Wind and Solar energy are two of the most sustainable energy sources known to man. These powerful, natural resources are two sources that have been here all along but humanity needs to figure out how to unlock the power through technology.

The good news is that experts realize that advancements in both wind and solar energy are important. The bad news is, the world is currently on a time-clock, as our current wide-spread power sources (fossil fuel and uranium) are fading. 

So, what are wind and solar power? What are the pros and cons that come with each power source? Find out below!

Wind energy is created by turning the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical power. Then, that mechanical power is converted, via a generator, into electricity.

Currently, wind power is responsible for producing about 5.5% percent of electricity throughout the United States. However, with new advancements continuously being developed, this percentage is on the rise.

Pros of Wind Energy:

Wind energy is an interesting resource that has a lot of pros that, for many, outweigh the cons. Here are the pros of wind energy:

  • Free, Renewable Energy Source: Wind is of course, free. Most of the time, unless you are flying a kite or want to get somewhere quickly on a sailboat, wind can be an annoyance. However, when collecting the kinetic energy from that wind, it can become a powerful, power-saving resource.

  • Positive Use of Land: Even though wind energy turbines are big and take up a good amount of room, most would still rather have that then a power plant or oil mining rig next to their home. After all, wind turbines are producing power in a safe and natural way. So, it is widely regarded to be a positive and efficient use of the land.

  • Wind Can Provide Remote Locations with Power: Even with all the advancements, there are still plenty of locations around the world that are remote. While some people are only in remote locations because they need to be, others prefer it. Either way, the world is such now that even people living in remote locations often need adequate power. Wind turbines can provide remote locations with power, where even solar can be inefficient, as it is not dependent on the sun.

Cons of Wind Energy:

The wind is certainly a positive resource than needs to be developed more thoroughly. However, while there are many benefits to the wind, there are also a few negative aspects of wind power. Here are the cons of utilizing wind energy:

  • Noise Pollution: Wind turbines are loud. There is no other way around it. If you have ever had a powerful fan running in the room you are in, you can understand the amount of noise that would be produced if that fan was 100-times the size. Now, imagine there are five to ten, all turning quickly. That is a lot of noise. Although, there are many other resources of noise pollution that are not only more harmful but also not as natural as wind turbines. So, it is possible to forgive the continuous whooshing of the wind turbines. Yet, it is still something that you would have to get used to if wind energy became more mainstream.

  • Wind Turbines Cause a Threat to Wildlife: While gaining energy, we also need to be conscious of the impact our structures have on wildlife. In this case, the impact is most widely felt by the bird and bat population. Granted, wind turbines are safer than cellphone towers and other structures humans have built. However, they still contribute to the mortality rates of bats and birds throughout the world.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is another renewable, clean energy solution that uses the sun’s energy to power the world. It is an amazing concept that has only grown in popularity and possibility recently, yet the idea was being played with as early as the 7th century B.C.

Despite it being a clean energy source, as with wind energy, there are both pros and cons to how solar fits into our current society:

Pros of Solar Energy

First, here are the pros of this safe and secure source of energy:

  • Most Abundant Energy Source: The sun and therefore, solar energy is the cleanest, efficient energy source available on the planet; at least, that we are aware of so far. Experts believe that because of the sun, we will have a source of energy for the next 5 billion years. So, when we are able to work out the issues in our technology, humanity will be all set.

  • Can Be Taken Off the Grid: While the overall efficiency isn’t quite where it should be to be completely effective for large-scale use, (especially if you plan to move around a lot) you can get off the grid and mobile energy through solar innovations. The reason is that unlike more traditional forms of electricity, you do not need access to a grid and you can install solar panels anywhere there is sufficient amounts of sunshine.

  • Requires Little Maintenance: Once solar energy is installed and the necessary hookups are made, you are usually good to go. There is very little maintenance that is required for solar energy. The whole system is extremely self-sufficient.

Cons of Solar Energy

Even though there are a lot of pros that make solar energy a good, there are some issues that make it less effective than it first seems to be. Here are the cons of solar energy that make it unable to become mainstream at this time:

  • Startup Cost to Individuals is High: There are a few ways to share solar energy but most of the time, solar energy is maintained solely by one household or business. There are not a lot of opportunities to share this cost right now. Therefore, if you are thinking about solar, you will be responsible for the installation. That cost is fairly high, even with the government incentives.

  • Environmental Hazard: Unfortunately, the more popular and widespread solar energy becomes the more impact it will have on the environment. Creating large-scale solar panels and other solar power collecting devices will produce hazardous waste. Therefore, there will still be the issue of properly disposing of that waste without it affecting the environment.

Ultimately, either way, you look at it, both wind energy and solar energy is a sustainable resource that is going to become widespread as our technology catches up with it. At this point, it is more a question of which energy source becomes more convenient when, since they are both sustainable and according to experts, the world is running out of time with our current supply of uranium and fossil fuel.