If you live in an open, sunny area, you have the luxury of choosing between a solar-powered home and a wind-powered home for your off-the-grid makeover. Whether you're going off the grid forever, just trying it as an experiment, or even just taking one expensive appliance (such as the AC unit) off the grid so you won't have to pay for its power usage each month, both solar and wind power are viable options. Here are some points of difference between the two that will help you choose between them.
If you invest in a solar panel system, you'll need to have a flat, sunny place to install it. Full sun is the best option, but it doesn't really matter how high up the system is; solar panels can catch sun just as well on the ground as on the roof of your house as long as they have access to direct sun. Wind turbines, on the other hand, don't require sun, but they do require a windy spot, meaning that in some cases mounting them as high as possible to catch the wind can be beneficial.
Although it's possible to get either solar panels or wind turbines that are large enough to power your whole house, it's recommended that you not get such a large wind turbine unless you have enough property (ideally over an acre). Solar panels, on the other hand, can produce enough power to satisfy a normal household's needs with just a rooftop installation. The lack of a land requirement makes them a great option for city dwellers.
Like your roof itself, your solar panels should be kept free of debris, and they may occasionally require a professional washing (especially if you live in a very smoggy area) so that any built-up grime doesn't prevent them from accessing all the available sunlight. This is about all the maintenance they'll need. Wind turbines, on the other hand, are similar to machines in that they need to be serviced regularly and need to have an annual checkup by a professional just like your AC unit and furnace do. These maintenance costs cause some to conclude that the maintenance just isn't worth it unless you're running a wind farm.
These differences will help you see the pros and cons of choosing solar power or wind power. If you have a large area of land and want to start a clean-energy operation on the side, wind power may be for you, but if you're simply a homeowner wanting to install clean power for your personal use, solar panels may be the way to go.
Talk to a company such as Solar Energy Services to get started.