Solar Power vs. Hydropower: Which Is Better?
Solar power and hydropower are renewable energy sources that could help power homes, businesses, and entire communities without relying on damaging fossil fuels that expand our carbon footprint. These forms of power have existed in some form for centuries, but in the past few decades, countries around the world have found new ways to adapt them to work with our ever-changing energy needs.
Pros and Cons of Hydropower
Hydropower harnesses the energy of moving water to produce electricity. This is done using a large hydropower plant, usually situated on a river or large body of water, and the energy it produces is connected to the local community grid to power their homes and businesses.
- Clean, natural fuel source
- Renewable as long as there's snow and rain
- Can easily adjust energy output to meet fluctuating needs
- High energy production
- Low carbon footprint
- Low maintenance costs
- Low failure rates
- Long life cycle
- Geographically dependent
- Comes with environmental consequences caused by damming water or controlling water flow, including migratory obstacles for marine species
- High up-front costs
- Ineffective during a drought
Pros and Cons of Solar Power
Between large solar farms and residential solar panels, it's easier than ever to use a source of energy that harnesses the power of the sun to keep your home or business going. The sun is a large source of energy, and just a little bit of its light can power the world for months on end if it's harnessed correctly!
- Long-term savings
- Federal and state tax credits
- Increased property value
- Low carbon footprint
- Little maintenance is required aside from cleaning the panels every few months
- Operates without any downtime
- High installation cost
- Limited capacity
- Dependent on your location for a good source of light
Which Is Better: Solar Power or Hydropower?
No single renewable energy source is better than the other because they both have their drawbacks and advantages. Scientists haven't been able to figure out how to harness one source of natural energy that would work the best every time in every scenario. Hydropower is more reliable than solar, but it isn't a good fit for most locations and requires a large amount of space. Solar power is smaller and can be added to individual buildings but may not be great in places that don't get a lot of sun or deal with obstacles that would make it harder to harness the sun's rays. Ultimately, the answer to which is better comes down to your location and power needs.