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Hybrid Wind-Solar System in Nebraska

Pika Energy, of Westbrook, Maine, and GenPro Energy Solutions, of Piedmont, South Dakota, have completed the installation of the first integrated wind-solar hybrid installation at a public school in the United States. The hybrid energy system was installed for the Ravenna Public Schools in Ravenna, Nebraska. It was funded by a private grant.

Pika’s inverters handle a combination power from different sources, making it easy to demonstrate different kinds of renewable energy to students. Courtesy of Pica Energy.

Pika’s inverters handle a combination power from different sources, making it easy to demonstrate different kinds of renewable energy to students. Courtesy of Pica Energy.

Pika Energy manufactures residential wind turbines, wind-solar hybrid systems, and equipment for small, versatile microgrid systems. GenPro Energy Solutions provides customized energy solutions, including solar photovoltaics. Combined, they had all the skills and equipment necessary to complete the unique installation.

Dwaine Uttecht, Superintendent of Ravenna Public Schools, can take pride in the school’s new system. He said he was excited in the technology, partly because of the educational opportunity it gives the school’s students. He explained, “We are able to easily see the energy output for the wind turbine and solar panel and use them as a comparison with the traditional electricity consumption. We use this renewable energy at our Youth Center that is a safe place for students to work on homework and build relationships with their peers.”

The hybrid system will generate power from both wind and solar for the Ravenna Public Schools. The installation includes a Pika T701 Home Wind Turbine and a ground-mounted solar array. These are connected in parallel to a Pika X3001 Hybrid Inverter. Rather than requiring a separate inverter for each energy source, Pika’s REbus™ DC Microgrid connects both power sources to the utility AC grid through the larger central inverter. This approach is more economical than can be had from conventional systems. It offers flexibility in site layout and design, and enables smarter grid management. The school has access to information about all of its renewable energy sources and electrical loads from a single web-based interface.

Jeremy Anderson, GenPro’s President, directed the installation team at Ravenna Public Schools. He said, “The integration of multiple renewable technologies allows us to offer a solution for our clients that maximizes independent energy production.” Going on, he pointed out, “Pika’s system offers two renewable technologies that absolutely complement each other.”

Ben Polito, President and Co-founder of Pika Energy, added, “Wind-solar hybrid energy systems are ideal for campus settings because they can make the most out of the resources available even on a small footprint. We are really proud to have our technology installed at Ravenna High School.” He also commented on the educational value of the system, saying, “In addition to generating clean energy, our REbus Microgrid lets students monitor energy production, and hopefully get excited about a career in renewable energy.”

Chip Means, Pika Energy’s Director of Sales Development, said the system provides a small but significant part of the school system’s energy needs. However, it also makes a statement that sustainable energy is important and gives students a real-world educational experience they otherwise would not get.

Pika Energy’s website is pika-energy.com.

Genpro Energy Solutions’ website is genproenergy.com

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