With the soaring prices of petroleum products and growing concern over environmental pollution, the days of conventional methods of power generation are certainly numbered. The fast depletion of non-renewable sources of energy is also contributing to abandoning the conventional means of energy generation. These back-dated and polluting methods are being replaced by cleaner and more efficient non-conventional methods of power generation from renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power, and biomass. Though these sources of energy are eco-friendly, they come with their disadvantages and difficulties. Some of the common problems plaguing the most popular renewable energy sources are:
- In the case of solar energy generation, the panels are very costly to set up. Also, a solar power grid cannot provide 100% efficiency in the generation on days where the sun doesn’t come out.
- In the case of wind power generation, less windy days see a significant drop in production.
- In the case of a biomass power plant, lower temperatures lead to lower production.
To do away with all these disadvantages, a new system of power generation, known as the hybrid power generation system, has been introduced in the scenario.
As the name suggests, hybrid systems of power generation encapsulate two or more sources of power generation into one efficient system. The constituent sources are usually non-conventional sources like solar energy and wind energy.
These hybrid systems of power generation have huge advantages over stand-alone non-conventional sources of power generation. Some of these benefits are listed below.
- As hybrid systems involve two or more non-conventional sources, their production is largely independent of the prevailing weather conditions. These systems remain operational during all seasons unlike stand-alone systems like solar plants which produce nearly zero output during the monsoon season.
- The load is distributed over the constituent sources. Hence, there is no steep production demand over one individual source resulting in the longevity of the equipment involved.
- The hybrid systems are becoming popular because they can be used to provide electricity to remote areas as solar and wind power are abundant in most of the regions.
- Hybrid energy systems are found to yield greater economic and environmental returns as compared to stand-alone energy systems like geothermal, solar or wind.
- The process involved in power generation by hybrid systems is cleaner than conventional methods of power generation.
Hybrid power systems incorporating solar power plants, windmills and bio-fuel plants are already operational in countries like the USA, Italy and are paying huge dividends. Further research is being conducted to improve the cost efficiency, improve performance and integrate hybrid systems with conventional systems of power generation.