We hear a lot of fuzz about solar-wind hybrid power plants. Its surprising why there’s no major projects which utilize solar energy to multiply the output from an existing hydro electric power station.
A solar-hydel hybrid plant would work, in a very basic sense, as below –
- Photo voltaic panels are deployed in arrays supported on floating barges in the reservoir. (OR on barren land if available in proximity)
- Additional penstock-turbine-generator circuits are built for the EXTRA power to be generated.
- A sump collects the water used by the NEW water circuits described in step 2.
- Solar energy created by the PV arrays are used by several DC motors to pump the water from sump back to the reservoir.
(Detailed design will involve output power, back-up duration, fluid flow losses etc as design parameters.)
This method has these advantages –
- Removes the need of batteries which are expensive to procure and maintain too. Instead here solar energy is stored as potential energy of water.
- Removes the need for expensive power electronics for DC to AC conversion.
- Reduces evaporation losses of water from reservoir considerably.
- Reduces the need for new Dams for increasing power generation.