71 MW Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Plant in Arizona with Solar Tracking! Wow, that’s Cool!

I was quite excited to read about a rather unique combination of renewable energy technologies

“Array Technologies(ATI) has announced the commissioning and completion of the tracking system for the 71 MW Red Horse 2 combined wind and solar project, which is expected to provide power for 13,500 Arizona homes.

The plant generates energy from Vestas V110 wind turbines and 75 MW-dc of Jinko solar modules, whose power output is optimized by Array Technologies’ DuraTrack® HZ single-axis trackers. The Red Horse 2 project is one of the first combined wind and solar sites in the country.”

 

A solar farm co-located with a wind farm. That is something I look forward to seeing, especially after having done a detailed study on the same at Solar Mango a few months back.

For those who are keen on knowing more, colocating solar farms within a wind farm appears like a rather obvious idea – after all, there is so much land available within many wind farms in which really nothing is done!

But surprisingly, during our study we found that there were HARDLY ANY colocated solar and wind farms in the world. Some of the very few we were indeed able to identify, we were not really sure if they were actually in operation!

And even more surprisingly, on undertaking a feasibility study for the same on behalf of the Govt of Tamil Nadu, we found that such a colocated concept was both technically and economically very much feasible – there were hardly any major technical bottleneck, and economics seemed to be more favorable than an individual solar or wind farm.

 

Which is why I am quite excited to know about this solar/wind colocated farm. And almost 75 MW to boot! What’s more, it comes with a solar tracking system too.

Lots of technologies to interest a renewable energy enthusiast, what do you say?

 

9 thoughts on “71 MW Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Plant in Arizona with Solar Tracking! Wow, that’s Cool!

  1. Kiran Shah

    Will these solar farms use a single inverter that works for both solar and wind, or will there be separate inverters for each?

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Excellent question, Kiran

      Right now, no one actually knows as there is hardly any large scale solar/wind hybrid farm that is operational worldwide, at least there is no such farm that is reporting any progress on the ground

      But, based on a feasibility study Solar Mango did for the Tamil Nadu government some time back, I can say the following:

      1. Currently, policy is the key bottleneck because unless there is a policy that allows a tariff for blended solar and wind power, using a single inverter will not be operationally possible even if it is technically possible

      2. If the policy issue is resolved, having a single hybrid inverter that works for both solar and wind is definitely possible and we even know of some companies that have started working with prototypes – remember, a wind converter is more sophisticated than a solar inverter as it does an AC-DC-AC conversion (solar does just the second half) and a wind converter also needs to deal with a more volatile input (wind is more volatile than solar). So you can easily imagine why wind turbine OEMs making wind converters might not find it too difficult to develop an integrated solar-wind inverter.

      Hope I was able to provide some inputs

      Solar-wind hybrid is an interesting space and I am keenly looking forward to more developments in this

      Thanks once again for the interesting and super-useful question

  2. Pankaj Naithani

    Solar and wind combination…very interesting.

    Especially becos of the complementary nature of solar and wind – when sun shines little wind, and lots of wind during night times

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Hi Pankaj –

      Precisely!

      The complementarity is one of the key reasons that many around the world are excited about a solar/wind hybrid.

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Dear Shruti

      Yes, it is indeed a nice idea

      In addition to using the space lying vacant between wind turbines ( in cases where farming is not done on this land), cohabitated solar and wind farms can also use the same transmission and evacuation infra.

      Sometimes, depending on how the sizes of solar and wind farms are decided, an existing wind farm can house an additional solar farm in its middle without increasing the size of the already existing transformer.

      However, if the wind and solar power plants are of comparable sizes, some augmentation could be required for the transformers and other electricals, but such costs for a combined solar/wind farm will be lower than the sum of independent solar and wind farms of equivalent sizes.

      Hope my answer helped.

  3. Venky Krishnan

    Why aren’t there lots of wind farms already having solar panels in the middle if this is such a great concetp. I think there must be some other constraint because this is other wise really obvious idea, no?

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