How Home Solar Power Can Help You Avoid Volatile Energy Prices

You have most likely seen in the news that the US is facing the highest inflation in 40 years, and the energy sector has been one of the most affected. Between April 2021 and 2022, energy costs in general increased by 30.3%, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here is a summary of the 12-month cost increase for energy products and services used by homeowners every day:

  • Electricity prices have increased by 11%
  • Piped natural gas prices have increased by 22.7%
  • Gasoline prices have increased by 43.6%

Solar panels can operate independently from these energy inputs. After the initial investment is covered, they can last for over 25 years with minimal maintenance, and many brands are now offering long-term warranties.

PV Solar Panels on a Zero Energy Home

When using solar power, you are not only saving electricity at the current price, but also the impact of any kWh price increases during the following decades.

If you plan to build a new home or own a property that needs a roof replacement soon, you can also consider a solar roof.

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Solar Powered Air Conditioning Basics: Costs & What You Need to Know

Solar panels can generate large amounts of electricity during the year. For example, a 10-kilowatt system produces well over 15,000 kWh per year with favorable sunlight conditions.

Solar-powered AC unit on a residential metal roof

Since central air conditioners have the highest energy consumption in most homes and commercial buildings, it makes sense to ask the question: “Can my air conditioner run with solar power?” The short answer is yes, but there are some technical details to consider.

First, we must keep in mind that solar panels have a variable output that depends on sunlight. They are most productive around noon, but their output is lower in the early morning and late afternoon when there is less sunlight. Solar panels also become much less productive with cloudy weather, and their output drops to zero at night.

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How Solar Panels Can Be a Good Investment, Even with Modest Sunshine

There is a common but wrong idea that solar panels are only effective in places with a lot of sunshine. The reality is that home solar panels are being used successfully in less sunny regions like the US Northeast and Pacific Northwest.

You can also find examples in other parts of the world: Netherlands and other nations have more than 600 watts of solar capacity per person, according to a recent report by SolarPower Europe (PDF). Those nations have relatively low sunshine.

Abundant sunlight makes solar panels more productive, which means they produce more kilowatt-hours per year. But, you also need to consider local electricity prices, since they determine the dollar value of those kilowatt-hours!

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