Wind v/s Solar: Which one is better

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India has about 18000 MW wind installed capacity, and in recent year there has been significant addition for solar as well and the country has around 1.2MW installed capacity of solar pv as well. The renewable energy development in India was typically promoted by tax incentive in the form of accelerated depreciation (AD). On one side the AD benefits have been withdrawn from wind technology. On other side AD benefits are still available in solar. Although solar pv is relatively new technology  but there are few reasons because of which investors are finding solar pv as their preferred investment.

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Reasons stating which one is better:

a)      In terms of capital cost the wind farms are still cheaper propositions, however the recent cost slide in solar have raised the gap between the capital cost of solar and wind , and presently there is no significant difference in per MW cost of solar with respect to wind  turbines.

b)      While most of the A and B category is exhausted in the country,investors don’t find to invest their money in C category size of wind farm where generation is lower ,at the end of times getting low PLFS 16-18%. In case of solar sun rays are available everywhere and put less resource risk of the investment and the site specific nature of the variability of wind can be avoided by investment in solar

c)      Wind turbines are moving objects while solar panels are stationery and maintenance free,which offers greater comfort to the investors in terms of reliability.

d)     Integration of wind into the grid has become critical, as about 80% generation takes place only during monsoon season (4 months) and grid is also not having a very high demand, on the other solar panels generate electricity during day time and it very well matches with grid generated electricity. It becomes easier to integrate MW class solar projects to the grid as compared to wind projects.

e)      Even if wind turbines are easily accessible, it is not possible to install the wind turbines on your backyard, however solar array an be installed in the roof of a house which can integrate very well with the grid and provide a grid connected to meet energy demand.

The current level of AD and REC benefits makes solar much more attractive when compared to wind and we may see in future invest in solar projects is going to be much higher.

Article by: Dr. Sanjay Vashishtha & Sonu Nair


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