Solar Power vs. Wind Energy: Which Is Right for You?
Both solar power and wind energy can provide electricity for your household, reducing your monthly utility bills and giving you energy independence.
But which type of renewable energy system is the better choice for your home?
Space Requirements for Solar Power Systems and Wind Turbines
A solar panel system can be installed on your rooftop, as long as the roof has enough space, support and access to direct sunlight.
If the rooftop isn’t suitable for whatever reason, photovoltaic panels can be mounted on the ground. Either type of installation will produce enough electricity to handle your household energy needs.
In contrast, a wind energy system capable of generating enough power for your home would have larger space requirements.
A turbine powerful enough meet your electricity needs would have a diameter of between 12 and 25 feet and a height of about 80 feet, or about twice the height of a telephone pole. And for optimal performance, experts suggest turbines be installed at least 30 feet higher than nearby obstructions, such trees and buildings.
Wind power requirements are impractical, if not impossible, for many homeowners.
Maintenance Requirements for Solar Power Systems and Wind Turbines
Photovoltaic systems require very little maintenance.
Most don’t have moving parts, so they can provide energy for years without much attention from you. You may need to brush off some snow, clear away a few leaves or wash off some bird droppings occasionally, but that’s about all your solar power system will ever need.
Wind energy systems, however, do have moving parts.
Due to wear and tear, machinery can fail over time. The high mechanical stress on a wind turbine demands a higher degree of maintenance than a solar energy system. Regular contractor inspections to check fluid levels, blades, cable connections and other components is necessary when you chose to invest in wind power.
Is Your Home Suited for Solar Power or Wind Power?
Wind power is significantly more popular than solar power on a national level, as it accounted for 35 percent of the country’s electricity generation in 2015. That same year, solar made up just 5 percent of the total. Yet most of the wind energy generated in the United States is done at the utility level. For homes, photovoltaic power is almost always a more suitable choice.
Most homes, after all, do not have enough space for a wind turbine. And in many areas, tower heights are restricted by local or state laws, making it impossible to install a turbine tall enough to produce enough electricity. Cost is another consideration, as wind energy installations can be significantly more expensive.
Either way, Intermountain Wind & Solar is the leading provider of alternative energy systems in the Intermountain West. We serve customers throughout Utah as well as Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of both wind and solar power systems.