We have all heard of the term “green electricity,” but what exactly does it mean? Green electricity is electricity produced from sources that do not have an impact on the environment. Of course, any method of generating electricity will have an impact, but some methods have less of an impact than others. The cleanest energy sources are those that use natural energy that flows from the Earth. These are renewable energy sources, like the sun and wind, because they will essentially never run out.  So which provides the best source of energy, the sun which powers solar farms or wind that powers wind farms?

The wind that blows across the United States can be harnessed by turbines to produce electricity. The main issue that restricts the use of wind energy is the unreliable nature of the resource. Except in select locations, wind is considerably variable and extremely intermittent in speed, intensity and duration. This limits the locations where wind farms can be built. The ideal location is offshore near the coastline. However, installations and maintenance costs are high and their location puts them far away from existing power grids. In addition, wind turbines that are currently in use can be noisy and are potentially dangerous to birds. Wind can make a good contribution as a supplemental source of electricity, but with some significant limitations.

So it is inevitable that solar farms be considered as a viable solution for power generation.  The main advantage of electricity generated from the sun is the lack of any pollution and GHG emissions during the generation process. A solar photovoltaic (PV) module uses semiconductor technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity (even on cloudy days).  Of course there are some limitations, such as daytime use and requiring the use of storage batteries, however the maintenance of the devices themselves is much simpler than that of wind turbines.  In addition, solar technology can be integrated into buildings to make maximum use of the sun utilizing a passive solar approach to produce electricity.

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