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Home > Science & Nature > Science > Physics > Wind Power and Solar Power Compared

Difference Between Wind Power and Solar Power

Wind Power vs Solar Power

Wind Power and Solar Power are natural sources of energy. Worried over the rapid rate of depletion of non renewable sources of energy such as coal and petroleum, mankind has been looking towards renewable and constant sources of energy. Another cause of worry is global warming and pollution cause by burning of fossilized fuels. Two such sources of energy are solar energy and wind energy. Energy drawn from sun is known as solar power while electricity generated with the help of wind is known as wind power. There are many similarities and differences between wind power and solar power.

Not many people know that wind power is actually solar power in a different way. Wind is caused by heat from the sun. Sun’s rays heat every part of earth’s surface but not evenly. At some place places it is hotter than at other places. Also, Earth is warmer during daytime and cools down during nights. This makes air above the surface of the earth cooler and warmer because of radiation. Hot air rises while earth’s surface draws cooler air to replace hot air. This movement of air generates winds. This wind is made use of during generation of electricity.

Both solar power and wind power are constant sources of energy and also the cleanest sources of energy. However, there are differences in the two which are as follows.

Solar energy is present on all parts of the earth, and so is wind. But sun’s rays are not equally hot at all places and so generation of solar power is not feasible at places where there are not enough sunny and warm days. Also it is a fact that sunlight is there during daytime only and it is not possible to provide energy to solar panels installed for power generation during nights. In comparison, wind is not dependent upon daytime and is blowing 24 hours a day. Even rainy season or winters do not make a difference to production of winds.

But wind also does not blow with same speed at all places. The places that are considered ideal for generation of wind power are near coastal areas but installation of huge turbines to generate wind power comes in way of other uses of such areas for purposes of urban development, tourism, agriculture and fisheries. Because of such priorities, wind power generation has to be carried out at locations where wind currents are not very high with the result that not sufficient wind power can be generated. Large turbines also have noise issues and noise pollution is a big concern today.

One difference between wind power and solar power is cost of installation. Solar panels are still costlier than wind power installations. However, there are maintenance and upkeep requirements in the case of wind power generators with moving parts which is not there in solar panels.

While solar power can sometimes be unreliable when the weather is cloudy for days at stretch, wind power is more reliable as weather has no part to play in wind generation.

Solar panels are expandable as units can be added anytime to harness more energy from sun, it is not the case with wind power. The capacity of wind power generators cannot be enhanced with major changes being carried out.

While solar power is noiseless and causes no problems to environment or ecology, wind power causes sound pollution and is also a threat to many bird species that have their habitat near wind power generators.

Summary

• Wind power is a form of solar energy.

• Both wind power and solar power are clean and constant sources of energy.

• While solar power can be generated during daytime only, wind power can be generated at all times.

• Solar power is costlier while wind power causes noise pollution.

• Solar power is unreliable, especially during cloudy and rainy season, there are no such problems with wind power.


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