Since the sun only provides power during the day, parts of the solar power generated during the day must be stored for use during the dark hours of the day. Storage of electricity is very costly and for a standalone solar power plant the storage must be done on-site.
Energy storage in form of Batteries has developed tremendously in recent years and Tesla is today building battery systems that can service large cities. However, the problem with batteries is still the negative impact it has on the environment, both in terms of raw materials and recycling. However, electrolyte storage based on iron or hydrogen is a completely different matter. They are both clean and durable, but still very expensive.
In well thought-out sustainable systems the need for storage can be reduced by other sources of power. Both hydropower and wind power are renewable and generate power around the clock, making them suitable to combine with solar power. At night, they cover up and reduce the need for expensive storage.
The economic advantage of combining solar power with small-scale wind and hydropower is quite significant and to give an example; the Power One's project in Kabonga, Burundi, will use both of these sources, in combination of both electrolyte storage and hydrogen. At Tanganyika's shore there's good and stable wind-flow, therefore a traditional but small-scale wind turbine will be erected. Further up in the mountains, however, the wind becomes turbulent and there Power One will apply a number of smaller vertical wind turbines specially made for tropical turbulent wind.
The most important complement to the solar power in the example Kabonga in Burundi is a small river that flows through the area. The flow is constant with high fall height and is well suited for so-called smart hydropower that does not damage biodiversity.
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