There are two main renewable options available to you; wind turbines and solar panels.
So, what is the cheaper option?
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Are wind turbines cheaper than solar panels?
Solar panels are considerably cheaper than wind turbines when it comes to energy production.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First and foremost, the actual cost of buying a solar panel is considerably lower than that of a wind turbine.
The problem is that it is tough to carry out a proper price comparison between the two.
This is because a solar panel will offer the power generation (roughly) that it claims on the solar panel spec.
However, it is rare for a wind turbine to go above about 35% of the quoted power generation, and this is if the solar panel is correctly placed.
On average, you can expect the cost per watt of power generated by a solar panel to be about 50% that of a wind turbine.
This isn’t the only way in which a solar panel is cheaper, though.
The ongoing maintenance costs for a solar panel are cheaper.
There isn’t really that much to maintain.
The replacement of a few cables and a clean of the solar panel is about as far as you need to go.
With a wind turbine, you have a lot of moving parts, which means that the maintenance costs will be a lot higher.
We wouldn’t be surprised if the cost of maintaining a solar panel were a fifth of that of a wind turbine.
When would you want to use wind instead of solar power?
While wind power is more expensive than a solar panel, this shouldn’t really put you off going down the route of wind power.
In fact, in some cases, it may actually be worth picking up wind power instead. This includes:
- Wind power generates power 24/7
- Wind power takes up less space
- Wind power produces less pollution
- Wind power positioning is less important
Let’s break this down a little bit, shall we?
Generate power 24-hours a day
As you may well know, solar panels work only when you have sunlight.
This means that if you live in a mainly cloudy region, you may never see that much benefit from a solar panel.
Unless you have some way of storing the power produced by the solar panel, you will also have no power delivered at night.
This is not a problem with wind power.
The wind doesn’t just stop blowing.
If you have the wind turbine placed in a decent location, the wind will constantly hit it.
This means rain, sleet, or shine, the wind turbine is going to be able to keep generating power for you.
Wind turbines take up a lot less space than solar panels.
Depending on the wind turbine’s power, a single one can easily act as a replacement for 8+ solar panels.
So, if space is at an absolute premium, then wind turbines will always be the better option.
They can be a great choice for rural locations that only have a small amount of land available to them.
Wind power positioning is less important.
The positioning of solar panels is absolutely vital.
If you don’t get them in the proper position and at the correct angle, they will generate only a fraction of the power they should develop.
This is less of a problem with wind turbines.
It is much easier to get them at the exact right angle.
You do not have to choose an exact spot where they can sit.
You can pretty much place them anywhere on your property and be able to generate a decent amount of power.
After all, the wind difference across your property is not going to be that huge.
Wind power produces less pollution.
No. Neither form of renewable energy is going to be pumping a ton of pollution into the environment.
They won’t produce any pollution, for that matter.
During the manufacturing process, solar panels require the mining of some pretty heavy materials.
Some solar panels, especially the older and cheaper ones, tend to include some rather dangerous products e.g. lead and cadmium.
This means that when you want to throw away the solar panel, you are going to need to dispose of it
properly. it isn’t the sort of thing that can just be thrown into a landfill.
Can you combine both wind and solar power?
Both wind and solar power have their own pros and cons. As a result, a lot of people like to combine the two forms of energy.
Owning to the cheaper cost, they will try to cover the bulk of their energy needs with solar power.
However, when the evenings roll in, they will want to have their power covered by the wind.
The exact way to set up the system will be highly dependent on how it is being used.
However, nowadays, you can purchase some pretty sophisticated controllers that can easily switch between wind and solar power depending on the requirements.
A renewable energy installer will be able to walk you through what you need to do easily.
They will also be able to help you estimate your energy consumption so you don’t purchase more power generation than you actually need.
Solar panels are considerably cheaper than wind turbines.
They require a lot less in the way of maintenance too.
However, this does not necessarily mean that somebody interested in renewable energy should completely rule out wind turbines.
There are some times where wind turbines are going to be much better for a person e.g. if they live in an area that doesn’t get much in the way of direct sunlight.
In order to get the best renewable energy solution, it may actually be worth combining the two.