As more states begin to implement Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS) and establish carve-outs for wind and solar production, the question arises; which source of renewable energy production is best? Although both offer significant benefits, there are some key factors to consider before crowning one king.
The benefits of solar energy
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are one of the most affordable and readily accessible sources of renewable energy available. Panels can be installed on almost every type of roof or ground-mounted with minimal impact from the surrounding environment. Additionally, the modular and scalable nature of solar panels allow for most property owners to properly scale and size a system to meet their specific electrical needs. And because solar panels have almost no moving parts, the systems are virtually maintenance-free.
The benefits of wind energy
Wind is one of the most efficient renewable energy power sources—a typical, small residential wind turbine ranges in size from 400 watts to 20 kilowatts, depending on the turbine size, site location, and average wind speeds where it is located. For example, on a site with an average wind speed of 14mph, a 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine will meet the needs of a home requiring 300 kilowatt-hours per month.
When is wind power best?
A residential wind turbine is ideal if you live in an area with lots of open space where you can position a turbine site. You’ll want average wind speeds of 12 miles per hour, with little to no obstructions blocking the wind’s path to your site location. You’ll also want to check your state and local zoning ordinances to ensure that you can freely install a wind turbine on your property without requiring zoning variances. If you meet these requirements, then a wind turbine may be an excellent renewable energy option for you.
When is solar power best?
If you’re a property owner with relatively good sun exposure to your property, then a solar PV system is likely the best solution. The size, accessibility, and virtually maintenance-free nature of solar photovoltaic systems make them ideal for most property owners. Getting a quick site assessment from certified and credible installers can help you determine if your property is suitable for solar and if you qualify for tax credits and renewable energy incentives.
So who’s the winner?
When it comes to comparing wind and solar, many factors come into play when choosing a winner. However, for the majority of people, solar is likely the most viable renewable energy option.
For more information on renewable energy, download our eBook on Renewable Portfolio Standards.
Download our eBook, Renewable Portfolio Standards, Explained, to learn more about the importance they bring to the world of solar and how they benefit the consumer.