As renewable energy technologies become more advanced, there is a growing interest in the benefits of combining two or more energy sources: hybrid energy.
Pairing geothermal with solar, or wind and solar with batteries, for example, can lead to better efficiency and a more balanced output. Importantly, hybrid energy solutions can also be tailored to the environment, adapting to variants such as changing weather conditions and peak seasons for wind and solar sources. They can be integrated alongside existing power generation systems, enabling companies and communities to make full use of their assets and ensure a stable supply.
Hybrid energy holds particular potential for developing and remote countries, many of which have a fast-growing need for electricity. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Africa’s GDP could increase roughly three-fold by 2030 and seven-fold by 2050. Yet, current energy trends indicate that in 2030 there will still be 655 million people in Africa without access to power (42% of the population). A much larger and more effective energy sector will be needed to sustain the continent’s projected economic growth. With poor grid connectivity in many distant and rural areas, decentralised energy has a major role to play, and hybrid solutions offer the advantages of flexibility, reliability and economies of scale.
This issue can be overcome by introducing advanced energy storage technologies. High-performing control and management systems are also needed to increase energy conversion efficiency, allow operators to utilise all their assets and ensure both stability and profitability.
Vergnet’s patented hybrid solution, Hybrid Wizard™, was the first to maximise renewable energy penetration with real time grid power quality feedback. Any combination of wind, photovoltaic solar and battery storage, for new and existing diesel systems is possible. The hybrid energy software achieves lower fuel consumption, lower cost per kWh and short payback time while also ensuring consistent grid stability and power quality. Hybrid Wizard™ delivers impressive electricity and cost savings – typically ranging from 25%-30% (without storage) to more than 70% in very remote locations with high diesel prices.
Hybrid Wizard™ technology is at the heart of a number of Vergnet projects, like Tarawa solar hybrid power plant developed by a partner with whom VERGNET worked on several projects. This project consists to integrate 500 kWp of photovoltaic production in a low capacity grid based on an island of the Republic of Kiribati.The solar PV plant will benefit the local community by supplying more than 850 MWh of energy and saving 227,000 litres of fuel per year.