Many individuals and companies from coast to coast either have or are going to be making the switch to renewable energy systems in part or in whole this year and while the majority will either select wind turbines or solar electric or thermal there is yet another option. All of these systems have their own requirements that determine the best locations for their use but there are yet many situations where using multiple systems or what is known as Hybrid systems which offer far greater versatility and power. However, there are limitations to where these systems can successfully be utilized but nowhere near as many as each of these systems has separately.
Photovoltaic solar electric and solar thermal systems of course must be placed in locations that offer plenty of wide open space free of any obsticals which could potentially shade them from the sun during any part of a day or seasonal change in the sun’s path through the sky. They also are incapable of generating any power during the evening hours. Unless your system configuration has also included a battery backup system you are more than likely either using utility credits your system generated during the daylight hours with net metering or you are using grid power from that utility. Furthermore, unless you are using a pole mounted dual axis sun tracking system there are seasonal adjustments to the racking that must be made in order to maintain the correct angle to the sun so that your power generation is optimized throughout the year.
Wind turbine generators have many building code restrictions which require large acreage plots in order to erect their needed towers which in some cases can exceed 120 feet in height. They also are best used in locations that receive a good deal of quality wind in order for them to be able to generate an optimal volume of power you require. The best part of wind turbine generators is that once they are generating power they will do so 24/7 providing the former requirements have been met. So what happens when your particular home or business requires more power during the daylight hours than it does during the evening hours or vice versa?
Hybrid systems take advantage of the best attributes of multiple systems in order to provide power regardless of the time of day it is needed in any 24 hour period. If your particular location has the necessary acreage, skyline clearances and elevation coupled with the quality winds year round then a hybrid system is your best choice in satisfying these power requirements without being overly dependent on utility provided grid power. Also it should be noted that by adding a battery system to this type of configuration could allow you to take yourself completely off-grid. The available monitoring systems for both wind and solar also make keeping track of the performance of these systems and the power they are generating a snap.
So now you are able to completely use electrical power for all your needs and all of it is being generated through sustainable energy means, but what about your need for hot water? Simply add a solar thermal hot water system to this overall electrical configuration and allow the sun to heat that as well as its primary heat source. Keeping your electric hot water heater included in this configuration will allow you to maintain hot water without being solely dependent on the use of electricity to heat the water. Solar thermal hot water systems in fact can reduce the energy required whether gas or electric by as much as 47% therefore extending the power your electric systems have generated greatly.