Which Is Better For Your Household Electricity Generation: Wind Turbines Or Solar Panels? Wind And Solar Power For Home Use Compared 2021


Many of us are searching for ways to reduce our utility bills and to be more self-sufficient  through the use of alternative power. All things considered, the benefits don’t stop there; not when considering Mother Nature’s tirade over the past several years.

Installing solar panels or a wind turbine means no scrambling for oil lamps and sleeping bags the next time the power grid goes down.

However, no matter how good your intentions are with regards to self-sufficiency, they can leave us feeling sucker-punched when the final estimate is in.  It’s understandable. Most of us are struggling to pay for our mortgages while the value of the US dollar plummets into economic freefall.

Not to worry. Thanks to a few good people, do-it-yourself instructions to build your own solar panels or wind turbine are available online for free, and that’s something we can afford.

For now, let’s start with a thumbnail comparison of solar panels vs. wind turbines. I  based this research on my homestead cabin and went to a solar/wind turban provider who offered a calculator that asked for zip code to calculate my locations temperature norms and daily sunlight averages.

The questionnaire also requested annual kilowatt use. The information is then calculated and recommendations are offered as to whether wind turbine or solar panels are the best solution for your location. Surprisingly, their recommendation showed that my location in northern Idaho had a rating suitable for both solar and wind turbines.

Obviously whomever invented this calculator hadn’t been anywhere near north Idaho this winter and early spring. Just two days before Easter, we were blanketed with 3 inches of snowfall overnight and parents had to scramble for a plan B for Easter egg hunts.

Placing an egg on the surface of snow, and mixing it with a little daylight, no matter how stingy, and you end up with cute little egg tunnels and not so cute sobbing children.

March and April delivered punishing winds that threatened to snap the pine trees on my property that lead to visions of Zeus joining Mother Nature; both bent on using my metal roof for target practice.

It turned out the costs were nearly identical for both solar panels and wind turbine, and as I mentioned, both systems were promised to be good candidates for my area of North Idaho.

Based on this past winter and spring, the decision was an easy one: wind generation ruled! For someone living in Toke, Alaska where the sun is missing in action for half the year, going with wind power is a wise decision. But if you live in Phoenix and get sunlight nearly every day—please don’t rub it in–solar panels are the way to go.

Murphy’s Law

Even when your location screams for solar panels, you might want to add Murphy’s Law to the equation because although some solar panels are made with tempered glass and are designed to withstand 1-inch hail and 50 MPH winds, should your area get pummeled by golf ball sized hail every once in a while, look out!

Wind turbines have their own issues. They have moving parts, so with them comes routine maintenance. If you suffer from a fear of heights, better arrange for someone you trust to do the maintenance work.

There is an option of partnering solar panels and wind turbans, and for certain locations, it’s the best approach.

No matter what best suits your geographic location, a portion of energy needs can be reduced with simple restraint.  The government is about to take some of our options away by following the lead of other nations who have outlawed the incandescent light bulb, severing a 130 year dependence upon Edison’s contribution to modern life.

A ban on higher wattage incandescent light bulbs will begin in the US sometime in 2012.

We can take advantage of tax write-offs by purchasing smaller, energy star rated hot water heaters or energy efficient tank-less models. And for those of us with availability to natural gas, gas hot water heaters might help.

I use the word might quite literally. We don’t know where that “glass” ceiling stops with regards to the price of oil. Some warn it will skyrocket to $5.00 a gallon and stay there. I believe them… I wished I didn’t.

We can switch out our refrigerators and ranges for energy saving models, and get into the habit of turning the lights off and unplugging appliances and chargers when not in use.

No matter how we do it, while the economy continues its nosedive, it’s time to find a workable solution to cut the costs of utilities as we navigate our way to long-term solvency.


The good news is there are folks out there willing to help us unplug from the grid who share do-it-yourself instructions to build solar panels and wind turbines. If you chose to either build or purchase an alternative energy source, you can unplug from the grid and breathe much easier.

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