Given that generating electricity from wind and sun are two prime marketed ways of making it, I think we should at least compare them properly, and anyway we compared their outputs across the year on our first chart. So we know wind tends to generate when we need it, but how cost effective is it really? Its public image isn’t always great but that may be because some people object to the structures. Mind you they might complain if all our buildings looked like PV units!
I am not going to compare micro wind here – that will be done elsewhere – but commercial scale wind. I know we cannot put these things on our land but we could own them. In the Brief we have considered the situation where there is 32Gw of PV in the UK, and as this would produce about 20Tw.hrs of electricity each year, this is one benchmark to compare wind with PV. So here are some unbiased comparisons:
|3 MW Wind Turbine(s)||Solar PV|
|Capital cost per KW of generator||£900||£4,800/£12,500|
|Power generated/yr per KW of generator||2450 kw.hrs||625 kw.hrs|
|Power generated/yr per £ invested||2.72 kw.hrs||0.13 kw.hrs|
|Collector efficiency||28% to 33%||7.1%|
|To produce 7,300Mw.hrs/year||I turbine||4,050 12 panel houses|
|Capital cost for the 7,300Mw.hrs/yr||£2.7M||£56M to £146M|
|To produce 20TW.hrs||2,667 turbines||17M house roofs|
|Capital cost for the 20TW.hrs||£7B||£160B|
Yet again much of this information is available to those involved though many may not have seen it put quite so clearly before. But it does beg some questions doesn’t it?
How come Government has decided to put so much of our money behind solar PV?
Why don’t the suppliers tell people who are interested the facts so they can make informed choices?
Why do the so called ‘independent’ organisations keep telling the public they should install these products? And if they want to do this why don’t they explain how horribly inefficient they are from every perspective?
Now you may wonder why we would compare big turbines (these have 90m diameter rotors) that won’t quite fit on your roofs with PV that can, but first we must decide what is best to install – and then we can decide how we all do it. And in due time I will explain how we can all benefit from the lowest costs of generation and all get the biggest energy producing buck for each of those £’s we spend.
For much fuller information on PV please go to hyperlink where you will find my Solar PV Brief. Mike