Growing A Greener Outer Banks NC

March 3, 2010

Green Energy: Wind or Solar?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 4x4RE @ 1:29 pm

Many people who you talk to about generating electricity at home seem polarized to either wind turbines or solar panels. I found this great article at that suggests “Why not use both?” For many areas maybe a mixture of both is the best way to handle our energy needs.

Many people today have realized the dream of being completely off the grid by combining wind and solar energy. Small sized affordable wind generators are available today for the home user, and they are being combined with photovoltaic cells for power generation. It’s obvious that fossil fuel energy costs are going to keep on rising making it harder to afford getting power from the grid. The time is more than ripe for solar wind energy to be one of the solutions to rising energy costs, and to take us off of fossil fuel energy dependence.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are actually very simple machines. They consist of 3 parts: rotor blades, a shaft, and a generator. The rotor blades act like a propeller that turns the shaft when the wind flows through them. The shaft then turns the generator and a current is generated. About eighty-five percent of all off-grid systems use solar wind energy.

The new micro as well as mini wind turbines are very popular with sailors, and are now starting to be more popular with home owners in Europe and the UK. Mini turbines are very cost effective and will only cost about $1,500 to $2,500. They are perfect for generating electricity if you live off the grid in remote rural areas. It’s satisfying to think about having solar wind energy provide for all your energy needs and also knowing that you never have to depend on utility companies.

Photovoltaic Cells

The typical home solar power system consists mainly of these:
a) Photovoltaic Panels
b) Charge Controller Module
c) Batteries (optional)
d) Inverter
Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into an electric current. The type of current generated by a photovoltaic panel array is DC or direct current. For this current to be usable in most common households, it has to be converted into AC or alternating current. That’s where the inverter comes in. It’s job is to convert DC into AC current.

Solar wind energy systems are also called hybrid energy systems because the use a combination of solar and wind power to generate electricity. The wind turbines are mostly used during the winter months (in the northern hemisphere) when the sun’s vertical rays are mostly directed toward the southern hemisphere, and days tend to be cloudy. During summer months, photovoltaic cells would supplement greatly along with the wind turbine.

By using hybrid solar wind energy systems, a homeowner has the option of using or omitting batteries for storage. Homeowners also have the choice of being “Grid-Tied” or “Net Metered”. This means that your solar wind energy system has the ability to provide electricity not only for your house, but the power company as well. This way, if your solar wind energy system generated more energy than was used, the energy can be sold back to the power company. When you’re selling energy back to the company, your power meter runs backward. The “net metered” system therefore is highly recommended. The grid also works as your “battery backup” when your hybrid solar wind energy system doesn’t provide for your power demands.

Net-metered systems are also recommended because they are easier to install, cost less, and offer better performance.



  1. Great information, and it is nice to see how inexpensive the small turbines can be. One suggestion – when referring to specific articles on other blogs, you should link to that single post, and not the main URL for the blog.

    Comment by Mason Posner — March 4, 2010 @ 12:24 am

  2. Mason – Thanks for the tip. I have fixed the link.

    Comment by carovarealtor — March 4, 2010 @ 1:01 am

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