When wind and solar come together
With solar becoming cost competitive with wind, towards 2020, wind and solar together are expected to become the largest generation source of new renewable energy installs going forward. While both sources on their own suffer from a degree of variability (the wind doesn’t always blow and neither does the sun always shine), both of them paired together deliver a much more reliable energy stream than each would on its own.
Juhl Energy, an established leader and pioneer in the renewable energy industry with a focus on competitive, clean energy solutions, including wind, solar and hybrid power project development and management, approached GE Renewable Energy in terms of using GE’s Wind Integrated Solar Energy (WiSE) platform for one of its first First Commercial U.S. Integrated Solar-Wind Hybrid Projects.
In a “Wind Integrated Solar Energy” (WiSE) solution, owners integrate wind and solar at the wind turbine level instead of farm-level rather than running a wind and solar plant independently. Integrating at the wind turbine level leverages the existing wind converter as a hybrid converter to source AC and DC power together, eliminating the need for a separate solar inverter. With the integration at the turbine level one can also leverage the existing electrical connection infrastructure and Balance of Plant equipment which reduces the overall CAPEX per MW output.
Pete McCabe, President & CEO, Onshore Wind, GE Renewable Energy, said, “By leveraging the complementary nature of wind and solar, this unique project shows how GE is driving technology innovation that will help customers deliver more renewable energy in an even more efficient manner.”
Dan Juhl, CEO of Juhl Energy remarked, “Most energy experts agree that distributed generation will play a major role in the implementation of renewable energy in the US electrical market in the years to come. Juhl Energy’s package design, with the GE hybrid technology, can economically blend clean, renewable energy into the grid at lower cost, plus add reliability to the system.”
The 4.6MW community based project in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, developed by Juhl Energy, will use two 2.3-116 wind turbines from GE Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind business supported by 1MW of solar power conversion equipment provided by GE’s Current business. The project is expected to enter commercial operation later in 2017.