Harnessing and coordinating the power of wind, solar and battery storage and smoothly integrating these resources with the grid is a formidable technical challenge, but it is crucial to America’s future of mixed-source renewable energy. A maker of vertical axis wind turbines, WePOWER, in partnership with Aura Systems, a manufacturer of advanced generators and power management systems, recently introduced the first hybrid system to manage these energy sources.

The makers claim this new system provides comprehensive computer control and management of these diverse energy streams to provide a clean, uninterrupted supply of electricity. It combines and stores power from multiple clean sources and draws power from the grid during off-peak hours when rates are lowest. In this way, users can draw electricity, regardless of the avail-ability of wind or sunlight. The objective is to reduce overall energy costs by seamlessly tapping the lowest cost power source at any given time.

“The power management system allows the user to handle peak loads during periods when wind or solar energy or the combination of the two is not available in sufficient amounts, by combining their energy with batteries. As soon as the load demand drops, the batteries are recharged by the energy supplied by the alternative sources,” said Arthur Schwartz, Aura’s CTO.

Vertical axis wind turbines can be installed anywhere but are particularly suited to urban installations because they can be mounted on sides of buildings, on towers and on roofs. This design configuration has lower noise and vibration than bladed ma-chines and is safer for birds because the unit is seen more as a mass rather than as transparent blade movement. The blades, called airfoils, on the WePOWER machines are made of composite fiber and can be configured to produce anywhere from 1 kW to more than 2 MW.

“This hybrid solution is based on the ideas used in our military power management solution. The availability of this new approach will provide a paradigm shift in the use of alternative energy solutions for individual sites and users,” said Melvin Gagerman, Aura’s CEO.