Hydro vs. Wind vs. Solar Power

Hydro vs. Wind vs. Solar Power?

Prons

Hydropower

-Lowest cost per watt hour
-Usually a predictable year round power output
-Often does not require a large battery bank
-System is quiet and often can be made unobtrusive
-Typically low maintainance

Windpower


-Low cost per watt hour in a good location
-Smaller systems can be low maintainance
-Predictable power output in some locations

Solar power


-Can be used almost anywhere
-Extermely low maintainance
-Very long system lifespans
-Can be operated unmonitored for extended periods of time
-Predictable power output in most locations
-Simple installation
-Silent , unobtrusive operation
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Cons

Hydropower


-Not suitable in many locations due to lack of resource
-Often requires substantial modification of water resource (except for in-stream type generators)
-Initial installation cost can be high if damming or dirtwork is required
-In colder climates, freezing of pipes, etc can be a problem
-Moving parts will eventually wear out

Windpower


-Not suitable in many locations due to lack of resource
-Towering can be expensive for larger units, and may require heavy equipment to erect.
-Some people object to the tower aesthetically
-Birds of prey run into tower and guy wires (similar to but smaller than utility installations in this respect)
-Power output can be sporadic in some areas, nescesitates the use of a large battery bank and / or altrenate power source
-Many people report that considerable noise is generated in high winds
-Even routine, minor maintainance on a windmill can be difficult on the top of a tower. Systems to reduce / eliminate this problem typically add to the cost and complexity of the system.
-Moving parts will eventually wear out

Solar power


-High initial cost for solar panels
-Power output can be variable in some areas, nescesitates the use of a large battery bank and / or altrenate power source
-Requires good solar exposure (not practical in shaded areas, etc.)
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