A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other purposes. A wind farm can also be located offshore.
Solar farms are large utility-scale farms designed to generate enough electricity to power thousands of homes and businesses. Who do solar farms work? A solar panel farm feeds power into the electrical grid just as fossil-fuel energy plants do, except that solar farms produce no pollution of any kind, and use very little water compared to traditional power plants.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells made of silicon are constructed into panels, each gathering a small amount of sunlight energy. The panels are installed on short towers over an area as big as 100 acres. Some solar farms fix their PV panels into a static position; other farms use solar tracking systems that move the panels to follow the sun. Multiple panels are required to generate significant electricity, which is why solar panel farm arrays are so large.
Another form of solar farming energy is concentrated solar power, which uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight and create heat, which drives a variety of conventional generator systems. PV solar farms are more popular and in much greater use, outnumbering concentrated solar power installations by 40 to one.
Wind turbines, like windmills, are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground, they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind's energy with their propeller-like blades. Usually, two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor.
Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale (megawatt-sized) sources of wind energy, a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant, also referred to as a wind farm.