Wind vs. Solar Power: Which Sustainable Energy Source is Cheaper?

Wind vs. Solar Power: Which Sustainable Energy Source is Cheaper?

Sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming more popular among home buyers. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported that 63 percent of REALTORS® surveyed noted that “…energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable.”

Homeowners also could be interested in making improvements to their home to increase energy efficiency. One of the most impactful ‘green’ upgrades to homes involves the adoption of alternative energy sources like wind and solar power to decrease reliance on the energy grid and lower costs, too. When comparing wind vs. solar power, which sustainable energy source is cheaper?

Wind vs. Solar Power

The Price of Wind Power

To create electricity that powers the home, some homeowners install windmills or wind turbines. These green energy sources use the wind to create electricity; as the blades of the turbine spin (with the wind), the movement of the blades spin a rotor that is connected to a generator, and the “translation of aerodynamic force to rotation of a generator creates electricity.”

The size of the turbine might depend on the size of the home or the amount of electricity the home requires. In addition, the turbine’s size also can impact the cost. How much does it cost to install a wind turbine? According to Renewable Energy Hub, a 1.5 kilowatt turbine could cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000, while a 15 kilowatt turbine would cost about $100,000.

Before installing a wind turbine, homeowners also will need to understand zoning requirements in their area and apply for any applicable permits. Some areas might not allow turbines. Since turbines require wind to create power, some areas also might not be ideal for using turbines as an alternative energy source.

Wind vs. Solar Power

The Price of Solar Power

Homeowners or homebuyers who are interested in lowering their dependence on the power grid also could choose to install solar panels to create electricity for the home. Solar panels are a great option in areas of the country that receive a decent amount of daily sun.

Solar panels also vary in price. Larger homes might require more panels for power. Different regions could have different costs for solar power installation, too.

According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, solar panels (including installation) could cost homeowners anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. However, the Center for Sustainable Energy explains that this cost is before any applicable tax credits.

Are Solar Panels and Wind Turbines Eligible for Tax Credits?

Tax credits help offset the amount of taxes owed, while tax deductions help lower the individual’s taxable income amount. Solar panels and wind turbines both could allow homeowners to claim a tax credit.

However, before claiming any tax credit, homeowners should consult with a tax professional to ensure that their turbine or panels qualify. In addition, the tax credit phases out over time. For example, systems installed after December 31, 2019 and before January 1, 2023 qualify for a 26 percent tax credit. However, the credit decreases to 22 percent for systems placed after December 31, 2022 and before January 1, 2024.

The credit can get confusing, which is why homeowners need to consult with a tax professional

Should Homeowners and Home Buyers Choose Wind or Solar Power?

Both wind turbines and solar panels are alternative energy sources that can enable homeowners to decrease their dependability on the power grid. In addition, these energy sources save money over time. However, the initial investment for both a wind turbine and solar panels can be an expensive investment.

While solar panels and wind turbines could be eligible for a tax credit, this credit does decrease over time. The amount of the credit depends on when the homeowner installs their system. Homeowners also should consult with a tax pro to be certain their panels and/or turbine qualifies for the credit.

Homeowners who can afford the up-front cost of solar panels or a turbine could reap the energy-saving rewards financially. Energy Sage reports that homeowners could save $10,000 to $30,000 on electricity costs during the life of their panels.

How long do solar panels last? Green Biz reports that they could have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.

Choosing between wind power and solar power could be related to personal preference, but some areas are not conducive to wind power while others aren’t ideal for solar panels. In addition, homeowners also have to ensure that solar panels and/or a wind turbine is permitted. Before installing any alternative energy source, homeowners should research permit requirements and bylaws that could impact their choices.

When homeowners choose to power their home with clean energy sources like wind and solar power, they are decreasing their reliance on the power grid while also lowering their impact on the environment. In addition, these alternative energy sources also could help homeowners save thousands of dollars on powering their home; by choosing green, homeowners also could save lots of green!