Residential solar panels
Thinking about reducing your energy costs in the New Year with a renewable energy system? Comparing solar power to wind largely depends on the size of the system. When we’re talking utility scale renewable energy, wind is probably less expensive than solar. However, when we take it down to an individual, residential level, solar generally beats wind energy.
To confirm this, a comparative turbine test was undertaken in Holland over a 12-month time period. Among other things, the researchers found that small wind turbine systems generally do not produce much power, considering their cost. In addition, small wind may cost 10 times the price of solar panels to generate equivalent power.
In a Clean Technica blog post, entitled “Small Wind Sucks, Study Finds” the following statistics were revealed:
Ampair 600 (3 foot rotor blades): for $12,710 it makes only 20 kwh a month
Airdolphin at $24,747 (or the WRE 030 for twice that at $41,620!) to get 33 kWh a month
WRE 060 $52,444 for 41 kWh a month, or the (relatively!) cost-effective Passaat at $13, 029 to make about 48 kWh a month.
Skystream at $15,149 makes 176 kWh a month
Montana (16 foot rotor) costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month
Based on these stats, it makes more sense to consider each individual small wind turbine as a single solar panel in a solar array.
Small Wind (image from tswind on Flickr)
In the United States most homes use, on average, 1000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy each month. Considering the small percentage that could be genreated by small wind turbines, one would need multiple wind turbines. Now, let’s talk about cost. In order to generate the same amount of renewable electricity, compare over $100,000 for a small wind system to about $15,000 for a comparable solar panel system, prior to state and federal rebates.
Did you know that you could completely power your home with a solar array the size of your living room on your roof? Compared to small wind power, you’d need a much larger installation to generate enough energy for even a single residential unit.
The bottom line is, when considering a number of factors: (1) cost, (2) efficiency; (3) aesthetics, and more, it may make more sense to go with a residential solar power installation instead of small wind.
Have personal experiences? Be sure to share below!
Tags: comparative turbine test, renewable energy system, residential solar power, small wind systems, small wind turbine system
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