A charge controller is a regulator that simply protects your battery from high wattage solar panels. It regulates the voltage and current coming from the solar panel. Typically if there is not regulator batteries can be permanently damaged from high voltage surges and overcharging.
Yes, solar power and wind power are often combined to capture the natural resources of all weather conditions. Nature Power Wind Generators are equipped with a MPPT wind charge controller and may be hooked up to the same battery banks as the solar array. Solar and wind charge controllers specify their incoming voltage ranges and cannot be interchanged with each other.
Wind power works very similar to solar power by converting wind energy to electric energy, and the energy produced must be stored in a battery or batteries. When the blades turn on a wind turbine they create exchanges with magnetic contacts inside the turbine body which produce the electric energy.
A solar panel is made up of photovoltaic modules or solar cells. When these modules are exposed to the photons found within sunlight, electrons of the solar cells are knocked loose. These loose electrons create an electrical current which can be harnessed in batteries for electrical needs.
You can recharge any rechargeable 12 volt battery; Lead-Acid, Deep cycle, gel-cel and heavy duty batteries.