The dependence on conventional energy sources is too much that this is a time to shift to renewable energy sources. In the year 2010 the energy consumption in the world increased by 5%. The solar cell production has increased by 50 % and wind power generation is growing at the rate of 30 % annually. Solar energy and wind energy together can be used to generate electricity. Solar windmill is one such application where solar energy with wind energy can be combined to produce electricity.
Solar Powered Windmill
In a solar powered windmill both solar energy and wind energy are used to produce electricity. Wind is not available all the time so solar energy produced by the solar modules can be used to rotate the windmill and hence a continuous process of electricity generation can be achieved. Thus a solar powered windmill is a hybrid structure where one electricity generation component, i.e., solar panel assists the other electricity generation component, i.e., the windmill or wind turbine.
The difference between a basic windmill and a solar powered windmill is that the latter is not dependent on wind speed as solar panels provide electricity that can be used to rotate the windmill. Whereas, in a basic windmill configuration, the windmill is powered using the wind to produce electricity. Thus a solar powered windmill can work even if there is no wind.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Solar cells are attached to the windmills and when sunlight falls on them they produce electricity. This is due to the face that solar panels are made up of semiconductor materials (like silicon) and when light falls on them, electron movement takes place and hence electricity is produced.
The windmill moves and it is coupled to a shaft that is further connected to a generator and hence electricity is produced. In a windmill rotor is there which rotates with wind velocity.
Wind turbines and solar cells provide DC power. A device is then used to convert this DC power into AC power.
A combined hybrid system consists of two generating plants:
1. A solar panel generating plant
2. A wind turbine system
These sources are connected in parallel to a DC line. The power is then connected to a DC to AC converter device.
A small solar powered windmill costs around $37.50. Solar panels cost from $20 to $400. The time taken to make a solar powered windmill can be reduced by ordering the parts and assembling them.
A simple list of resources (not too technical) needed is as follows:
1. Solar Panel
3. Generator / alternator
Solar panels will produce electricity that can be used to rotate the windmill. So this gives an advantage if the wind is not there. Sunlight is more predictable than wind and thus can be used to produce electricity necessary to rotate the windmill.
The electricity so produced can then be used to run home appliances.
1. The solar panel should be installed at the roof top where there is good sunlight.
2. The windmill should be erected at such a place where the velocity of wind is enough to rotate the windmill when it strikes the blades. A large number of factors need to be taken care of like wind speed, wind direction, horizontal or vertical axis wind turbine etc.
3. The windmill is then connected to the alternator or generator to convert wind power into electricity.
4. The generator, solar panel and battery are then wired into the electrical system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to connect?
Ans: The connections should be made by consulting some experienced person who has good knowledge about the electrical systems.
Q: From where to get the resources needed?
Ans: The resources needed can be searched on the internet and can be ordered online.
Q: Does location plays any role?
Ans: Harnessing solar and wind energy is dependent on the location. Some areas are good for harnessing the energy. For this a study of the location is necessary.
Q: The initial cost is high but what is the benefit then?
Ans: The benefit lies in the fact that in the long run this proves to be beneficial. The initial cost is high but once the project starts then it provides electricity at a cheaper rate.
The windmill is a rotating part. If the speed of wind is high then it may lead to accidents. Sometimes the windmill breaks due to high speed of wind and someone might get injured, so proper care is needed to avoid accidents.
The initial cost is also high if large project is being installed.
The power production is also intermittent. During cloudy days solar panels do not produce electricity and if wind is also not there then no electricity can be generated.
1. This type of electricity generation does not produce any pollution.
2. This is more reliable and durable.
3. There is a huge potential for solar and wind energy.
4. Using a source like this will reduce our dependence on gas, coal and other conventional energy resources.
This system can be further hybridized by connecting it to computer controlled systems. The computerized system can be used for purposes such as detecting power faults. Thus combining solar and wind energy generation can be beneficial.