Solar Power vs. Wind Power – What is Better to Choose?

Posted on : 12-02-2014 | By : Max | In : Alternative Energy

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GUIDE: How To Make a DIY Solar Power System At Home

solar power vs. wind power

We have made so many technological advancements in the past few decades but have often failed to see that all the changes that we are making are linked to one particular thing that is extremely scarce: energy. Although we have a number of energy sources available to us, most of what we consume at this time would be from fossil fuels, coal, or nuclear energy. They all have certain side effects. With the advent of global warming as well as the rising prices of fossil fuels, people have begun to look into other sources of energy; cleaner and cheaper energy that could power up homes and allow us to live comfortably.

The two most popular sources of energy are, of course, the most abundant resources on the planet. There are two: the sun or solar energy, and the wind. Now the most common question is which is the better option between the two? For this question, there is not a direct answer, because there are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration. If you are looking to supplementing your home energy with a renewable source, here are some of the things that you will need to look into:

1) Installation Location – this is the first thing that needs to be observed because your location will determine how productive and effective your energy sources will be. Here are the requirements for each:

a) Solar panels – unfortunately, these do not generate as much energy as one would like once it is exposed to sunlight. If you are to use solar panels, you need to put them in a place that is hit directly by sunlight for the majority of the day (if your home is overshadowed by a mountain then this choice is not right for you). Since each panel does not generate a lot of electricity as well, you would need to install a lot. Each panel is roughly 2 feet by 4 feet, and you would need about 10 to generate over 300kWh of power. This means you will have to have a free space of 20 feet by forty feet in order to accommodate the panels.
b) Wind turbines – just like solar power, turbines that catch the wind and use it to create energy are also very choosy. They need consistently high wind speeds before they can start generating electricity and that can only be done if there are no obstacles near the turbine. It is suggested that wind turbines be installed at least 80 feet above the ground, which is about twice the height of a regular telephone pole. Before setting up your turbine, you would also need to check how consistent the wind is as well as the direction where the wind is coming from. If the wind consistently changes direction then your turbine might just end up running after the wind most of the time instead of just spinning lazily in order to generate energy.

Do note that if the installation of either is poorly planned, you would hardly get any energy and therefor not get any return on the investment that you just made. As it stands, it already takes years for one to start earning from a consistent renewable energy source installation.

2) Cost – technological advances have happened over the years, and this has resulted in the decrease of production cost for solar panels. In some areas in the world, the governments have also come to recognize the importance of the use of renewable energy, and they have put incentives on the installation and use of these technologies. Some power companies have also come up with ways to give rebates to users who contribute to the generation of power. Despite all of these things, the initial cash outlay would still be considerable. A small set up of solar panels may cost over $5,000 while the wind turbines would be starting at around $40,000. Still, both are able to make up for the costs after a few years.

3) Local laws – there are not many laws set up for solar panels, but the height of a wind turbine is a concern. Be sure to check with the local zoning authority before you place order a renewable energy source, even if installing solar panels. One definite concern you might have with solar panels would be the glare that they would give out during the day, and that would definitely give passersby a problem if you install those at eye level. As for the turbines, they do emit a certain noise. The levels have been decreased over the years, but they still have a consistent sound while spinning.

So to answer whether you should choose one type of renewable energy over another, you will have to survey your surroundings to see what will work best for you. There are some who have decided to get a number of solar panels and install a smaller wind turbine as well. Smaller turbines are able to generate electricity at much lower wind speeds, so it would still be productive and you would have an energy source either way. If the power generated is more than enough, you will be enjoying not just tax exemptions but rebates from the local power company as well as they will be able to get some power from you.

Cost is definitely a concern when you are switching, or even just adding, to renewable energy. However saving on the electric bill and taxes are not only your benefits. As you start using clean energy, you know that you are lessening your carbon footprint and therefor making the world a better place to live in. Remember, every kWh that is saved means that you have diverted that energy somewhere else, and is a lot of people just started using clean energy, then the power companies would be able to lessen the pollution that they create as they mass produce electricity.
Switching to renewable energy is not all about cost. It is also about keeping our home secure and making sure that our children and their children still have a planet to live in in the coming years.

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