One of the images I’ve held in my mind over the past 12 years of taking an interest in renewables is the big shiny solar farm, with a half-dozen or so full-scale wind turbines standing like sentinels on the north side of the facility.
This application has been experimented with for years, primarily in industrial off-grid applications such as mining and remote island grids.
Increasingly this is being deployed on the major utility grids, as both solar and wind have continued to mature. Integration of technologies has matured as well, delivered by the increasingly-sophisticated BOS (balance-of-systems) components that collect, condition, monitor and deliver electricity.
The lynchpin that is helping to tie it all together is the increasingly robust, and importantly, increasingly affordable battery storage technology. Other forms of storage (compressed air, giant flywheels, etc) continue to find niche applications as well, but it is lithium-ion that is realizing major gains as costs fall, and technology improves. The ultimate outcome: responsive, dispatchable 24/7 renewable energy.
Construction imminent on major solar-wind-storage hybrid plant in Queensland, Dec 2017, PV-Tech.org
Hybrid wind-solar energy storage market to grow 9.8% CAGR from 2017 to 2024, March 2018, Windpower Engineering & Development
Vestas Hybrid Solutions: Changing the Game (commercial)
From engineers to entrepreneurs, this is becoming a very hot slice of the market to focus in on. Renewables Integration and Storage, or, “Super-Renewables”. My term, just coined, lets see if it catches fire.