Hybrid solar, a new era in baseload solar

17 Apr.,2023


When people talk about hybrid energy solutions, there are usually three alternatives. The first involves engine hybrids where a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant is added to a diesel plant for added capacity. The second solution involves adding energy storage (using batteries) and PV to an existing diesel plant, also for added capacity. And the third option, which the world will see more of coming years, is a pure solar hybrid plant coupled together with the latest in energy storage technology.

This last solution, a hybrid solar PV and storage solution, was unveiled by Wärtsilä in Munich, Germany in June 2018 at the annual Intersolar Europe conference, a major international event for the renewable energy industry.         

Renewables as baseload

The buzzword for this solar PV and storage energy solution is: “renewables as baseload,” an energy production scenario that is not only climate-friendly and increases system resilience and efficiencies but also can be supported by a power producer’s existing grid infrastructure, hence setting a new hybrid standard.

The trend worldwide is very clear. Renewable energy sources, like PV, are being installed at a record rate around the world to accommodate the need for a cleaner energy mix and a growing world population and urbanisation. According to the International Energy Association (IAE) and its World Energy Outlook 2017, a city the size of Shanghai is added to the world’s urban population every four months. And by 2040, total global energy generation capacity is forecast to increase by 60%, and renewable energy sources will make up more than 45% of that total. With growing production volumes and continuous innovation, the cost of renewable energy technologies is improving and in many cases, already today, represent the most feasible alternative.

In another recent market outlook, compiled this time by Bloomberg, which forecasts global energy sources between 2017 and 2040, coal, gas, and nuclear power will progressively diminish while solar and other renewables will gain massive traction. (See figure 1)

To achieve this added penetration of climate neutral renewables in the global energy sector, it is crucial for the industry, in general, to optimise system performance in every aspect of power generation across the board.

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