1. How does wind power compare to solar?
The costs of both technologies have been steadily decreasing in the last decade. Onshore wind energy has a slightly lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) than solar, but solar PV costs are declining rapidly. Both types of sustainable generation are now competitive with fossil generation.
Wind energy development uses less land than solar per MW of generation. Wind turbines need about 0.75-1 acre/MW of direct impact land use while utility scale solar installations use 5-10 acres/MW. While the two technologies have different footprints on land, they have complementary energy generation profiles. Wind turbines tend to produce more energy at night and in the winter months. Solar panels produce more energy during the summer months and during the daylight hours.
The footprint of a 1 MW wind turbine foundation is roughly 2,000 square feet (Berndt 2004) while the siting rule of thumb for ground-mounted solar PV is that 6 acres (261,360 square feet) are needed for 1 MW.
2. If I'm interested in developing a wind or wind hybrid project, where do I start?
For a co-op member, their electric cooperative is the first place to call. They will have the knowledge and resources to guide someone to a solution that works for the member and that functions within the confines of the co-op's distribution grid. If the co-op has done distributed energy projects in the past they may also be able to direct a member to trustworthy developers.
3. How are property values impacted by DG development?
Homeowners have expressed concern that their property values could be negatively affected by either the announcement of wind development or the construction of wind turbines on or near their property. Several studies in the last decade have aggregated real estate data and shown that there is no evidence that home prices near wind developments were impacted in either pre- or post- construction periods. If an impact does exist it is either small or sporadic.