Solar Panel & Wind Turbine Pros and Cons

First, some pros and cons about wind turbines and solar panels:

SOLAR PANELS
         Pros:

  • They are scalable. You can start with one or two panels and easily add more as you want (or as your budget allows).
  • They are quiet and fairly light weight.  So they can be mounted just about anywhere.
  • They will operate at their optimum efficiency when they are simply placed at a location without shade and at the proper angle.
  • They operate in a static (stationary) environment.  They silently convert sunlight directly into electricity. They have no moving parts, so noise, maintenance and repairs are not concerns.

        Cons:

  • They only work during the day, and work best for only a few hours per day when the sun is overhead.
  • They don’t work as well in the winter months when the sun is at a much lower angle.
  • Their efficiency and energy production decline sharply when their temperature exceeds 85 degrees.

 

WIND TURBINES
         Pros:

  • They can work day and night – as long as the wind is blowing.
  • They work well in the winter months when the wind frequently blows strongly.
  • They operate efficiently at almost any temperature.

        Cons:

  • They will only operate at their optimum efficiency when they are placed at a location without turbulent wind, far enough away from, and high enough above, any wind impediments.
  • They operate in a dynamic (moving) environment. They work by converting the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. Because of the rough environment in which they operate, noise, maintenance and repairs are concerns.
  • They are not really scalable. Once you have purchased a wind turbine and mounted it 30 or 50 feet (or higher) on top of a tower, you can’t effectively add to it or make it larger.
  • They can weigh hundreds of pounds, might be mounted dozens of feet in the air, and have the wind blowing against them (sometimes very strongly).  They can only be mounted on towers specifically designed and engineered to handle the load.

About the Author

Mark H. Witte is a strong proponent for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and believes individuals should have more control over how the energy for their homes is produced.