Indian researchers have created the Hybrid Power Utilization Index to identify the optimal locations for the construction of new solar and wind hybrid power plants. They have evaluated the retrofitting of existing standalone plants and found that all but one of the eight plants could be hybridized, increasing power by up to 400% per year.
The researchers collected data on wind and solar resources in India between 1979 and 2019 using the fifth-generation European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts software (ECMWF ERA5). They only considered solar and wind potential hybrid plants with an installed capacity of 2.8 MW.
The results show that hybridization could increase the annual output to 10 GWh in most of India and up to 18 GWh in the western part of the country. The peak of independent solar production is around 7 GWh in the northern part of the country. The peak of independent wind production is around 14 GWh in the western region.
The Hybrid Power Usability Index shows that most regions in India are suitable for hybrid installations for peak load demand. South West India is ideal for meeting the base load demand.
The researchers also found that seven out of eight solar or wind power plants can be successfully retrofitted as hybrid power plants.
“The profitability of hybridization has been determined by calculating the increase in electricity production with hybridization,” they said. “Technically, the project can be considered profitable if the annual increase in electricity production is more than 50%, because 50% of the capacity is new in the system.”
The researchers shared their findings in the paper “Hybrid Wind-Solar Energy and Resource Concurrency: An Indian Case Study for Site Selection and Feasibility Checks” published recently 5th International Conference on Renewable Energy and Environmental Technology.
They said their approach considered India as a case study but could be used anywhere in the world.
“The current approach will also help project developers and decision makers to select optimal locations for more reliable (wind and solar hybrid) power plants,” they concluded.