Wind-solar Hybrid System Set for Release This Month

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.

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Carl is Editor & Publications Manager at the American Wind Energy Association, where has worked since 2006. At AWEA he oversees AWEA's online and print publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, Windpower Update, and other products. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans teaching as well as working with homeless youth.

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