Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?

RSSfeedRSSfeed Registered Users Posts: 3,810 ✭✭
Everyone knows wind is cheaper than solar, right? Wind energy was the first renewable to mature and the first to achieve parity with*coal in many situations. But solar is growing up and catching up to wind on price and definitely on installations. Last year, in certain markets, it cost less to buy*solar systems*than*wind per watt. [...] The post Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind? appeared first on Solar Feeds.

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  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?
    RSSfeed wrote: »
    Everyone knows wind is cheaper than solar, right?

    Is it? I think it was more expensive even when panels were $5/W.
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?

    They're talking about utility scale. "One estimate is that installed wind costs an average of $1.61 per watt and solar costs $1.83 per watt for projects over 250 kilowatts, says Reuters.
    Read more at http://www.solarfeeds.com/solar-power-cheaper-than-wind/#5g7JfvXVHXbFZteE.99 "
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?
    stephendv wrote: »
    They're talking about utility scale. "One estimate is that installed wind costs an average of $1.61 per watt and solar costs $1.83 per watt for projects over 250 kilowatts, says Reuters."

    I thougt that in most (all?) places, 1 watt of wind capacity will produce much less kWh/year compared to 1 watt of solar capacity. Isn't that so? Or does it change when we go over 250kW?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?

    It is actually more complicated than that... A Solar Panel will see, on average around 4-5 hours of sun per day (based on 1,000 Watts per sq. meter average noontime sun):

    4 hours / 24 hours per day = 0.17 = 17% "daily efficiency"

    A wind turbine probably runs around 10% of rated power for "good quality" home turbine in a typical install (if you can find one of those) up to 30% for a megawatt monster on 120+ foot tower. The much maligned Skystream on a 60' tower has been reported to get over 30% of rated power in a windy region during a windy month (was it near lake Erie?)--When it was working. Here is an example of a Skystream production (I think I trust the numbers--There was a "history" behind this installation):
    BB. wrote: »
    There was one Skystream owner (blog.keepturning.com website long since abandoned) (near Lake Erie?) during the good months, as I remember:

    JANES HOUSEHOLD SKYSTREAM kWh RECORD

    kwh_header.jpg




    JAN

    FEB

    MAR

    APR

    MAY

    JUN

    JUL

    AUG

    SEP

    OCT

    NOV

    DEC

    Total



    2007

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    175

    225

    0*

    400



    2008

    98*

    292

    308
    246
    228
    153
    92
    84
    97
    164
    246
    472
    2,480


    2009

    265
    348
    244
    371
    182
    86
    90
    84
    250
    100
    194
    131*
    2,345


    2010

    101
    130
























    * December, 2007 - Skystream shut down from software problem with cold and would not restart.
    * January, 2008 - Skystream down until the 27th. Produce 98kWh in the 5 days remaining in the month.
    * December, 2009 - Skystream shut down several times and would not restart on it's own, production very low for wind speeds.
    * January, 2010 - Production very low for wind speeds.
    * February, 2010 - Production very low for wind speeds.

    -Bill

    2,480 kWH per year / (1.8 kW rated * 24 hours * 365 days) = 0.16 = 16% yearly efficiency
    472 kWH per month peak / (1.8 kW rated * 24 hours * 30 days) = 0.36 = 36% peak monthly efficiency

    And from Poster Ralph Day:
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    Ok, realworld results from SWWP...

    My H80 1kw turbine provides between 600 and 700 kwhr per year on my hybrid solar/wind/diesel off grid setup (wind resource 4.5m/sec average) (10 mph--BB). That's about 20% of the renewables per year. One rebuild of bearings and bushings after 5.5years of operation. Simple and flying again in a day (I didn't source parts from SWWP).

    Would I buy SWWP again? Probably not, their reputation is shot. Would I replace the wind turbine? Probably not, I now have utility power to charge batteries for considerably less cost than wind or diesel (or solar for that matter...see signature).

    Ralph

    ~650 kWH per year / (1 kW * 24 hours * 365 days per year) = 0.07 = 7% efficiency

    And that is one of the big issues with wind. You can get decent (and much better than solar) "efficiency"--But that is only when the wind is blowing (perhaps 3 months a year for some folks). Otherwise, you would be hard pressed to get 5%-10% in much of the rest of the year even with a good install.

    While the sun is available/predictable at 4 hours per day or more (for much of north America) and >9 months of the year on average.

    On a price per kWH generated--The turbines continue to be the "cheap" part of the install... towers, electrical, concrete, labor, cranes/winches/maintenance continue to be major costs for a typical installation.

    For Chris Olson, building his own "rugged" turbines and placing them on a 90' self supporting tower combined with long/dark/windy winters (Wisconsin)--He has been very happy with his results. But he has the tools to do his own manufacturing and installations. I am sure his still puts a fair amount of personal labor and money (towers, concrete, electronics, personal support equipment) into his installations too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?
    stephendv wrote: »
    They're talking about utility scale. "One estimate is that installed wind costs an average of $1.61 per watt and solar costs $1.83 per watt for projects over 250 kilowatts, says Reuters.
    Read more at http://www.solarfeeds.com/solar-power-cheaper-than-wind/#5g7JfvXVHXbFZteE.99 "
    Rated wattage of installed equipment is a nearly meaningless number.
  • northernernortherner Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    I thougt that in most (all?) places, 1 watt of wind capacity will produce much less kWh/year compared to 1 watt of solar capacity. Isn't that so? Or does it change when we go over 250kW?

    I would think that the cost difference would be with very large turbines. A large generating capacity can be installed on one single tower, which also takes up a relatively small space. Using solar panels to produce an equivalent amount of power, would require a large installation, covering a great area. Of course energy production is dependent on the geographic location for both wind and solar.
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Power: Cheaper than Wind?

    Another big factor is reliability. Even the big wind turbines have poor reliability compared to solar. Did you see the story about the school back east that had a turbine sold to them a few years ago? Now its broke, the company that sold it is out of business, they can't afford to rebuild the gearbox, they are paying the payments and paying for utility power. Ever drive through Palm Springs or Tehachepi? About half of them are working.
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