Wind Power vs. Solar Power

By Sam Baker
November 11, 2015

In 2014, 369.6 GW of energy was generated from wind power globally. This number continues to grow every year, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Wind power has now reached 4% of total energy production in the world, and some countries gain a significant part of their electricity requirements from wind sources. Denmark, for example, harvest 40% of all it’s energy from wind turbines.

Wind Power Around the World

The country with the largest wind farm is China. Their Gansu wind farm generates 6,000 MW of energy, which is about four and a half times more energy than is generated by the next largest wind farm. Worldwide, there are more than 200,000 windmills installed on land and at sea.

Offshore wind power is a popular choice because it mitigates some of the problems posed by land based windmills. Currently, 10 European countries are generating enough power from offshore wind farms to power 5 million households every year. The largest and second largest offshore wind farms are both located off of the UK Coast. This is a result of the UK’s prime location and a generous financial backing from the government.

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Solar Power and its Growing Popularity

Every day the sun gives us significantly more energy than we need to power the entire earth. It’s up to us to harvest it. The problem isn’t our current solar technology, which is actually quite good. The problem is transporting that energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. The best place to generate electricity is somewhere like the Sahara Desert or the American South West. However, these locations can often be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from where the electricity is needed. Despite the setbacks of building large, commercial scale solar farms, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of having their own personal system without having to worry about power transmission or poor infrastructure.

In 2014, more than 185 million MW of electricity were generated from solar panels. That accounted for 0.79% of earth’s total energy requirements. While solar panels are already popular in countries like America, China and Germany, many other countries are now embracing the technology. Brazil is promising to start investing heavily in solar energy and Japan has pioneered a way to deploy solar panels on water, in order to utilize space that was previously unable to generate renewable energy.

Which Renewable Energy Source is Best?

After considering all the facts, there is an obvious winner: solar energy. There are a couple of large drawbacks associated with wind energy. First, some people don’t like the sight of massive windmills on the horizon. These people feel that the windmills disrupt the scenery and create an eye sore. On the other hand, solar panels can be installed on a person’s roof where they are virtually invisible. Additionally, solar panels installed in a field won’t stand taller than 10 to 15 feet and are significantly less distracting than a large windmill.

Another problem with wind power is that just to generate enough power for a single home, a person will need to install an 80 foot windmill. Furthermore, windmills tend to work poorly in residential areas since homes and buildings can disrupt the flow of air. This isn’t the case with solar panels. As long as you have access to the sun every day, you’re good to go. If you live in California, on average your roof will receive 5.5 hours of direct sunlight a day. This is more than enough to justify installing a solar panel system. In fact, if you install a battery backup system, you’ll be able to use solar energy to power your home around the clock.

View our 2018 Solar Starter Guide

Federal tax credits and other state renewable energy programs can help to ease the load of installing a new system. With government aid, most people only end up paying half of the total price of installing a solar panel system. Read our article about some of the programs available to residents of California in order to get a better understanding of your options. Finally, if you’re ready to go green, contact Pick My Solar today! We will help you get the process started and shave thousands of dollars off the price tag in the process.


Sam Baker

Written By

Sam Baker

Sam is a Project Manager at Pick My Solar and a solar energy enthusiast.

More articles by Sam Baker

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