What’s Cheaper? Wind or Solar?

WIND OR SOLAR?

Before making any kind of decision, the first thing to be noted is the electricity demand and the available space. Do you want to install a renewable energy system on a smaller scale, or at the utility level?

The following blog looks at the net system cost of a solar panel system and a wind turbine if both generate an energy output of 16,500 kWh annually.

To produce this much power with solar energy, it would require the installation of 44 solar panels. Taking into account tax credits and depreciation (in the case of commercial systems), the approximate cost for a system at that level would be around $10,000.

In an area with relatively decent wind exposure of 12 miles per hour on average, you’d need a 10 kW wind turbine to produce that level of energy. Again, after tax credits and depreciation in a commercial installation, your approximate cost would be around $25,000.

So, which is cheaper: solar or wind power? In an apples-to-apples comparison, solar power comes out ahead in net cost.

Does that mean that solar power is automatically the best choice in all considerations? Not at all.

As already mentioned, it does depend on the area you are installing the renewable energy source. In some areas, wind turbines make much more sense.

And while solar energy is the better choice on a smaller scale, wind energy makes more sense at a utility level. That means that, when you need to generate a lot of power reliably as a group (say, in a town, for example), it makes more sense to do so with a wind farm.

Your mileage varies in each case, but this should at least give you a good idea of the differences between the two energy sources, and why both are valuable pieces of the clean energy puzzle.

TerraScale develops sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing energy and digital infrastructure challenges. Visit our website: terrascale.org