors also cite studies that show how multiple sources of electricity can flatten power fluctuations across a wider grid, and suggest that a hybrid approach can also produce inefficiencies in the wider water-energy-food nexus. As for the positive effects of the grid itself, especially when hydropower is involved. The researchers point out that “a good case is a hydro-based power system, where reservoirs are often used for hydroelectric power generation as well as irrigation purposes (food-energy nexus). Electricity generation to reduce hydropower generation.”

The research team points to a series of economic barriers that also hinder further development of the hybrid system, and points to Germany's market premium scheme as a good example of a government's supportive policy. On the research side, the industry needs to better understand the complementarities between the different sources, taking into account projected changes in regional climate and field data and modelling for more types of power generation sources, especially as such research has so far been conducted so far. regions such as Africa and Asia. The key to further development is also to create a unified set of methods to allow for better lateral comparison of various studies and systems.