Firming wind energy with solar photovoltaics



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A number of research and development groups and several renewable project operators have examined combining wind power production with on-site solar power production. Past research has been devoted to small, off-grid applications only. In the absence of actually building a utility-scale project, short time scale (5 minutes) estimates of combined power production are difficult to simulate due to the lack of hub-height wind data combined with on-site solar insolation data available in similar time scales. This presentation will present hub-height, high-fidelity, wind data from the Texas Tech University’s 200-meter meteorological tower combined with a co-located solar pyranometer to estimate short-term (5-minute) power production data. Recent reduced costs associated with solar-PV may make this option more attractive in the future. This analysis addresses fixed-plate, single- and dual-axis PV arrays. This presentation also includes an economic analysis of the wind-only, solar-only, and combined wind-solar plants. Over the past few years, renewable energy has entered the electrical grid at an exponential rate. To reduce the uncertainties for the grid operator, wind power plants “firm” their production under power purchase agreements (PPA’s) paying penalties when the “firm” production is not met. This puts more risk on the wind power provider in order to secure a higher sale price. Since wind power is best at night and solar power is only during the day, by combining their synergies, uncertainty is reduced and higher PPA’s are possible. This analysis will present economic estimates of the ability of plant operators to secure higher purchase prices for power by raising the “firm” production level and reducing the uncertainties.



Wind energy, Solar energy, Firming wind energy, Wind and solar energy, Firming wind with solar