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Oct 09

Alternative Energy 101 Wind, Solar and Geothermal Alternative Energy Sources

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Alternative Energy 101 Wind, Solar and Geothermal Alternative Energy Sources

As alternative energy is gaining popularity, wind, solar, and geothermal energy are probably terms your are getting more familiar with. But you may not know about the pros and cons of these, including the set-up costs, potential savings, and other intricate details. Here are some of the basics about these types of sustainable energy.

1. Wind Energy

Wind is a renewable energy source. Even though it comes and goes, it can’t be used up. This makes it an attractive choice for homeowners, and is considered a viable means by which entire communities can be supplied with electricity. The wind’s energy is harnessed by rotating blades of various shapes and sizes (wind turbines). Wind power is not without its downside, however. Here is a brief description of the basics of wind energy and its pros and cons.

Cons:
* You have to have flat, windy terrain for wind turbines to work
* Equipment and set-up can be very expensive (this is especially true for the construction of large wind farms)
* Turbines must be maintained by professionals or a well-educated homeowner
* Large turbines can be extremely noisy and destructive to flying creatures

Pros:
* Wind is a renewable, clean energy source
* Your utility costs will go down significantly as you supplement your home’s power with wind-generated energy
* Home wind turbine kits are not very expensive and are widely available

2. Solar Energy

The invention of solar panels makes this renewable energy source very flexible. Solar energy can power small items like radios or cell phone chargers, or they can meet the energy needs of entire households and even communities.

Cons:
* Solar power only gets it’s energy when the sun is shining
* Solar panels can be tricky to install on your home

Pros:
* Solar energy is clean and renewable
* Batteries can be used to store extra power for use when the sun is not shining

3. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy makes use of the earth’s cooler (in summer) and warmer (in winter) temperatures. Geothermal heat pumps circulate liquid under the earth’s surface to be cooled or warmed depending on the season.

Cons:
* A great deal of digging is necessary to install a geothermal heating and cooling system
* Government financial aid and tax rebates may be available to help finance your upgrade

Pros:
* Once again, this is a renewable source of energy that is clean
* You will be “off the grid” and not subject to power company rate-hikes

4. Pros and Cons of Alternative Power in General

Generally speaking, all of the above have certain pros and cons associated with them. Here is an overview of the general pros and cons of alternative power.

Cons:
* Installation of alternative energy systems needs to be done by professionals, which can get pricey
* Maintaining these systems requires specialized skills
* Your property and location can make or break or plans

Pros:
* You don’t need to worry about power company rate-hikes breaking your budget
* Government grants and subsidies may be available in your area for installing various alternative energy apparatuses. Tax rebates also may apply
* Some forms of this type of energy, particularly solar, require little maintenance

We hope that alternative energy 101 helps you to better understand wind energy, geothermal energy and solar energy!

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