One of the biggest names in distributed wind has teamed up with a solar technology company to develop and offer a wind-solar hybrid system that will be available as early as this month.
Distributed wind turbine producer Southwest Windpower Inc., and Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR) announced an exclusive strategic alliance to design and manufacture wind-solar hybrid systems. But while the announcement of the partnership came this week, the companies have already developed what they are calling “the first fully integrated wind-solar hybrid system of substantial capacity.” The combination of advanced small wind turbines with microprocessor-controlled solar tracking technology delivers more consistent energy and represents a new chapter in small-scale, on-site power generation, the companies said.
Southwest Windpower’s initial wind-solar offering, named Skystream Hybrid 6, uses a Skystream 3.7 wind generator, six solar panels and a GPS-controlled tracking mechanism that rotates the panels to capture the best available sunlight. The tracking mechanism delivers up to 35 percent more energy than fixed panels on a rooftop, according to the companies. The solar panels and tracker are mounted on the wind turbine’s tower, which minimizes the system’s visual impact and reduces the costs compared with separate systems. State and local incentives for solar and wind systems can reduce the overall costs significantly in many locations.
The Skystream Hybrid 6 will be available initially in the continental U.S. later this month, followed by worldwide rollout through Southwest Windpower’s global distribution network.
Carl Levesque is the Communications Editor at AWEA. This article first appeared in the AWEA Windletter and was reprinted with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.