Solar-wind Hybrid systems have the potential to be the wave that can drive renewable energy growth, worldwide. The market was valued at $ 925.2 million in 2019 and is estimated to grow by 7.2 per cent CAGR between 2020 and 2027. Stringent environment conditions have led to increased adoption of environmentally friendly solar-wind power generation systems and have proved to be lucrative for various countries across Europe, Asia, Australia, and in the United States.

Solar-wind hybrid systems work in a complex yet simple manner. A solar-wind hybrid system uses a wind turbine generator and solar panels to generate power in a decentralized mode. This system is then connected to a charge controller that handles both systems for charging the battery whenever energy is needed. A compatible inverter converts DC output to AC for applications such as power transmission, appliance powering, and so on. When both solar and wind are unavailable, the battery in on-grid hybrid systems is charged by the grid.

In a solar-wind hybrid system, solar power produced during the day and wind power produced during the night is stored to fulfil the energy requirements around the clock. Hybrid power is a solution to the inherent challenges of renewable energy i.e., availability of intermittent sources of energy and constrained output due to single source of energy. These systems are increasingly cost competitive and help in enhancing grid stability and reliability. Moreover, in contrast to single power system, a hybrid system helps mitigate seasonal fluctuations, maximizes efficiency, allow for location specific flexibility, provide higher power density, and also extends battery life.

With conventional sources of energy being put to the side, a growing dependence can be observed on renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and water due to their vast environmental and future benefits. India is also on its way towards transitioning into a green economy and along with singular renewable energy sources, it has experimented with hybrid systems as well. Talking in favor of the hybrid power systems, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “hybrid solar and wind power complex would bring annual carbon dioxide savings of 50 million tons and compared it to 90 million trees.” These projects would further India’s goal of becoming a zero-carbon country and leading the world to a greener future with the adoption of clean technology.

Solar-wind hybrid systems are vital in accelerating India’s energy transition and aiding it to achieve 500 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030. To facilitate this, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) adopted the National Wind-Solar Policy in 2018 to provide incentives and wavers to developers. In addition, state governments have promoted their own policies to regulate the space for developers, top amongst them being Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. The Solar Energy cooperation of India (SECI) has also been instrumental in facilitating hybrid projects in collaboration with private sector players and governments by issuing low tariff tenders. Moreover, in recent times investment in the solar-wind hybrid projects have also picked pace as investors race to be a part of the green-conscious side of the energy industry.

ReNew Power has commissioned a large solar-wind project in Gujarat with the aim to commission 250 Megawatts (MW) of solar-wind hybrid power in the state. Similarly, Adani Green Energy has raised $ 288 million to fund solar-wind hybrid projects in the state of Rajasthan to produce up to 450 MW of energy, and Tata Power has also won the contract to set up a 300 MW solar-wind hybrid project in Maharashtra.

India has an ideal geography for wind-solar hybrid projects as both sources of energy are vastly available in different locations in the country. The MNRE has set out the solar-wind hybrid policy to facilitate planning and implementation of hybrid projects, SECI has tendered some large-scale projects, state governments are showing initiatives and private sector is also substantially motivated. The government has tendered some investment in the area but there is still a huge potential to increase the number of hybrid plants. Though challenges exist, India can deal with them, and is set to enter the sector, utilise hybrid power, decarbonise its economy and lower energy costs.

This blog has been authored by Kanika Verma and Bhamini Rathore. 

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