Solar Vs Wind Energy

Comparison of Solar VS Wind Energy

The price to install solar panels, or wind turbines can be costly, but most states have incentives along with tax breaks for those whom would like to use renewable energy. Now why would they do this well obviously as our population grows more and more with every passing year the demand for energy has begun to put more and more stress on our energy grid and methods which we use today are not environment friendly to produce the amount of energy needed on a daily basis. Most people neglect to think of what all that energy being used does to our environment over the long term. Many are now beginning to install their own sources of energy which in turn could totally eliminate your entire need for energy by fully powering your home.

Most will go with a small wind turbine with enough solar energy to make up the difference what the wind turbine(s) do not produce on their own with a little extra to spare as most will have batteries that will store the excess energy.

Solar Power

First thing people must do is ask wheither your home should be “on the grid” or “off the grid” by this they mean will you be tied to the main energy grid that runs within your area. Which normally speaking most would want to be on the grid so that if there are too many cloudy days you will not be without electricity. The cost to totally setup an “off the grid” system can be much higher than many would think without any form of tax deductions.

Solar being one of the more popular sources of energy next to power due to its limited space requirements. Solar has become the preferred way of producing your own energy however it is usually combined with wind turbines where possible. Solar is primarily best used in the summers where there are a lot of bright sunny days. The major problem with solar is if its cloudy the amount of energy produced from solar panels is substantially reduced when compared to a sunny day.

We’ll assume that an average day solar panels generate their maximum power for a 5 hour time span. Using solar electricity, means that what you would be powering things like your refrigerator, lights, computer, TV, stereo, and other average house hold items. Now lets average that running everything your normally would within your house uses approximately 600 watts on average. Over 24 hours, many would use roughly 600 watts * 24 hours within a day= 14,400 watt hours per day.

We know that a solar panel can generate 70 milliwatts per square inch * 5 hours of gathering max rays from the sun = 350 milliwatt hours per day. Based on these calculations you will need 41,000 square inches of solar panel for your house. This means your solar panel would need to measure about 285 square feet.

Example: What size system is needed to produce 20kwh of power each day?

20kwh/5h = 4kilowatts

4kw x 1.43 (This is to account for energy loss due to friction heat etc)= 5.7kw

5.7kw system would be required to produce 20kwh/day assuming 5 peak sun hours

Now the average house hold as seen above only uses about 15 KWh/day however by getting a 20 kwh/day system it will help prevent a lack of electricity in the event of poor weather.

Wind Power

Wind power is one of the most popular sources of energy next to solar. Wind power is best in the fall winter and spring. It will produce a decent amount of energy year around however it is offset by the space requirements. The size of a wind generator and turbine setup is fairly large. There are smaller versions for residential uses for those of limited space. Wind is used nation wide and primarily in the western side of the states where the wind is more consistent. One of the things that positive about Wind power is more reliable during storms where as solar would not be very reliable. The combination of both solar and wind allows for them to cover the unreliable points of each power source.

Based on the Above formula on how much electricity you would need to produce you would need a system that costs Approx $20,000 to reduce your energy bill 50-90 percent. The reason it is difficult to eliminate your energy bill with wind energy is simply the wind is not always blowing. Having to rely on the wind for power is difficult if the wind is not blowing hard enough to turn the turbine. It could result in having to use power from the main power grid from a utility company, or use of solar power.

One of the many other concerns is how much noise it makes many think it will be overpowering however it would be no louder than a washing machine and will not interfere with your TV reception.

Summary Of Solar vs Wind Energy

Combining for best efficiency could potentially produce enough energy for both your home and have excess that could be sold back to the utility companies. Do not have a larger than necessary setup because the amount earned per kilo-watt is low to the point that it is not worth it to attempt to make money from. It is best produce the amount of power necessary to run home, and keep your batteries full.

To run your home with green energy, competitive prices on solar would cost a little over $50,000 dollars. To install wind which would cut your costs of electricity down 50%-90% would cost 20,000 dollars installed.

The wind cost to install on average $20,000 to provide 75% of your energy.

Solar Energy Estimates $40,000 dollars to fully power your entire house with a little to spare. Now divide by 2 cause only half of that will be needed.

WIND COST=$20,000

SOLAR COST=$20,000

TOTAL COST= $40,000

Total Cost/Approx incentives reduction

$40,000/50%*= $20,000 To fully power your entire house with green electricity.

With an average electric bill of around $125.00 per month the investment could be recouped in around around 160 months, or around 14 years, this is also not counting any excess electricity being produced that could be sold back to the utility company. Also, keep in mind your doing this to be more environmentally friendly and aid the environment which is an enormous plus by itself.

*Please note these are only estimates and are subject to vary from state to state year to year, but the approximately reduction in cost with all incentives included is approximately a 50% reduction.

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Comments 4 comments

rhysclay profile image

rhysclay 5 years ago from Sunshine Coast, Australia

Great article. One thing to consider is the location, wind energy is great but doesnt really work unless you have strong consistent winds. Unfortunately we dont get enough wind here in Queensland, Australia - but we do get enough sun!


jasoncox83 profile image

jasoncox83 5 years ago from Ohio Author

I would disagree, I personally know of several who have qualified for the discounts, and now run their entire house on solar energy. They also though had to purchase the extra generators to store energy for cloudy days, but like anything there is always extras.


Tom 5 years ago

Who can afford to go to this option, no one and that's because they don't want you to. There is too much money made from these large companies, no one wants them to go out of business so trying to save energy is just a farce.


amybradley77 profile image

amybradley77 5 years ago

My Grandfather tryed his best to help us all see and understand this as children. Growing up with a windmill on his property we lived in another house there. Now his daughter my Aunt uses wind energy on her place. We are growing this way as a people, and I for one am so very excited about it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this subject, it is one that you can never tell too many folks about. Very kind of you to do this. A.B.

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