Hybrid solar technologies seek to achieve many of the desirable aspects of solar technologies at the lowest possible costs. Hybrid technologies include hybrid electric systems, PV/thermal technology, and hybrid solar lighting.
Hybrid Electric Systems
Hybrid electric systems combine wind and PV power to best utilize an area’s seasonal wind and solar resources. Wind is relatively more available in the winter and solar energy is relatively more available in the summer. Wind power is generated through a turbine and solar power is generated through a PV system. These hybrid electric systems are often stand-alone systems, which operate off the grid. Most hybrid systems provide power through batteries and/or an engine generator powered by conventional fuels when neither the wind nor solar system generates electricity. Engine generators can provide and power and recharge the batteries if the batteries run low.
PV/Thermal technology generates electricity as well as heat. Multi-purpose PV panels generate electricity and also harvest the heat from the panels. Vents then pull the air from under the PV panels and send it into the home or commercial building for space heating or water.
Hybrid Solar Lighting
Hybrid solar lighting reduces electricity demand while improving light quality and reducing heat waste produced by conventional electric bulbs. Hybrid solar lighting routes sunlight through optical fibers into buildings, where it mixes with electric light in hybrid light fixtures. Sensors keep room lighting steady by adjusting the electric lights based on available sunlight.