When most people think of geothermal and solar energy, they see them as two very dissimilar things. Naturally, we would reason that solar energy is associated with the sun, while geothermal energy is associated with the earth. So, what could geothermal energy and solar have in common?
Let’s analyze this by trying to understand what geothermal energy and solar energy mean before we look at their similarities.
Solar Energy – Basic Definition
Solar energy is one of the most widely used renewable energy sources on the planet. This is due to the ease and low cost of installing a solar panel system.
Sunlight is converted into electricity by solar panels, which can then be used to power your home or business. Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that emits no greenhouse gases.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is another renewable energy source that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Heat within the earth’s core generates geothermal energy.
The rate at which heat escapes from the Earth’s surface has recently been estimated to be approximately 47 Terawatts.
This thermal energy can be harnessed to generate electricity or to heat and cool buildings. Geothermal energy is a clean and sustainable resource that doesn’t produce any emissions.
Electricity Capacity Trends for Geothermal Energy Worldwide
The table below shows how steadily the installed Geothermal Power Capacity grows year after year. As of 2021, there have been approximately 16-Gigawatt of Geothermal power plants across the whole world.
|Year||Geothermal Power Capacity (Gigawatt)|
Similarities Between Geothermal and Solar Energy
These two types of energy have a lot in common. In this post, we will explore some of the similarities between the two.
Similarity #1: Both Can Power Homes and Businesses
Firstly, both can be used to generate electricity and power homes and businesses. Solar and Geothermal energy systems both convert one form of energy into usable electricity.
Similarity #2: Renewable Energy
Secondly, they’re both renewable sources of energy, meaning that they can be used over and over again.
Solar energy gets its power source from the Sun while geothermal energy uses the Earth’s heat. Both sources will take forever to run dry unlike diesel and fossil fuels.
Similarity #3: Environment-Friendly Power Sources
Thirdly, they’re both environment-friendly options that can help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
They don’t use any fossil fuel to supply power to our homes and industries.
Similarity #4: Cost Savings Over Time
Fourth, they both have the potential to provide significant cost savings over time. This is because they have shorter break-even years and long lifespans.
That means, if they break even on the 5th year with a lifespan of 40 years, you get to enjoy 35 years of free energy and savings.
Similarity #5: Long Lifespan
Fifth, they both have a relatively long lifespan and can provide energy for many years to come.
Solar panels can live more than 30 years. Geothermal power plants have a lifespan of greater than 25 years.
Similarity #6: Job Opportunities
Sixth, both solar and geothermal technology create record numbers of jobs. As more solar and geothermal plants are being constructed, more companies are also being involved. This increases the number of job opportunities for people, not only in the energy sector but also in the general industry.
Similarity #7: The Fight Against Climate Change
And lastly, they both have the potential to make a real difference in the fight against climate change. To reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy, alternative and sustainable power options should be established.
Both solar and geothermal energy would play a major role in making the alternative option more viable and available.
How Do Geothermal Energy and Solar Energy Compare in Terms of Cost and Efficiency?
In recent years, there has been a big push to find more sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of energy.
Two of the most popular options are solar and geothermal energy. But which is better? And how do they compare in terms of cost and efficiency?
The answer depends on a few factors, including cost and efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Cost: Solar Panel Vs. Geothermal Plants
Solar panels are generally less expensive than geothermal systems. It’s the reason that you can install a solar power system on a smaller scale. Solar panel systems can range in price from $10,000 to $30,000 with an installed capacity of 10kW on average.
Compare that to the average installed capacity of a geothermal power plant which is around 40,000kW or 40MW. Due to this, geothermal systems can cost upwards of $100,000,000.
Efficiency: Solar Panel Vs. Geothermal Plants
Solar panels are less efficient than geothermal systems. Solar panels typically have an efficiency rating of 15-22%, while geothermal systems have an efficiency rating of 40-60%. This means that geothermal systems are more effective at converting energy into electricity.
At the first glance, we might say that solar and geothermal energy are miles apart in terms of their differences. However, when we look closer, we realize that the things they have in common also exist.
Solar and geothermal energy are two of the most popular renewable energy sources in the world. They both have a lot of similarities, including being able to generate electricity, being environmentally friendly, and having a long lifespan. However, the most significant common ground they have is that they both don’t have any carbon footprint.
Overall, solar energy is more affordable and easier to set up than geothermal energy. However, geothermal energy is more efficient and has the potential to save you more money in the long run.
- Dye, S. T. (2012). “Geoneutrinos and the radioactive power of the Earth”. Reviews of Geophysics -https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2012RG000400