Solar vs. Wind vs. Hydro
A combination of systems often works the best
Two points to look at are the site specific nature of these power sources and the difference in moving parts. Solar electricity many times has the advantage with both factors, sunlight being fairly universal and PV's having no moving parts to wear and eventually fail.
Wind generators require a good steady wind at regular intervals over the four seasons. If you have a site where you have this resource, power production will not be a problem.
Hydroelectric generators are another option. These small generators require a healthy flow of water with good vertical drop throughout the year.
A combination of systems often works the best. Many times when the clouds reduce your solar output, wind or hydro systems can be performing at full power.
If you are on utility power at present - PV is a cost effective move. The new grid tie systems coupled with Federal and State incentives make these systems very affordable and easy to install.
Utility power is much cheaper than PV power.
Why? Because we have not yet begun to pay for the externalities of fossil fuel and nuclear generating plants. When this World begins to pay for the sulfur emissions which cause acid rain, global warming and nuclear waste disposal, to name a few, we will then see a level playing field.
With this in mind we need to ask and answer the question again. We believe, over the working life of a PV system, it can very well be a cost effective move.
It all depends on the real price increases of utility power, three, five or eight years from today.
If you were going to go off grid then a PV/Wind Hybrid may be the only way to go. The cost of extending utility lines usually far out weighs the cost of a good off grid system.
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