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Roundtable

Wind Vs Solar: Sworn Enemies or Perfect Complements?

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 13:52

Intermittency is a big problem for renewable energies, but instead of implementing hybrid systems with conventional energy sources, would it be feasible to complement wind with solar to mitigate intermittency? Would it be possible for solar peaks to complement times of low wind speeds? Mexico Energy Review asked a panel of experts about the benefits and drawbacks of each technology and the possibility of implementing a fully-renewable energy generation system. 

Oscar Bernal

Oscar Bernal

Director General Mexico
Eosol Energy

By design, wind power’s system and favorable wind sites usually do not favor solar energy, with few exceptions. Favorable wind resources are more often associated with mountainous systems or within close proximity to them, as opposed to favorable solar resources, which are common in large plains with poor winds. Technology-wise, they are absolutely compatible as they compensate each other’s intermittency. Solar is among the most stable renewable energy sources in terms of predictability and with new technological developments, the certainty degree is increasingly higher. Wind power systems, to date, do not provide this degree of power output certainty but they can start producing power as early as 4am, compensating solar power’s limitation of producing power at late hours..
 

Carla Ortiz

Carla Ortiz

Business Development Director
RER Energy Group Mexico

The commercial and industrial niches in particular lack the certifications to work with reliable suppliers and high-quality standards in Mexico. Also, investors need to receive the expected yields and other expectations must be met to boost the growth of the market. Within the value chain, there are many companies trying to enter the country but when it comes to logistics certain elements are still missing and we still need certainty regarding the regulatory issue. The more certainty there is, the more these markets will be catalyzed in the long-term. In this market, we redraw our objectives depending on how the Energy Reform is being implemented and how CFE is reacting. We want to build at least 30MW of our distributed generation pipeline in the next year. We have other projects within the small to medium scale but these are not part of our core business.
 

Kevin Gutiérrez

Kevin Gutiérrez

Sales Vice President of Inverter Business
Huawei Mexico

It is much harder to find a location that meets with all the requirements needed for a solid wind farm project compared to those required for a PV solar park. Wind resources require two to three years of study to gauge attractive wind speed factors. Wind farm investments are higher and developments take longer to build. Capacity factor is another critical variable and it is much higher for wind power than it is for PV power, with the restriction of finding an attractive wind resource location. Under Mexico’s new electricity regulation, the postage stamp scheme with fixed transmission costs is gone. Now, distance matters as costs increase over longer spaces. It is much easier to install a PV solar park directly in the desired node to bypass the transmission risk.