To compare the potential benefits of wind power vs. solar panels in terms of the capabilities to produce electricity, you first need to understand the requirements for both types of renewable energy systems. They are very different, and both of them come with their own set rules for working properly. Please note that although LongTermSolar.com is focused and geared towards solar energy, this is an unbiased assessment of both of the two technologies.
- Excellent long term wind studies documenting that a consistent heavy amount of wind is present all year round
- Ground clearance which will not create a safety problem for the propeller of the wind turbine hitting other objects and of course not hitting another person or animal
- Local noise restrictions must be investigated, local zoning laws may prohibit wind turbines in certain locations
- Wind turbine maintenance and the long term maintenance schedule should be investigated in great details
- Interconnection with the local utility grid to provide the opportunity to sell back unused kilo watt hours
- Proper home owners insurance for the wind turbine in case of a tornado or hurricane
Solar Power Requirements:
- Excellent sunlight hours
- Available roof space with a new roof that can last 25 years or more
- Proper angle of the solar panels towards the sun
- Professional solar panel installation and connection to the utility grid
- Alternate plan for maintenance with several different solar power companies in case one goes out of business
- Clearance with the local building inspector or permitting office
Electricity Production of Wind Powered Turbines:
Wind turbines have traditionally been able to produce much more electricity per dollar spent on materials to make the systems. This has been the case for years, especially with larger scale utility grade wind turbines. This is the reason why there are so many wind powered turbines in the hills of California and other parts of the United States and world where there is a known wind presence. Even to this day, it is a very close race and there is still more electricity produced by Wind Turbines in the United States compared to from Solar panels, but this is going to change any day now.
Solar Panel Costs to Install Are Decreasing:
Over the past decade, the overall costs to install solar panels to produce electricity have decreased by over 50%. This is very significant because it is now considered the most cost effective renewable energy source for producing electricity. The government funding that has been available for several years makes this clean energy source even more attractive, even when compared to wind power. The difference with solar and wind power is that many people, especially in urban and suburban areas do not want to listen to the noise that wind powered turbines emit all day and night. In comparison, solar panels are virtually noise free, and the only thing they emit is some heat and clean electricity.