Opting for a renewable energy system is an excellent way to reduce your dependence on conventional energy resources, carbon footprint and utility bills. And most of the time, your two primary renewable energy choices are solar energy and wind energy.
Whether you’re a home or business owner looking to switch to renewable energy options, it’s crucial to know the information to help you choose the right system.
In Australia, the current trend reflects how people now favorably consider renewable energy sources. According to the 2021 Clean Energy Australia report, “The industry passed a significant milestone in 2020, with more than a quarter of the country’s total electricity generation coming from renewable sources for the first time.”
However, when comparing wind versus solar energy, solar installations for both small- or large-scale renewable energy systems are clearly in the lead.
Solar energy wins
The year 2020 saw a surge in demand for both residential and commercial solar system installations around Australia. This development means that energy from the sun is now the country’s biggest renewable electricity source.
According to the latest Australian Energy Statistics, large-scale solar generation increased by 36.2 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, small-scale rooftop installations comprised a 27.5 percent share.
Taken together, solar and wind energy contributed a combined total of 24.4 percent in electricity generation, overtaking the performance of gas whose shares went down to 20 percent in 2020.
Overall, renewable electricity generation increased by over 20 percent in nearly every state and territory, with only Tasmania and South Australia being the exceptions.
Why solar beats wind
When it comes to residential installations, a solar system is usually the better option instead of a wind system. Although the large-scale applications and benefits of wind energy are undeniable, solar energy is a more practical renewable option for individual residential requirements. Why?
When it comes to location and integration options, solar installations are the clear winner because solar panels can be installed almost anywhere. The only requirement is that a 6.6kW solar system (or solar panels of any size) be positioned in a section that receives sufficient sunlight or is exposed to the sun for the greater part of the day. Solar panels are also totally silent during operation, so they are suitable for use even in urban settings.
Wind power systems, on the other hand, have very specific spatial requirements. This is why they are usually installed in wide, empty spaces. They can also be very noisy with high wind speeds. In fact, small wind turbines produce about 100 dB of noise while operating, making them inappropriate for residential use and urban settings.