Hybrid wind-solar generator for rooftop applications


From pv magazine International

French startup Wind my Roof has developed a small-scale hybrid wind-solar power generator for rooftop applications.

The system consists of a 1,500 W wind turbine and two 600 W solar modules. The company said the pairing of the two sources helps maintain a good level of production all year round, while optimizing the use of space on the roof.

The hybrid WindBox system can purportedly produce up to 2,000 kWh of wind energy and up to 800 kWh of photovoltaic energy per year, for a total of 2,800 kWh/year. In addition, the system integrates the same inverter and battery, which results in lower costs, according to the company.

The system requires a rooftop area of 4m² and measures 2.1 meters x 1.6 meters x 2 meters. It weighs 300 kg. It has been tested under extreme climatic conditions and its automatic safety systems can provide resistance to up to 180 km per hour of wind and temperatures down to -15 C. It is equipped with anti-vibration, fixing systems and a hull that makes it silent.

The manufacturer said that 92% of the installation is made in France. It added that a life-cycle assessment (LCA) study is now being certified.

The idea of developing the technology began at the end of 2016, during a course in fluid mechanics at the École des Ponts, where two engineers were studying the recovery of wind energy from buildings. Research shows that only one place on a rooftop is really usable – the ridge of a building. The wind “takes off” above the buildings it hits, after climbing up the facade and accelerating slightly.

On the edge of the roof, the WindBox can recover horizontal and vertical winds, said the company. This also offers good exposure to the sun, while optimizing a rarely used area and leaving space available for traditional solutions, such as more rooftop PV.

The company has installed a prototype on a building in La Défense, in Paris.

“We have international goals, and ambitions especially in Germany,” said Yanis Maacha, a company spokesperson.

The company – with the support of the SolarImpulse Foundation, BPIFrance, and the French environmental agency, Ademe – recently raised €700,000 ($790,280). It is now preparing to launch the installation of its first eight power plants in Rouen, in Normandy.

The company has also secured support from French engineering group Segula Technologies, both in terms of design and production development.

“The energy transition is an essential sector of diversification for our group. This is the challenge for the future that we wish to address,” said Segula Technologies Technical Director Nicolas Fraisse. “Thanks to our HeXplora startup support platform, we were able to support Wind my Roof in the first stages of their production to assemble the first eight WindBox prototypes.”

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