Do you have solar installed?
You might already have solar panels installed at your home. Perhaps you are saving money on your electricity bills, and you know that the economics add up. You know that clean technology is only going to improve in the future. Are you considering an upgrade or expansion of the green electricity generators in your home? Perhaps you’ve read a couple of ‘wind vs, and you’ve solar’ articles?
Solar has its issues of intermittency, so does wind. The wind blows at night time, and more in the autumn and winter when there is less sunlight.
Wind and solar can balance and compliment each other.
The decision about how to power your home needn’t be an either/or situation. Solar can provide safe and affordable power, you’ve already got mains electricity. Wind turbines can be added to the mix, and solve some of the intermittency problems associated with solar.
As long as your property is in an area that is reasonably windy, you can have three types of power generation. Battery storage technology is getting better, and more affordable all the time. We truly are living in a special time in human history. Let’s hope that technological advancement can overtake the continued damage to our environment and the people who ignore it.
Questions to ask ourselves
When trying to decide between different options for your energy requirements, realise that we need to look at the future. Things have changed a lot even just the past five years. Solar panel prices have plummeted, and international commitments for fight human-made climate change have taken a considerable setback.
Q) Are we reducing reliance, spreading risk?
We don’t need to be doomsday preppers to understand that we live in an unpredictable world. Every day we turn on the TV and see things happening that seem insane. Many of these events occur on the other side of the world, but too many are happening in our own country. It’s a good idea to be resilient and hedge our bets for our home energy security.
Q) Will electricity bills keep going up at a higher rate than inflation?
Could mains electricity power keep going up and up every year? It always has! Will it go up faster or slower than inflation in general? It’s likely to go up more quickly than many other things we purchase. No one can answer these types of questions for sure, but spreading the risk of future price changes makes sense.
Q) Will the cost of solar and wind power keep coming down?
Again, no-one knows for sure, but in general, the prices of all technology keep coming down over time. Solar power has surprised even the most optimistic fan, by exceeding expectations in price drops. Wind is slightly different in that turbine generators are more established tech than PV panels. If the market grows, and manufacturer competition increases, there’s every reason to think that turbine costs will drop.
Q) Will the performance and efficiency of wind and solar keep going up?
If we look at any tech industry, boundaries continue to get pushed. Occasionally there’s a step change that catapults a companies fortunes, but in general, any tech product that we care about keeps getting better value. An advantage of wind generators is that replacements parts can be changed. For example, lighter blades or smoother bearings could get installed at a later date, unlike solar where most of the tech gets built into the panels.
We can’t answer questions like these with any degree of certainty, but if we take the past as an indicator for the future…
… Electricity from the power grid will keep getting more expensive, and green energy will keep getting cheaper and more effective. Do you want to be on the right side of these trends, and of history?
As consumers, we’re happy to pay more if there are good reasons to do so. Purchase decisions are not just about price. Self-sufficiency, environmental concerns and an eye on the future are all likely to help our families.