Wind Turbines vs. Solar Panels

A Primer

To Some, Wind Turbines Bring Imagination to This:

quaint windmill

To Others, Wind Turbines Bring Imagination to This:


or, This:


Evidently, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder:


We all want to see an end to the puffing smoke stacks at power plants, as well as an end to the ticking timebombs that are nuclear power plants. We want to be energy self-sufficient!! And we want to show our greeness proudly and boldly!!

Researching the pros and cons of solar panel vs. wind generated residential is not easy. It is too difficult to get a straight comparison analysis. The "experts" seem afraid to disparage either "clean energy" option. And the opinions and write-ups come from polarized sources biased to one or the other. It seems to be a beta vs. vhs, eight track vs. cassette, chevy vs. ford, HDDVD vs. BluRay., One may be better than the other, but the market will decide for us, which will thrive, and which will end up as trash.

The proponents for wind power point out that initial start up costs are less than for solar panels. However, some reports have shown that wind power predictions for residential units are falling short of expectations. Cost benefit analyses fail to include maintenance and repair costs for wind turbines. Remember wind turbines operate on moving parts, well lubricated and unworn bearings, etc. Additionally, the wind turbines cannot work effectively unless the propellors are above the surrounding tree canopies.

Solar Panels have no moving parts, and with an invertor, a device that transform the DC power to AC, it is connected thru a meter directly to the electrical grid. This eliminates the need for racks of batteries that can pose a danger in a residential basement.

The solar panels are about an inch thick, and mount relatively flush to an existing roof. They are subtle and unoffensive to a residential neighborhood. Granted, they would not do much at night, but neither do wind turbines on calm days, or inappropriately positioned due to height and setback limitations.

Right now it costs about $40,000. to outfit a residence with solar panels, however, as with computers and HDTV's expect that price to come down.

Typical Solar Panels Being Constructed on Roof:

solar panel solar panel on roof


Which Option is Moving Forward in Residential Communities?

To sum things up, wind powered turbines are facing a lot of opposition in residential communities while solar panel retrofits are quietly and subtely being installed throughout the Cape.


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