Wind VERSUS Solar – Which Is the Better Investment?

Solar energy is one of the most talked about topics on renewable energy and the most popular today. For starters, the sun’s rays are a source of energy that is produced and delivered to us every day for free. If you look at how much energy is sent to earth by the sun in a given hour, you will most likely find this confusing equation on several websites: 1.4 x 10^31 Joules of solar energy, or 3.8 x 10^23 kilowatt-hours.

Putting this into a more simplistic explanation, this really means that the sun produces enough energy in one hour to power the entire planet for an entire year! Now how’s that for productive? By taking this free source of energy and converting it into electricity (this process does not produce any pollution or release any emissions), you can reduce your carbon footprint and, in return, increase your energy self-sufficiency.

But how do you go about retaining this free energy?

There are several ways for you to do this. First you must decide where you want to reduce your energy expenses from, and with that, there are many options. If you want to just save on the electricity you produce by heating your water, there’s a specific system for that. If you want to save on the electricity you produce from heating and cooling your home, there’s a system for that too. But the most popular system that is being used today is the photovoltaic system, which saves you money in all the places that you use electricity.

What are the positive factors of using a PV system?

Aside from not producing any pollution, it saves you money every month on your electricity bill and, in most instances, can even eliminate the bill entirely. Because the government is seeing solar power as a productive and safe alternative to burning fossil fuels, many states in the US are offering credits and incentives when you put a PV system on your home or business. So free money for using free energy, what’s better than that?

But as we all know with every positive factor, there are negative factors as well. To put a PV system on your roof, the cost could be very high (even with financial incentives). How well the system performs relies on the location of the sun (typically your roof must be facing south for your panels to absorb as much of the sun’s rays as possible). So what happens when the sun goes down at night? This is why it is recommended that your home or business stays connected to the grid. During the day you will be using the sun’s energy, but at night you’ll still be dependent on the electric company, just not as much as before your PV installation.

How do I know if solar energy is for me?

The only way to find out is to complete some research on your own and get a few quotes from different solar companies in your area. Find out what types of systems they’re offering and go through and see which one is best for you and your home or business.

Coming in second for largest renewable resources is wind energy, or wind power. It’s 100% green energy and does not pollute the environment with harmful fossil fuels. And, like solar, the wind is essentially unlimited and can help people become more self-sufficient. According to Discover Magazine’s blog, over 42% of new electricity generated in the United States in 2008 was solely produced from wind turbines! The motion of the wind (known as kinetic energy) produced over the entire planet can generate enough power to supply the world’s energy a few hundred times over.

But what is wind power and how do we use it to our advantage?

Using creations like the wind turbine help us with this. Similar to the idea of a windmill, a wind turbine stands tall in the sky with their blades blowing with the wind (the higher the better). From the blades to the generator, this is how electricity is made.

Ranging in various sizes and shapes, wind turbines can be used like solar panels. The main difference is that you can’t use personal wind turbines to power your entire home. You can use them to power specific appliances, but that’s generally all the power home turbines can produce. It’s possible that if you had a large enough wind turbine and your home was in a less populated residential area, you would be able to produce a significant amount of energy to power your home. Wind turbines are meant to be used in groups, like on wind farms, to send the power produced back to the grid. This works in the same format as solar panels. When a surplus of energy is produced and sent back to the power grids, credits are created and deducted from electricity bills. That’s definitely a plus side to producing your own energy.

What are the negatives associated with wind power?

The energy produced by the wind is often unpredictable and fluctuates every minute of every day which is why it is suggested that they be used in conjunction with other renewable energy sources. A few other downfalls include: the loud noises they produce, the aesthetics, and the damaging effects on animal habitat.

Solar and wind power are the top two renewable energy sources out there being used right now. They are in high competition with each other especially since they can produce enough power and energy to power many homes when combined in large numbers. Both offer government incentives, produce no emissions, and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. So which is the smarter investment?

For more information on solar power and solar installations in New Jersey and the greater New Jersey area, please visit our website. The link is provided below.