When considering a off grid or grid connect power system; the two main choices for renewable energy equipment are wind turbines and solar panels. So which is the superior, wind energy or solar power?
It really depends on your geographical location and energy requirements, but given the substantial investment involved with either option, it's critical to select the right system for your needs from the outset. Getting it wrong can cause you not only great expense, but major headaches.
For most suburban and rural settings and applications; solar power is usually the best choice for the following reasons.
A solar power system:
- Has no moving parts
- Has better reliability and panels usually carry a 25 year warranty
- Requires less monitoring
- Does not require expensive maintenance
- Provides more predictable energy output based on NASA data.
- Better value for money in sites with average wind speeds less than 5 meters per second
- Is less conspicuous than a wind turbine
- Is totally silent in operation
- Allows for quicker installation with less cable required
- Is less susceptible to lightning damage
- Is less susceptible to high wind damage.
- Requires less space in most cases as the panels can be installed on a roof
Additionally, many local government authorities are rather averse to permitting wind turbines being erected within townships and in some instances they are totally banned. Even the quietest of turbines do generate some noise, so they really aren't all that well suited to suburban areas where neighbours may be disturbed and perhaps complain.
As mentioned, it really does depend on your needs as to the type of system you should choose as wind energy certainly has its place and is an important part of the renewable energy mix; so if in doubt, contact an expert who can assess your energy requirements in conjunction with your geographical location and recommend a system to suit.
Michael Bloch is a consultant for Energy Matters Australia - a green energy equipment company offering a wide range of discounted solar panels , deep cycle batteries, wind turbines and associated accessories for homes, businesses and schools. The Energy Matters site contains a wide range of resources; including a solar power system builder tool, renewable energy rebates information and free advice on off grid and grid connect solar and wind power systems.