Hybrid Wind and Solar Electric Systems

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Because the peak operating times for wind and solar systems occur at different times of the day and year, hybrid systems are more likely to produce power when you need it.

According to many renewable energy experts, a small "hybrid" electric system that combines home wind electric and home solar electric  (photovoltaic or PV) technologies offers several advantages over either single system.

In much of the United States, wind speeds are low in the summer when the sun shines brightest and longest. The wind is strong in the winter when less sunlight is available. Because the peak operating times for wind and solar systems occur at different times of the day and year, hybrid systems are more likely to produce power when you need it.

Many hybrid systems are stand-alone systems, which operate "off-grid" -- not connected to an electricity distribution system. For the times when neither the wind nor the solar system are producing, most hybrid systems provide power through batteries and/or an engine generator powered by conventional fuels, such as diesel. If the batteries run low, the engine generator can provide power and recharge the batteries.

Adding an engine generator makes the system more complex, but modern electronic controllers can operate these systems automatically. An engine generator can also reduce the size of the other components needed for the system. Keep in mind that the storage capacity must be large enough to supply electrical needs during non-charging periods. Battery banks are typically sized to supply the electric load for one to three days.

Rebates & Tax Credits

A federal tax credit is available for solar energy systems. The credit is for 30% through 2019, then decreases to 26% for tax year 2020, then to 22% for tax year 2021. It expires December 31, 2021. Learn more and find state and local incentives.

The federal tax credit for small wind energy systems expired at the end of 2016. If you installed a small wind system in 2015 or 2016, file form 5695 with your taxes to claim the credit.