Solar Power vs. Wind Power: Selection Criteria


The United States has embraced renewable energy solutions such as solar and wind power to promote sustainable development. Wind power was the largest renewable energy source in the US in 2019 with an estimated capacity of 105.591 megawatts (Hartman para. 8). Comparing available power sources is essential when choosing renewable energy solutions for a homeowner or any region. While solar power and wind power are both forms of renewable and clean energy sources, these types of power exhibit differences when considering maintenance cost, installation, and noise pollution.


Maintenance and Cost

Most clean energies have relatively low maintenance costs, but the levels of costs may differ. Solar power requires solar panels, which are low maintenance since they require inspection of the connections annually. The maintenance operations for the standard solar panel include cleaning the panels and tightening several bolts. Solar panels have no moving parts and, hence, require minimal maintenance checks as it picks up sunlight and converts it into electrical current (Göransson and Johnsson 850). Wind turbines have moving parts that include a fan that is fundamental in generating electrical current. Despite the direct-drive turbines’ little maintenance requirement, the owner’s manual includes a maintenance schedule, especially for the turbine gearbox that needs more care.

The cost of solar power and wind power needs consideration of the amount of energy besides the installation costs. The net system cost of a solar panel system is lower than installing a wind turbine to produce the same amount of energy. For instance, the production of 16500kWh would require 44 solar panels at the cost of $8700, while the production of the same energy amount would require a 10kW wind turbine in wind exposure of 12 miles per hour at the cost of $22000 (Göransson and Johnsson 852). Solar energy is, therefore, relatively cheaper to produce than wind power.


There is a great difference between wing and solar power in installation based on the flexibility of the turbines and solar panels. Solar panels are more flexible and permit installation in most areas, including the ground installation, while other owners may opt to install on the rooftops. It is possible to install solar panels in locations facing the sun, which can also be on poles and sides of buildings. Therefore, solar panels have various options for their installation and enable the generation of reliable electrical current.

Wind turbines are relatively less flexible since their installation needs to be over 30 feet taller than the surrounding tallest structure or terrain like a hill (Miller and Keith 2). The requirement of installing at the highest points makes it difficult if one for installation within urban areas or areas near tall trees. Towns have restrictions on the maximum height of structures, while the existing buildings may also block the wind. The most suitable locations for wind turbines remain to be in the countryside with fewer obstructions for wind. The rural areas have a higher average wind speed than the wind speed in the urban area hence suitable for installation.

Noise Pollution

Noise levels during operation among renewable power solutions are a less debated topic despite the high disparity between solar power and wind power based on their intended installation area. Solar panels do not produce any noise pollution since they are stationary panels and are silent during operation hence suitable power for users who require minimal distraction from noise (Nazir et al. 438). Wind power solution uses turbines that deal with higher wind speeds hence get loud. Smaller turbines can also get loud, specifically at high speeds.


Solar power and wind power solutions have various components of disparity despite both being renewable sources. The differences in the two forms of power are significant for an individual’s decision-making on the power option to install. Although solar power is less costly, wind power is appropriate for generating large quantities of power for a group such as a town setting. Therefore, the differences help select the most appropriate power to install, but a more significant factor to consider is the location.


Göransson, Lisa, and Filip Johnsson. “A Comparison of Variation Management Strategies for Wind Power Integration in Different Electricity System Contexts.” Wind Energy, vol. 21, no.10, 2018, pp. 837-854. Web.

Hartman, L. (2020). Top 10 things you didn’t know about wind power. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Web.

Miller, Lee M., and David W. Keith. “Observation-Based Solar and Wind Power Capacity Factors and Power Densities.” Environmental Research Letters, vol. 13, no.10, 2018, pp. 1-11. Web.

Nazir, Muhammad Shahzad, et al. “Environmental Impact and Pollution-Related Challenges of Renewable Wind Energy Paradigm–A Review.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 683, 2019, pp. 436-444. Web.

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