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Wind Power V. Solar Power

Jessica PirroAugust 12, 20193980

A large number of homeowners in the United States are turning to sources of renewable energy to provide power from their homes. Solar-powered systems only need sunlight to provide solar power for homes and vehicle, recharge large battery systems, and they even will allow you to sell the extra energy that your solar-powered systems produce back to your utility company. Wind power can perform the same functions by producing this source of renewable energy from the wind-powered turbines.

Both of these depend on the volatile forces of nature, but overall, the solar panels are going to provide a more consistent form of energy. Solar panels also don’t include any moving components, as the wind production units do. These and other differences are going to play important roles in deciding which of these sources of renewable energy are ideal for you.

What is the Efficiency of a Solar Panel?

This is all going to depend on how well they measure the amount of sunlight that is converted into actual solar electricity. If we call the solar irradiation that falls on a particular spot on the earth 100 percent energy, solar-powered systems should be able to convert 15-20% percent of that solar energy into solar electricity.

The solar panels that have the highest percentage efficiency of a solar panel, come from extremely popular brands of solar panels that will convert around 21% of the sun's solar power into solar electricity. But, it is often more cost-effective to go with some of the larger volume brands and their typical multi-crystalline solar panels have around 16-17% efficiency of a solar panel.

What if the Efficiency of Wind Power?

Wind turbines can convert almost half of the wind hitting them into electrical power. The efficiency of wind power is similar to the efficiency of a solar panel, it is measured by the actual amount of kinetic energy that is converted. The ultimate conversion rate is estimated to be around 60%. If a turbine could absorb 100% of the wind’s energy, the blades of the turbines automatically stop turning.

There are further limitations when converting the wind into a source of renewable energy is because of the way that electrical generators are designed and manufactured. They’re engineered to only handle a certain amount of energy at one time. The average conversion rate currently peaks at about 45%, but the maximum peak performance might be able to reach 50%.

The Efficiency of a Solar Panel V. The Efficiency of Wind Energy

In the United States solar power market, most homeowners have stuck with installation rooftop solar-powered systems and the commercial entities lean towards wind power.

The single benefit that wind has over solar for your home is that the wind turbines can generate power 24/7 because they aren’t dependant on the sunlight. The efficiency of wind is considered to be substantially more than the efficiency of solar panes because the wind systems use less energy, they release less carbon dioxide and produce more energy. One wind turbine can generate the same amount of electricity in kWh as thousands of solar panels.

But the energy that is coming from the wind turbines isn’t going dub it the winner of the battle for the top sources of renewable energy. The turbines can take up space, aren’t able to be used in highly populated areas and can take a terrible toll on the birds. These systems are going to require nearly sky-scraping positioning that is going to be great from trees and taller buildings.

Where Does Solar Power Work Best?

The sun is everywhere, although some places are way more exposed to the sun than other places. Geography can increase the efficiency of a solar panel conversion. The directions in which the solar panels are installed can also increase or decrease the efficiency of a solar panel. Cloud cover is the worst enemy of solar-powered systems, which is why it isn’t able to be used widely in some of the southeastern states.

Where Does Wind Power Work Best?

Wind Power isn’t always available in certain places as sunlight. When considering using wind turbines, geography matters more. These sources of renewable energy require environments that are almost free of large windbreaks and buildings. Any tall growth of structure that can interrupt the steady flow of wind makes using these sources of renewable energy a losing proposition. Additionally, some areas restrict the construction of any type of structure beyond a certain height. The wind power systems do very well in the Plains states.

How Much Do Wind Turbines Cost to Build?

For a typical American home, it would require a small turbine capable of generating at least 5-kW to meet all its electricity needs. To buy and install a wind system that’s large enough to provide power of an entire home it will typically cost $20,000, but the price of this system can also vary greatly due to the size of your home, the type of height and of the system you want and any extra related installation costs.

The Main Disadvantages of Wind Energy

When it comes to sources of renewable, there are advantages and disadvantages to each system, below are some of the disadvantages:

- It only works when the wind blows and the wind is an intermittent resource.

- Because wind turbines have moving parts they require specialized maintenance.

- Wind turbines need to be high to have access to less turbulent wind and this creates visual pollution.

- Wind turbines can make noise and this noise can cause issues near homes.

- Wind turbines require planning and building approval and their height is often an issue in residential areas.

- It can be difficult to find good sites for wind turbines because they need to be clear from ground obstructions that affect the wind.

The Main Advantages of Wind Energy Over Solar Energy  

The main advantage of wind energy over solar energy that the wind can blow at night. Historically it has had a second advantage over solar when it comes to large-scale solar energy projects because it was cheaper. However, the cost of utility-scale solar energy has now fallen to around $1.20 per watt meaning it costs competitive with the wind.  

Cost of Installations for Solar-Powered Systems

The average cost to get a rooftop solar panel installation or a ground mount solar panels due to a few factors, this includes the type and number of the solar panels being installed,whether it is a rooftop solar panel installation or ground mount solar panels, the area of the country in which it will be installed, local pricing and installation fees, as well as solar energy incentives. The unsubsidized monthly cost for financing a rooftop solar panel installation for an average 2,000 square foot home can range in cost between $87 and $219 per month for materials and installation costs. However, in each case, this is less.

Which is Cheaper in Terms of Cost per kWh?

On average, a 5 kW wind turbine of decent quality will cost about $20,000 and will generate between $8,000-$12,000 kWh per year. Making the cost around $2 per kWh of annual production. So if the turbines last 10 years each kWh of power costs $0.20. Keep in mind these are the costs for microturbines large-scale turbines are much cheaper.

Back in 2018, the cost of getting solar-powered systems was $3.08 per watt making the cost of a 7kW solar panel installation is $21,480 before the 30% tax credit.

The cost difference between the two different sources of renewable energy they are all pretty similar. However when it comes to sources of renewable energy, if you are looking to get power your home with solar energy, a solar panel installation is the way to go.

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