Even Better Together- Five Ways Solar Is Better With Other Green Energy Options

Highlights :

  • Among all solar and other renewable combinations, #2 is already in vogue today
Even Better Together- Five Ways Solar Is Better With Other Green Energy Options

Solar power is the fastest-growing energy source globally. The Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028 report reveals that in 2023, global solar installations surged by 87 per cent compared to the previous year. In 2023, 447 GW of new solar capacity was added, up from 239 GW in 2022, bringing the world’s total solar capacity to 1.6 TW. The global solar capacity is expected to reach 2 TW this year, after achieving 1 TW in 2022, and by 2028, annual solar installations could reach 1 TW.

While solar power is an exciting prospect on its own, an even more intriguing opportunity lies in combining solar with other renewable energy sources through advancing technologies. Today, we explore the top five combinations of solar and other renewables that make the most sense.

#5 Solar Pumped Hydro Storage

Adding solar to the concept of using gravity and falling water levels to generate power, solar-pumped hydro storage continuously stores energy throughout the day using a solar water pump powered by a photovoltaic system. The solar water pump draws water from an open well and stores it in a large upper reservoir as potential energy. This stored water is then used to generate electricity continuously during the day and night.

Solar Pumped Hydro Storage combinations

In a way, the pumped storage hydropower is the world’s largest battery technology, accounting for over 94 per cent of installed global energy storage capacity, well ahead of lithium-ion and other battery types. The system could be utilized to provide electricity access in rural areas of developing countries. Along with high energy capacities, pumped storage hydropower doesn’t lose its capacity from cycling. It has the lowest cost/kWh, is reliable, and is capable of supplying continuous power with a lifespan of 40 to 60 years and efficiency ranging from 65 per cent to 87 per cent.

Several companies develop pumped hydro storage projects, including Siemens AG, Enel SpA, Duke Energy Co., and Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA. Currently Pumped Storage remains at the forefront to build enough energy storage to help balance the addition of intermittent renewables to the grid.

#4 Solar and Hybrid Inverters

Solar and hybrid inverters are a great combination, especially in areas with sparse electric infrastructure. With a hybrid solar system, the electricity is routed to a hybrid inverter and battery. Once the battery is full, the excess is channelled through a smart meter to the grid’s power lines. This allows the homeowner to retain a portion of the electricity, which can help power the home not only during overcast days or nights but also if there is an energy blackout.

While the technology is expensive, it can be a lifesaver during long power cuts while still providing reductions in electricity bills.

#3 Wind and Solar

Designed by New York designer Joe Doucet, a modular barrier with vertical wind turbines might just be what solar needs to boost its power generation capabilities. The fence is modular, aesthetically pleasing, and can be installed on rooftops, adding to energy generation on sunny days and picking up the pace on cloudy ones. In a standard setup, where eight helical blades are precisely arranged, the Wind Fence generates about 2,200 kilowatts of energy annually.

Wind and Solar Combination

This solar and wind power combination is already in use at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, India’s first airport to implement it, with modules supplied by Indian firm Windstream Energy Technologies.

#2 Floating Solar and Hydro

Considering the efficiency benefits of having water-cooled solar panels, it’s almost a no-brainer to have floating solar on hydropower plant reservoirs. Properly cooled solar panels have efficiencies that are on average 13 per cent greater than non-cooled panels, which means that power generation from hydropower stations would experience a sizeable bump.

Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid combinations


The successes of projects like the Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid project at multiple project sites by now  show a promising future for the technology exploiting the potential of solar and hydro power combination. India itself hopes to add almost 5 GW of floating solar capacity by 2030, even as worldwide  capacity is expected to cross 60 GW by 2030.

#1 Solar and Heat Pumps

Solar-assisted heat pumps, or SAHPs, is an example of heat pumps and PV solar panels combination into a single integrated system. The solar panels work as the low-temperature heat source, which produces the heat used to feed the heat pump’s evaporator. A solar-assisted heat pump has a large, flat evaporator panel that absorbs the heat from sunlight falling directly onto it and from the air around the panel. This heat is absorbed into a fluid that passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. This raises the temperature and transfers that heat to the hot water cylinder.

The system is relatively cheap to implement, allows for a low-carbon hot water heating system, and can even be used during cold months to replace indoor heating. This combination offers an efficient and sustainable solution for year-round energy needs.

Solar-Assisted Heat Pumps

A solar-assisted heat pump will reduce hot water heating’s carbon emissions as the heat pump technology transfers energy from outside to heat water. It uses electricity to do this, but it delivers more heat energy to hot water than the electrical energy it uses.

Various companies in the market offer solar-assisted heat pumps (SAHPs), including Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin Industries, Bosch Thermotechnology, Viessmann Group, and Stiebel Eltron.

By Yash Singh

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