Solar or Wind Power: Which is More Efficient?


This is a question that many of us who follow the clean energy industry may have asked ourselves and this entry is here to tickle the debate not give a definitive answer: which one represents more value for money / carbon input, wind or solar power?

Surely they are both alternative energy types as are others that we should embrace in order to break ourselves from our oil addiction.

But are they exactly the same in terms of efficiency, that is, how much electricity they can produce? They capture energy in very different ways, but one and only one experiment carried out by Inland Power and Light arrived at the conclusion that solar is more efficient.

They compared a 35-foot wind turbine with a solar panel array, making sure that both could generate the same amount of electricity under optimal conditions. Both cost $22,000 as well. Apparently the solar array generated five times more power than the wind turbine mainly because of the varying wind speeds that stops the turbine from generating power. Solar, it seems, is less intermittent than wind. 

Certianly at Caplor we find that Solar is reliable - it is quite simple, every day we need power and that is what our PV delivers but our turbine in far more intermitent.  So for an individual we prefer the delivery of wind, yet on a national scale there is surely a wind bloing somewhere that will bring wind energy onto the grid.

Another advantage of solar panels is that they are easier to integrate architecturally. But considering how much energy we need to run this planet, it’s good to have a choice. Surely under some conditions, wind will do a better job than solar and vice-versa. The point is to continue developing both technologies so they become increasingly efficient.