Is a wind mill generator better than solar panel? I am going to write in this article the things that make either solar or wind power worth the money. In my specific situation, I have discovered that it is best for me to stay on the grid, but this is only because of my limited budget.
WIND POWER: First I will talk about wind power. It is cheaper to have wind power, than it is to have solar power. A 1000 wattage complete wind generator cost from the range of 300 American dollars, to 400 American dollars with shipping included. That makes the price per wattage about 0.35 American dollars per wattage for the generator. This does not include the batteries or all the other needed modules. Modules which by the way, have to also be purchased with solar panels. The wind generators will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The durability of one generator should be about 40 to 60 years. About the same running time as a solar panel. These generators can only be used in an area with enough wind to keep them running at optimum. You need these generators to always be running with very little down time. That means you really shouldn't try using them unless you are installing them in a windy zone. The beach here is usually always windy and could work there, except for the fact that I live in the main land. The only way I could use a wind mill generator is if I was able to install it far above the tree lines. That requires permission from the county and state, and also a contractor and construction crew. This really destroys the value of the wind mill, making it cost far more than a solar panel. On top of this problem I run into the problem of having days without any wind. The wind in my area has an average speed of 12 mph the entire year. Just barely enough to get the wind generator started. This will not give me the full 1000 wattage capacity. Wind generators can only give their optimum when spinning at optimum. Depending on your area and the speed of the wind, you can expect to get less than the rating. Maybe about 25 percent, to 75 percent. Unless you are going to do the installation yourself, and have enough yearly wind for these, they are not good enough. If it's legal in your state and county, then you might want to consider in the price the information in the paragraph labeled 'Off Grid Savings'.
SOLAR PANELS: Now that I am done giving the basic knowledge I learned about wind mill generators, I will list the things I learned about solar panels. Solar panels are expensive. The higher the wattage of the panel you buy, the lower price per wattage. On eBay the prices for a solar panel range from 0.85 American dollars, to 1.5 American dollars. Unless I was just getting something for my boat or car, I would not pay more than 1 American dollar per wattage. This is because I know how much I am getting scammed. It is my personal opinion that 1 American dollar is more than what these panels should cost, as the manufacture can sell these to whole sale salers for about 0.35 per panel. That was before shipping, which gets cheaper and cheaper the more you have in your order. One 1000 wattage panel on eBay will cost about 850 to 900 American dollars. I just looked at with my current keywords 870 was the approximate price. That is with shipping added to the price. Why will this not work for me? This is because 1000 wattage panel will give me about 80 percentage output making it 800 wattage. The problem is the number of hours the panel is usable, which is only 6 hours per day. The value of 800 watts per hour at 0.10 per 1000 watts per hour is 0.08 American dollars per hour. That would give me 0.48 American dollars per day, with 14.40 American dollars per month. That comes to 172.80 American dollars per year. The batteries and charge controllers, along with the power convertors and power cords needs to go into the cost of the system. Along the way I will have to replace the batteries several times adding onto the cost. It would take approximately 40 years to make up for the cost of this setup, at which time the panels would have degraded and need replacing. If they had not gotten broken during the 40 years. However, it might be worth the money if you can use the advice in the paragraph, 'Off Grid Savings'.
THE BATTERIES: The batteries are needed with either wind or solar. It is possible to use them without the battery, but this could destroy your solar panel or wind generator. It might also destroy your power convertor and also the utility that is being used. The cost of one 110 amp hour battery is in the range of 160 American dollars to 200 American dollars. These are lead acid deep cycle batteries. Car batteries will degrade to quick to make them useful in the way of using a deep cycle. Unless, you keep the car battery charged at peak, then it would be wasting money. The lead plates inside crumple and turn into dust when the battery is discharged. The deep cycle battery has degradation, but unlike a car battery. And you might not know it yet, but a deep cycle battery can not be used as a car battery, because it lacks the cold cranking amps. This is because the lead plates are solid in the deep cycle, rather than sponge. A deep cycle should not be discharged below 80 percent of it's capacity. The lead acid plates will have turned to dust if you do. A deep cycle battery will last you longer if you keep the charge at 50 percent and higher. You can make the battery last even longer if you keep it at 80 percent. The battery will require maintenance ounce a year, demanding a discharge to 20 percent of capacity before being filled back again. These batteries can be damaged quickly, being voided in 6 months time. But a cared for battery of this kind can last 4 years. Some manufactures make their batteries better, some batteries can last 10 years under usage. Batteries are hooked together to make them what is called parallel. Two 50 amp hour batteries will make one 100 amp hour battery. Depending on the appliances, many batteries are required. The more batteries the more running hours available. The more batteries the more charging and charging time that is required to make them useful. Old batteries should not be mixed with new batteries. The old batteries can damage the new batteries because of capacity differences. The new batteries can also damage the old batteries because of capacity. The older a battery grows, the less capacity it will have. Age is worse for a battery than recharges, depending on how low the battery was taken. Taken into count all that I have said about batteries, I just want to say that batteries are fragile. This is true even for gel filled or none acid dry batteries. Even the air battery is fragile. I am not talking about it's structure, but the usage of a battery.
OFF GRID SAVINGS: What do I mean about off grid savings? Other than the cost of power usage, there is a base price that must be paid. Our power company who is called Florida Power and Lights charges a 150 American dollar base price. That is the cost of power before any electrical has been used. The used electrical then added on to it, cost 0.10 American dollars. If I had enough money to setup the house for off grid living, then I would save 150 American dollars per month. That would be 1800 American dollars per year. In ten years I would have saved 18000 American dollars. In 40 years that would make 72000 dollars. That is before I count the power usage. The power companies know that if they do not alter the American laws then they will slowly go out of business as all the American homes will become self sufficient. They have changed the laws and living codes to make it a requirement to have on grid hook up. Without being hooked up to the grid you house will be condemned. If your house is condemned then the American government will take your land and house from you, booting anyone who lives there into jail or the streets. Saving your house from an awful judgement like this one is very expensive. Only the wealthy can survive an American judgement, the judicial system in American is operated like a business. Do you see how the power companies now charge a base minimum before power usage now. This is because they know that a home owner with enough money can make he's come self sufficient, and keep a himself hooked to the power company, without using the power company. Now the power company charges many many fees before the actual usage of power. Home owners have also been able to spend no more than 50 American dollars per month for their utility bill, but having no lights in the house, and running nothing more than the water heater, water pump, and stove. Now that same man has to spend 200 American dollars per month. He spends way more money than what the power is worth. He is most likely to get a wind generator or solar panel to run he's stove and water pump. But the power company will report he's house as bad, no power hooked up. Then it doesn't matter that he can prove to the judge that he has power, the judge takes he's land from him because of the American law that is not being used to protect the American people, but condemn them.
THE END: So with all these I have said about what I have learned about power and the cost, maybe you can find a way to make the off grid system work for you. If it wasn't for the law, then it certainly would be much cheaper to live with off grid power in my area. I do not expect that to change until the American law is being changed to protect people, rather than condemn them. After having said that, if you have wind then wind generators would be better than solar panels because of the running time. Because of the base price for power living unhooked from the grid will make the price of a system worth it, but the law must be checked to see if it's legal.