Cost Comparison of Residential Solar Vs. Wind Power


As rising fuel costs leave consumers with surprises from electric companies in their mailboxes, the U.S. government is offering tax rebates to those homeowners who install either wind turbines or solar panels to produce green electricity. But you will need to know about upfront installation costs and how much lower your utility bill will be before deciding on which type to use.

Solar Panel Installation Costs

  • According to Lee Devlin at, the average cost of solar renewable energy for residences depends on the amount of sunlight your geographic area receives during the day. The less sunlight, the more solar panels you will need in order to benefit. Homeowners in areas of the country with five to seven hours of sunshine during the day and few clouds can spend on average $35,000 to $45,000 for solar panel installation. Those in areas with three to six hours a day will spend $56,000 to $72,000.

Financial Assistance

  • In addition to the federal tax rebate, electric companies are helping homeowners with the cost of solar panel installation. You may be able to cut in half your cost to install solar panels by taking advantage of some of the incentive programs local electric companies may offer. Even with these incentives, it will take the average homeowner 20 years to recoup the costs of installing solar panels on their homes. The average electricity savings per month on homes with five to seven hours of sunlight a day is 20 percent or more.

Wind Turbine Costs

  • Due to their size, wind turbines are used in homes in rural areas and not the suburbs or in urban areas. Smaller wind turbines can be used for urban and suburban homes, though they will not produce a significant amount of electricity. If your property is big enough to accommodate a wind turbine, the cost of installation could be substantially less than solar panels. The typical cost is dependent upon size, application and service agreements and generally runs anywhere from $6,000 to $22,000. For this, you can expect a monthly energy bill that is 50 to 90 percent less, depending upon where you live, wind speeds and the size of your turbine.

When a Turbine Operates

  • According to, wind turbines run automatically when the wind speed at your home is seven miles an hour or above. Typically, the installation costs can be recouped within a six- to 15-year period. Your electric company and state and federal governments may offer incentives and rebates to offset this cost just as they do solar panel purchase and installation.


  • Electric companies provide homeowners with electric meters that rotate backwards. This enables you to sell back to the electric company electricity produced from your wind turbine or solar panels that you produced but did not use during that particular billing cycle.

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  • Photo Credit "Wind Farm, Dillon CA" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: kcdsTM (Ken) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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