There is no doubt that wind and solar energy are helping to reduce pollution around the world. If you have decided to make the switch to one of these types of renewable energy, then you’re also doing your part to help the environment. But how do you decide between the two? There are pros and cons to each; in order to know which is best for your home, you’ll have to do some research into which is more affordable, and which is most efficient for you.
Wind energy is technically a form of solar energy that is captured by wind turbines. The sun heats the earth, causing hot air to rise and cool air to settle, which creates the kinetic energy that produces wind. When wind blows over the turbine’s propeller-like blades, this energy is converted into mechanical power, which then generates electricity for homes and businesses. Wind power is more popular than solar amongst utility and large-scale operations.
There are many advantages to using wind energy: it cuts down on toxic air pollution, provides backup power in case of emergency, and can’t be depleted. The biggest benefit to wind energy over solar power is that wind turbines aren’t dependent on sunlight, which means they have the ability to generate power 24 hours a day.
There are also some disadvantages to wind energy. The main cons include:
- In order to get the full benefits of wind energy, the area where the turbine is located must have an average wind speed of at least 12 miles per hour.
- Wind turbines are about 80 ft tall and require a lot of space.
- If you install a wind turbine within 500 feet of anything that might block it, the turbine will need to be built 30 ft taller.
- It can be hard to predict the energy output of a wind turbine, because the wind never blows at the same speed continuously (wind turbines will convert nearly half of the wind hitting them into electrical power).
- Because turbines need to move constantly to produce power, the moving parts will need to be replaced often due to wear and tear. Any larger issues will require specialized maintenance, which will cost more money.
Solar energy is produced when the photovoltaic cells inside solar panels capture the sun’s energy and transform it into electricity. Solar panels have many benefits, including:
- They can be installed almost anywhere on a roof or on the ground, unlike wind turbines which are much less flexible.
- If you have a solar battery, you can store energy for use when it is not sunny out.
- If you do not have a solar battery, you can be tied to the grid, meaning that the excess energy your system generates will be sent to the utility grid. You will also be able to use the energy stored in the grid to power your home at night when your solar panels are not generating any charge.
- You will receive credit for the extra energy that you generate, which you can use at any time.
- Unlike wind turbines, which constantly move, solar panels are stationary so there is little maintenance required, other than removing dirt, snow, and debris from the surface area.
There are also some drawbacks to solar energy. Solar energy is only produced when there is sunlight, so your system will not produce energy at night or in cloudy areas. If you don’t have a backup battery or have any extra electricity stored, then you will have to use electricity from your local utility company. Solar panels have high upfront costs, but there is a good chance you will qualify for incentives and rebates, which can help save you a lot of money.
Which Is Best?
When it comes to choosing between wind and solar energy, you need to take into account all of the above and decide which will work best for your needs. Both sources of energy are great options, and both come with some drawbacks. Overall, wind energy makes more sense at a utility level, while solar energy is a more practical choice on a smaller scale and for homes. In most cases, solar energy will be more practical because you can install panels just about anywhere, while wind turbines need a huge amount of space. Solar energy will also allow you a predictable source of energy, since you can easily store the excess energy that you produce.
When considering renewable energy for your home or business, it’s best to compare plans and companies in your area before making a decision. A Go Solar Energy agent can help you make an informed decision by reviewing all of your options, explaining the installation process for solar energy, going over all of its benefits, and calculating how much you can save. Our agent will compare plans from the top-rated companies in your area, and will help you find the most affordable plan and panel size for your home or business.
To compare quotes for free, enter your zip code on our homepage, or to speak directly to an agent, call 888-290-3112.