Which Renewable Energy Source Is the Best fit for your family?

carolevenson

Renewable and clean energy are looking pretty good right now. Not only is there the societal push toward a more eco-friendly and sustainable future, but there is also a monetary incentive for individuals and businesses alike to invest in energy sources that are cheaper in the long run. The main competitors in the arena of renewable, clean energy are solar, wind, and hydro. Here’s what you need to know when you decide to upgrade to renewable energy.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are increasing in popularity, but why? Solar energy is notably less efficient than other renewable energy sources, but the technology continues to advance, which increases the efficiency of solar panels. However, they are much more versatile and accessible. Installing solar panels is initially somewhat costly, but they vary in size, which allows them to fit into a number of locations and configurations that wind turbines can’t match, and hydro is simply a no go for the average person, as it requires a running body of water and a dam, which is both very costly and very large. Solar panels are the least cost effective of these options over time, but their relatively low installation and maintenance costs further incentives' their use. Solar is also the least intrusive form of renewable energy on the market not only because of the size of solar panels, but also because they do very little to disrupt the immediate vicinity. Because solar energy depends on sunlight, it’s available about 50% of a given day, and it can be weakened by overcast skies, but that 50% is generally guaranteed.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines are less popular than solar panels, but it’s worth mentioning that they are much more efficient. The primary reason they aren’t as widely adopted is that they are much, much bigger and require much more space as a result. This makes them less viable for individuals and businesses, though their efficiency makes them great in terms of infrastructure. Turbines still depend on an inconsistent natural occurrence, however, which makes them considerably less efficient than hydroelectric dams. They are also prohibitively expensive for private use, as well, whereas they can be more readily afforded by corporations and governments. They are known to cause problems for bats and birds because of their sheer size and altitude, which makes them substantially more intrusive than solar panels. However, their size has other ramifications. While some decry them as being unpleasant to look at, others disagree, so their growing ranks may be either a blessing or a curse, depending on your aesthetic preferences.

Hydroelectric Dams

Hydroelectricity is by far the oldest source of renewable energy technology, but that’s not what’s stopping it from being the most popular moving forward. In fact, they remain the most efficient and cost effective energy technology in the long run. However, they present a number of requirements that make widespread use an impossibility. For instance, the construction of a dam is extremely costly, though the cost will vary in relation to its size. Hydroelectric infrastructure requires a lot of moving parts, which makes them inherently more difficult to maintain. Perhaps the most pressing reason they can’t be used more widely is the extent to which they disrupt the local wildlife, though it can potentially benefit human residents in a few recreational ways. Because of these characteristics, they would be nearly impossible to obtain for any individual or small group, making them easily the least accessible. Microhydropower systems exist that descend directly from old water wheels for private use, though this necessitates living close to a river.

Renewable energy is not only ecologically responsible, but also fiscally responsible. Regardless of the form it takes, renewable energy is also clean energy, and it tends to be much cheaper after an initially costly investment. As technology advances, renewable energy sources will be more efficient, and prices will continue to fall. With all the facts in mind, you can make the best decision on the right technology for your energy needs.

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