Wind And Solar Energy: More In Common Than You Think
Driven by the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and a generous Federal tax credit, solar energy and wind power have experienced explosive growth in the past few years.
In 2008 alone the grid-tied solar PV market (solar electricity) grew by 81% adding 131 megawatts to the grid.
During the same year the US market for small wind turbines, those with capacities of 100 kW and under grew 78% in 2008 with an additional 17.3 MW (megawatts) of installed capacity.
Although both solar and wind energy enjoyed spectacular growth in 2008, the number of megawatts contributed by wind installations was dwarfed by the contribution from solar.
The reason for this disparity lies in the fact that only 13% of U S households have access to sufficient wind resources to make an investment in wind power pay off.
1. Both of these alternative energy systems are at the whim of nature. Nothing kills a wind turbine's production like the dog days of summer. For solar PV, the obstacles to peak production are outdoor temperature, cloud-cover, site elevation, and shadows from nearby objects.
2. The 30% Federal energy tax credit, which expires December 31, 2016, applies to both systems. Rebates and tax incentives from individual states could reduce your final cost by an additional 20%.
Here's a tip: If your state doesn't offer some type of subsidy for a small wind system they're probably trying to tell you something.
3. In addition to replacing the power from your utility at a predictable price for 20 years or more, as much as 90% of the value of your investment in wind or solar, including installation costs, could be added to the value of your home. Sure beats the stock market.