Power from Wind and Sun
Human activities are rapidly depleting non-renewable energy sources; therefore hybrid energy has emerged as a viable alternative.
There is nothing new in seeking power from wind and sun. All plants and animals on this earth have lived on them, just as human beings too. However, such sourcing of power has happened biologically, thanks to the inbuilt systems in our bodies. During the pre-industrial era, ships were moved by wind and fruits were dried by sun, but today human activities are so complex, we need advanced methods to harness powers from nature.
Among the many words that evolved during the recent years, hybrid energy has gained much importance. Simply put, it is generating power from multiple sources, like wind and sun, instead of relying only upon the supply by the state grid. Majority of state grids in our country are not able to ensure full day electric supply and human activities are rapidly depleting non-renewable energy sources; as such hybrid energy has emerged as a viable alternative.
The simplest way to power a building is to compliment grid supply with both wind turbines and solar panels. Turbines produce AC current while solar panels produce DC current and the grid has AC current.
Finally we need AC energy; as such respective sources go through energy meters for necessary conversions, reaching the inverter which has a control mechanism to switch between the inputs. Power from the electricity grid is drawn after the other sources are drained out, thereby saving on our bills.
Solar power is becoming more common today, but wind turbines continue to be ignored. The quantity of power output possible from wind and solar has to be calculated specifically for each location, using technical meters by subject experts, besides the needs and budget of the owners.
To illustrate, a house with 3 KVa need, can get 1 KVa from wind and 2 KVa from solar, if site conditions permit. All expertise and equipment are available in India today. We also have experts further researching into these, reducing technical hurdles like torque, cogging etc. like Rajat from Mysore who has installed the hybrid system at Nippani Eye Hospital at Gokak successfully.
Turbines are now available that make very low sound, work with slow wind and are much cheaper compared to the earlier models. Of course, inverters continue to be vulnerable against lightning and electric surges, hence installing surge protection devices (SPD), electronic line control breaker (ELCB) and such others is advised.
Despite many advantages, why is alternative energy still not popular? It is strange but true – our governments supply power at such low, subsidised tariffs, every other power source appears costly and hinders its advancement. As such, the decision to shift to hybrid power has to come from the awareness of energy crisis, to have a feel-good factor and of course to get uninterrupted supply.
Accordingly, investing in hybrid power may be more beneficial in apartments and commercial complexes.
It is time we dream of houses which live on their own, with no dependency on city supplies. To that end, installing hybrid energy is the first step.