5. I believe that our energy production source (wind) compares to solar energy very well. They are similar in many aspects, and both carry many advantages and disadvantages.
Solar can be installed in many locations because it is a inactive producer of electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are used to do the energy conversion from sunlight to electricity. Unfortunately, most solar cells are small and require a number of these PV cells to produce limited amounts of electricity making it much more expensive than wind power. On average a photovoltaic solar system installed is about $10,000 per kW compared to Wind that would cost around 50% of that price. Solar systems can also be difficult to install on existing homes. Area of roof, direction of sun, maintenance and support all play a factor in the installation.
Seasonal Weather is also something to consider. In colder climates where 25% of North Americans live in - very few consumers would like to take on the task of going up on their roof and scraping the ice and snow off their solar panels in the winter in an effort to receive some energy from their cells. With wind power - the turbines just keep on going in sun, snow, rain and hail.
Wind power generators have been researched for years, and have seen decades of proven service. The typical lifespan of a large or even a small wind turbine is decades with maintenance once a year. Comparatively with solar powered systems, the life span of today's solar panel technology is short – around 10 years. Sure there are times when the windiest locations in the world do not have any wind and there are also times that there is very little to no sun, the nice thing about today's wind power and solar power technologies is that in most states and provinces in North America, net metering is in effect (which means people who own power technologies make money back regardless if there is wind or sun), making it possible for you to have the best of all worlds. It really depends on...