Study Finds Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Plants Are Twice As Efficient

  • Published on April 24th, 2013 by

A new study by the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Solarpraxis AG has found that solar and wind power generation complement each other better than previously thought.

Photo Credit: taryn_* / / CC BY-NC-ND

The study examined the surface area where solar photovoltaic systems and wind turbines were installed together. In that same surface area, twice the amount of electricity was being generated, and the shading produced by the wind turbines accounted for a mere 1 to 2% loss in the photovoltaic system — which is much less than previously thought would be the case.

One of the strong benefits is the construction of these types of power plants do not require grid expansion since the plants generate wind and solar power at different intervals and during complementary seasons. This helps ensure that the level of energy being fed into the grid is more steady than that of wind or photovoltaic power plants alone.

“Until now, it was thought that the shadows cast on solar plants by wind turbines led to high yield losses. The study shows, however, that these shading losses are much lower than expected, provided the hybrid power plant is well designed,” said Alexander Woitas, head of the engineering department at Solarpraxis AG, parent company of

In the study, they also calculated what effects combining photovoltaic and wind power plants will have on power grids on both a global and regional level.

The bottom line is: solar power plants generate more solar power in the summer, while wind turbines generally produce a lot more electricity during the colder parts of the year — this balances out the overall supply to the grid and keeps it more stable throughout the year.

To continue the research, a photovoltaic system will be  retrofitted with wind turbines in Templin (near Berlin). The pilot plant will be analyzed by Solarpraxis, the Reiner Lemoine Institut, and project partners. The data will be used for feasibility studies of future integration between wind and solar power. This is all part of the German government’s Zwanzig20 research initiative.

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About the Author

Holds an electronic's engineering degree and is working toward a second degree in IT/web development. Enjoy's renewable energy topic's and has a passion for the environment. Part time writer and web developer, full time husband and father.
  • The Germans really go out of their way to make the energy transformation work.

    • xclvet

      Maybe they learned something from their oil supplies being cut off in the past.

  • mustakissa

    Actually it’s not just summer/winter. Solar and wind are also anti-correlated on the synoptic time scale: high air pressure means more sun, low pressure more wind.

    • pfletch

      Just add the daylight(insolation) hours/day. Summer = more solar generation. Heat actually creates inefficiency for PV so clear, cool days are optimum.

      • wattleberry

        If this combination is efficient,surely the addition of thermal to the panels would create the ultimate exploitation? The apparent diminution of interest in this solution is puzzling. Could part of the explanation be the temporary suspension of objectivity by the rapid development of the more complex [and therefore ‘sexy’] PV having a mesmeric effect,or is the extra installation cost the main drawback?
        Is anybody researching it?

        • Jacob Johnston

          The most powerful driver or suppressor of a technology is an economic one. I would imagine the hybrid design drives up the $/Watt which is why this hasn’t made much of an appearance yet. If the costs come down this will have a big impact in the places where land area is at a premium like Japan and India first, followed by the rest if the price can come down enough to compete when more land is readily available

  • pari blades on towers are NQR so will the top ten wind tec company’s reinvent the wheel or do we get stuck in another rut ?