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Wind or Solar?



By: Daniel Gold
December 2009


I am often asked whether to install a wind energy or solar energy system, for the most part it depends on your location. The guide below is intended to run through some of the basics in making this choice.

The general advice is that, if you have a high enough average wind speed, then a small wind turbine could be a better investment than a solar system. If you don’t then it makes sense to buy a solar system.

It is important to know that both systems are supported currently by governmental incentives. The times to payback your investment can range from 5-10yrs on both solar/wind technologies. The simplest, and most accurate way of finding out which system suits your specific location is suitable for is by performing a site assessment using one of the many products on the market designed to do this job.

One device that we are familiar with is the Power Predictor, which was developed over the past two years in the UK by Better Generation Ltd. The UK is a hub of wind energy technology, and coming from a sector with such vast experience is a benefit.
power predictor
The Power Predictor is a small and fairly inexpensive device that sits at the location of the proposed wind turbine, and measures the wind speed continuously. It gives you an average wind speed over the duration of an assessment. The longer you do the measurement, the more accurate this will be at predicting your future generating potential with wind power. The shortest possible time for you to get a rough idea of the wind speed is 3 months, but it is recommended to test your site for at least one year before rushing into buying a turbine.

You could end up saving a lot of time and money by testing your site properly. Studies have shown that a well placed wind turbine can produce up to 20 times more than the same one in a poorly chosen site. Therefore, it is in your best interests to be patient, do your homework, and work out if a wind turbine is a good investment. After all, there is no point in trying to be green, if it ends up not benefiting the environment, or your pocket.



There are some overall pointers you should follow when considering which system to buy. Wind turbines should be kept free of obstructions and mounted as high as possible. Generally speaking the Golan, parts of the Galil, Jerusalem, Negev, Haifa, and directly on the coast can be very good sites for wind turbines. If your site is located in areas such as Be’er Sheva or Tel Aviv, you can be fairly sure that a solar system is a better investment as these are not particularly windy areas. There are specific turbines that are suited to built-up area however, such as Leviathan’s products.

The first step should always be to test your site. If you are interested in getting more information about the Power Predictor, click here. If you are interested in buying a solar or wind system, or would just like advice contact Israsol.



About the Author:
Daniel Gold is the founder and CEO of Israsol (Israel), a Jerusalem based company that installs solar photovoltaic and wind power systems throughout Israel. Israsol is available for consultation on 0774550290, or visit them at www.israsol.co.il.



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