I just published this detailed post on solar pv vs. wind turbines for installations of the same cost:

http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/profiles/blogs/residential-solar-pv-vs

 

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that except for a few spots in the U.S. (mostly in AK, HI, or on top of mountains) residential wind will always lose to solar PV assuming optimal locations for both (i.e. no shading on solar panels, no obstructions blocking wind) and the same capital outlay at the onset.  

 

I'm going to work on another blog post highlighting this fact, because it is rarely covered by most news media who don't even know the difference between a kW and a kWh, let alone know how to do the analysis themselves.  

 

What I'm looking for is someone who can tell me I am missing something in the analysis?  Any thoughts?

Tags: comparison, solar, vs., wind

Views: 56

Replies to This Discussion

It's a reasonable start anyway. However the 35 foot tower is no where near high enough, especially with the tall trees in the photo. 90 ft would be a minimum height and mite double the average wind speed to get eight times the kwh but 110 would be better even with a cost increase. I know Southwest Wind is coming out with a low start up wind speed turbine this year and that up the yearly output of the turbine. The other factor is the life time performance and the expected life time or replacement cost at end of life.
Good input Leo, but how many residential wind turbines are on towers over 90 ft?  I wonder how practical that is in practice?  And even then, does the wind turbine outperform solar?  My gut is telling me no.

On cloudy days, especially when they are contiguous and numerous, wind will provide greater benefit.

What is the larger question?  How flexible are the people (and other entities) involved?

David, did you check out the original post? I'm speaking on an annual basis.  Cloudy days don't necessarily mean wind, and solar will still produce electricity even on cloudy days.  On an annual basis, I'd be surprised if there were many places where resi wind beats solar. 

Nope.  I responded to your question.  It wasn't serious?

Who lives on an annual basis?

Ok, I didn't word my question effectively.  What I meant to say, "Even on a 100 ft tower, does a wind turbine outperform solar on an annual basis"  Again, I'm sure there are locations where this is the case, but these are few and far between, and outside of the majority of the U.S. population.

 

Everyone lives on an annual basis when it comes to analyzing what the better return on energy investment is.

"Everyone lives on an annual basis when it comes to analyzing what the better return on energy investment is."

Then, hopefully, each is very flexible.  Lately, fewer and fewer days seem to be average days.

Well Dave, luckily I have one of the most popular posts on the web for finding your city's temperature and weather history.  Of course I haven't instructed people how they can predict the future, but based on all available information, I can tell them what their best available options are.
Thanks for what you're doing, Chris.  I hope your feeling was that I was playing with you in a friendly way.
No worries!   But seriously, let's try and get to the bottom of this issue!  I would like to do enough research and then come out with some conclusions that all Energy Pros can use to recommend clean energy systems.
At a Minnesota Energy Conference I met a wind and PV solar installer. He sells and installs both Southwest wind systems and Sunpower PV(one of the highest efficiencies in the industry) systems. He monitored both a 2.4 kW wind turbine and a 4.14 kW PV array for 16 months. Wind was at 4200 kWh and the PV at 11,000 kWh. The tower was 33ft high on flat mostly unobstructed terrain. No shading of PV however the ground mount array was automatically articulated from sunrise to sunset and the north to south angle was adjusted twice per year. This is a guess,but articulation could double the yearly output of PV. This was a south central Minnesota Location with an average wind speed of 11.5 to 14 mph depending on the exact location of the turbine.  The cost of the wind system installed was $19,500 and for the PV installed was $30,000 to $40,000. They sell a 10kw Ventura turbine that could output 17,000kwh/yr for $60,000 to $65,000.

Leo,

That's a great example.  Most people would assume that wind would kick solar's butt in MN.  Even if you halved the size of the PV array (and then had the installed cost under the wind cost) it would still produce more kWh than the wind!  

RSS

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Tom Conlon replied to Tom Conlon's discussion Whole House Fans - Love 'Em or Not?
"Excellent snapshot, Griffin. You didn't happen to notice the fan manufacturer's name on…"
33 minutes ago
Brandon Walton replied to Brandon Walton's discussion 12 Things Every Home Performance Contractor Should Have on Their Work Truck
"Thanks Don! "
1 hour ago
Griffin Hagle replied to Tom Conlon's discussion Whole House Fans - Love 'Em or Not?
"I was aware of but unfamiliar with them until moving to Southern California in 2012. After seeing…"
5 hours ago
tedkidd commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
"David,  I don't think forcing people to do things works out well for anyone.  Any…"
6 hours ago
David Eakin commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
""I believe it is our job to educate the consumer, understand the problems, help them…"
6 hours ago
Profile IconGary Fitzgerald, LOUIS ANDERSON and Jeremy Hargreaves joined Home Energy Pros
7 hours ago
eric anderson replied to Tom Conlon's discussion Whole House Fans - Love 'Em or Not?
"In Connecticut’s climate, I am not in favor of them . Either they are the big old style that…"
8 hours ago
Don Fitchett replied to Brandon Walton's discussion 12 Things Every Home Performance Contractor Should Have on Their Work Truck
"Every little bit helps. :)"
8 hours ago
Tom White commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
"Ted, I understand and share your concern about the lack of guidance on the part of the "Home…"
8 hours ago
Mike Kandel added a discussion to the group Building Performance Institute (BPI)
10 hours ago
Mike Kandel posted a discussion
10 hours ago
tedkidd commented on Scott Mellberg's blog post Lessons from Energy Efficiency Advisors: Getting Homeowners Onboard with Home Performance
"David,  Please think some of these things through.  If programs suck so much, how can…"
10 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service