Solar Panels Versus Wind Turbines: An Honest Comparison

Feb 18, 2013   //   by Russell   //   Solar Comparisons  //  No Comments

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A question we get all the time from people interested in solar is “solar panels versus wind turbines: which is better for me?

solar panels versus wind turbinesWith technological changes and the world gravitating towards the use of renewable energy both in the home and in the business world, two alternative energy approaches immediately come to mind – solar energy and wind turbine energy.

Solar panels utilize photovoltaic cells to capture and convert rays from the sun into usable energy while wind energy uses turbines propelled by the energy of the wind to produce electricity. Both have their merits as they are both great alternatives to traditional power plant fed electricity. The question remains, solar panels vs. wind turbines: which is better for you?

To answer this question, you’ll need to look at the pros and cons of each technology before coming up with a logical conclusion.

Solar Panels Versus Wind Turbines

Solar Panels

What are the Advantages of Using Solar Panels?

Installation: Commercial solar power systems are not cheap, but the cost of solar panel installation is falling fast. Domestic solar panels can be even cheaper if you choose to build them yourself. Although the process of building and installing one is fairly simple and uses readily available tools, it does come with its hazards and can end up costing you more in the end if its not done right.

Maintenance: One of the best aspects of solar panels is that the maintenance of solar panel equipment is very minimal, saving you on costs in the long run. Most solar panel systems, when properly maintained will last you upwards of twenty years with minimal upkeep.

Scalability: You can easily scale up a solar panel system. You can start with a small installation then add to it as you get more money or as your energy needs increase. You are under no obligation to install everything at once, because you can progress gradually and end up with a full, solar-powered home.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Solar Panels?

Night: The main disadvantage is that solar panels is that they cannot work at night; rather they rely on batteries to supply the needed electricity. You will optionally have to rely on the utility grid at night if you are still connected to it.

Climate: The prevailing climate can be a big limiting factor in your quest to use solar energy. The solar panels cannot be very efficient when the weather is not sunny.

Wind Turbines

What are the Advantages of Using Wind Turbines?

Low Maintenance: Like solar arrays, once the wind turbine for your home has been installed and is running smoothly, you need to vey little to it to maintain it. Low maintenance means low ongoing spending, which makes wind turbines easy to manage. This is especially true if your home energy needs are low.

Work All Day and Night: As compared to solar panel systems, turbines have the capacity to produce electricity whether it is day or night as long as the wind is blowing. Like solar, some areas have better performance than others due to the location and speed of wind.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Wind Turbines?

Noise: Unlike solar panel systems, wind turbine generators make a lot of noise as they spin. This can be disturbing especially at night when people are sleeping. This can be reduced by installing it in a location where the sound reaching you is a bit low.

Wildlife Hazard: The blades on the wind turbine are a bird hazard. Sometimes, birds can fly into the blades and get killed or injured.

Solar Panel Versus Wind Turbines: Conclusion

So, having seen the pros and cons of each, the answer to the question: “solar panels versus wind turbines, which is better?” – the answer largely depends on you and your situation and will depend on many factors.

There are regions whose weather favors wind turbines and other which favor solar panels.

However at the end of the day, the real winner is you, because both approaches will reduce your monthly electric bill and will also do a great deal to reduce harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere.

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