Solar Energy and Wind Energy, Which One is More Promising?


Solar energy and wind energy are now very mature renewable energy technologies. Both the technology and the industry are very complete. In recent years, countries have developed rapidly. Therefore, to answer this question, I think we can first compare their current development status.

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2008-2018 world total installed photovoltaic capacity and annual growth
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2008-2018 PV installed capacity in various countries or regions

First of all, it is about photovoltaic power generation. It can be seen that the installed photovoltaic capacity is currently growing very rapidly. The total amount in the world has exceeded 500 GW, while only 15 GW 10 years ago. China occupies a large proportion, reaching nearly 180 GW at the end of last year.

In addition to photovoltaic power generation, solar energy utilization has long been widely used, including centralized solar thermal power stations, solar hot water and other utilization methods.

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2008-2018 World CSP Station Installed Capacity
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2008-2018 world installed capacity of solar water heaters
CSP stations are mainly in the United States and Spain. Compared with photovoltaics, the installed capacity is actually very small. The solar water heater has reached the bottleneck period of development, because the total installed capacity is already very high, the heat provided in a year is equivalent to 233 million barrels of oil, and the current growth rate has slowed down significantly.

Finally, let’s look at wind energy:
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2008-2018 is the world's total installed capacity of wind power
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The total installed capacity and increment of wind power in the top ten countries in 2018
The total installed capacity of wind turbines has reached 591 GW, and the new increase has reached 50 GW for several consecutive years. They have maintained a steady growth state, and China has the largest share.

There is no doubt that under the circumstances that hydropower growth is naturally restricted, photovoltaic power generation and wind power generation have become the most important renewable energy growth drivers, especially in China. On the one hand, this benefited from the government’s policy support under the pressure of environmental protection and emission reduction. On the other hand, under the joint promotion of enterprise technology and the market, the cost of photovoltaic or wind power generation is falling rapidly, so it is constantly increasing. Promote the growth of the market. At present, the latest photovoltaic power plants and wind power plants can basically compete with traditional coal-fired power plants without subsidy support, and their electricity cost per kilowatt-hour is expected to reach a level below the coal-fired benchmark feed-in tariff in the next few years.

Therefore, the technologies and markets of the two are already very mature. As long as there is a return on investment, the market will not let go of any piece of cake. In principle, both solar energy and wind energy are renewable energy sources. In fact, wind energy is also a form of solar energy. It is mechanical energy produced by the combined action of the sun, the atmosphere, and the earth's gravity. The future use of renewable energy by mankind will be more comprehensive utilization when conditions permit, that is, a comprehensive energy system involving different energy sources. However, both solar and wind energy fluctuate. Therefore, after their proportions gradually increase, the stability of energy supply is the key issue that needs to be resolved. The current reforms to the entire power and energy system are all in order to meet this challenge.

If we talk about the potential for further development of these two technologies in the future, I am more optimistic about solar energy, which is determined by the resources themselves. First of all, the total usable amount of solar energy is much greater than that of wind energy. In addition, the limitation of the application of wind power is obviously greater than that of solar energy. In addition to building large-scale concentrated power stations, solar energy can also be installed and used nearby on residential roofs and industrial and commercial building roofs. Wind power is mainly used in wind farms. Mainly, a single model is larger. It can be said that where wind power can be installed, photovoltaic modules can basically be installed. Generally speaking, solar energy is more flexible and has more room for development, and it is worth looking forward to. However, this does not mean that there is a conflict between the two energy uses, but that wind energy may come to its development bottleneck earlier. As renewable energy sources that develop in parallel, more of them will go hand in hand in the future.

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