What do wind power and solar power have in common?
Both are natural renewable resources that enable a cleaner production of power than the conventional use of fossil fuels.
Today, the goal of many consumers and environmentalists is to continually strive to determine the best and most suitable source of power that will enable less or virtually no CO2 gas emissions at a sound and reasonable cost with practical accessibility.
How does wind power work?
Just like solar power, wind has been utilized as an energy source for a long time. In ancient times up til today, wind has been used to sail boats across the sea, pump water for crop irrigation, and even to grind corn.
Movement or motion creates kinetic energy. When the turbine blades in a wind-electric turbine captures the kinetic energy provided by the wind and rotates, the generator turns the rotational energy into electricity.
Did you know that wind power relates to the sun? It’s a funny concept considering the sun is a power source in itself.
When the sun heats up a certain area of land, the air around that land absorbs some of the heat. Once a certain temperature is reached, the air that is hotter begins to rise due to the volume differential between the hot air and cool air.
Once the hotter and lighter air begins to rise, cooler air fills the gap.
Can you guess where the gust of wind comes from? That’s right. The rushing in of cooler air to fill the gap left by hotter air is wind.
Thus, in the case of the turbine blade, wind transfers some of its kinetic energy to the blade, thereby allowing the blade to rotate. Here, energy is transferred and can be used as power.
In what way does wind power differ from solar power?
As explained in another post, solar power converts sunlight into electricity so instead of wind, we use the sun’s light rays as our direct source of power. Energy is essentially captured and converted through photovoltaic cells. These cells, made of semiconductor material such as silicon, absorb solar energy. Once absorbed, the free energy (AC) current is directed via magnetic fields and is extracted for power utilization (DC) using metal conduit.
Both wind power and solar power are ingenious methods of mankind to produce power. If used in conjunction with one another, it almost seems unbeatable.
However, in comparison, the drawback for wind power is its size. Most homeowners cannot afford to build large wind turbines onto their property ground.
Heck, some homeowners don’t even have a backyard these days especially town-homes or condominiums. Currently, it seems the most plausible place for wind power is on a hill where wind is more stable and area is more plentiful.
Accessibility is a key difference between solar and wind power.
Solar panels can accommodate almost any rooftop, whereas wind turbines require a greater area of space with minimal obstructions. In locations that are considered high traffic, wind turbines are not the most beneficial or suitable place to be installed. Due to the constant change in wind path, turbine blades will have difficulty capturing the energy for power use.
Is one better than the other? The answer to that will depend on varying factors related to location.
For The Solar Company, we want to help customers maximize and meet or exceed their goals through our service and product. If our analysis provides you with less gain, we will always let you know and allow you to make the best decision for yourself.
For now, clean, renewable energy is the future, no doubt.