Rooftop solar is undoubtedly the leader when it comes to home-generated renewable energy. Unfortunately, we all know its big limitation, and there is no way to sugar-coat it or make it sound a bit less harsh- solar panels generate power only during the day, and are most efficient when the sun is strong.
While this might explain why the hype over Tesla’s new home battery is so huge, in fact it is not really a hype, it is simply a great demand for such technology, energy storage is not the only option for people, who want to produce their own energy at home when the sun is down.
Here is the SolarMill hybrid technology, comprised of three 300W solar panels and three vertical axis wind turbines. The whole unit weighs around 375 lbs.(170 kg), which is an equivalent in weight to about 15 standard average sized solar panels. It is 10×10′ deep and 7′ high (in metric untis 3m x 3m x 2.1m).
Under the most optimal conditions, it can produce around 135 kWh per month. The wind power generator alone is quite an interesting feature, I guess because it is quite a great substitute and addition to the not-always-generating-power solar panels. It can produce energy at wind speeds as low as 4.5mph (2m/s). The unit also comes with a micro-inverter, and a monitoring service, which is accessible through the internet 24/7.
Initially, the technology was made for developing countries, or any remote areas where the grid is unstable or non-existent. However, because of the huge interest, and I guess demand, the developers, WindStream Technologies, brought it to the U.S. market. The hybrid solar and wind unit can be purchased at a very reasonable price of $3,125.
For quite some time now, I have been keeping an eye on options for wind power generation at home, which could be viable and at the same time quiet enough to qualify as neighbor-friendly. I must say, SolarMill seems like one of the very few technologies that offer something, which is not far-fetched. It combines the best of both worlds: solar and wind, and has the full potential to become quite a competitor on the home-based renewable energy market. I would certainly not dismiss it.
Image (c) Windstream