That’s kind of a difficult question to answer considering how new both technologies are and how only recently they’ve begun to be used on larger scales. The director of the University of California Energy institute has recently been quoted as saying “wind power still remains much cheaper to produce than solar.” While that may not give any insight to total energy production, it does give a bit of information on efficiency. I would also imagine it depends on the region. Regional weather patterns would have a huge impact on the specific technology. A wind farm in the Sahara would probably produce less energy over its lifetime than solar panels in the Sahara. However, solar panels in the north of England would produce far less than wind farms in the north of England over the course of their lifetime.
The maximum efficiency a solar cell made from a single material in converting light to electrical power is approximately 30 percent. A fundamental limitation of efficiency is the band gap of the semiconductor. If dozens of different layers could be stacked, to catch photons, the panel could approach efficiencies of 70 percent but this has yet to be worked out. Now for wind power the Betz limit states that the maximum theoretical conversion of wind into electricity is approximately 59 percent. This is because if you capture this percentage of the wind’s energy the best compromise between stopping the air completely and forcing it to go around your machine is achieved. Most wind turbines that exist today achieve between 20 and 30 percent depending on the wind conditions.
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