Solar as a hedge against inflation?

When I bought a Chevy Volt in January the wheels started turning in my brain… what if a solar system on my roof could power my plug-in car?

I’ve been researching residential solar and I’ve learned some cool facts.

5KW (kilowatts) of solar panels will lower your electric bill about $100 per month.

A 5KW system will cost about $15,000, minus the 30% federal tax credit makes the cost of the system about $12,000.

At 4% interest a $12,000 loan for 9 years is about $130 per month, that’s with no money down. You save $100 per month, your cost for a 5KW solar system is $130 per month.

Your NET cost for the system is $30 per month, and after the loan is paid off you GAIN $100 per month.

Since most solar systems last 20 plus years… that’s $30 per month for 9 years = $3,240

BUT… then you get 11 years at $100 SAVINGS = $13,200

Gain             =    $13,200

(minus)

Net Cost      =     $3,240

Total back in your pocket =  $9,960 !  

The numbers skew in your favor if electric rates go up, which they tend to do.

If rates climb your net gain from a 5KW system might be $11,000 to $14,000!

If the panels last longer than 20 years you gain even more, and by the year 2040 there will be better panels to install anyway, you’ll want to upgrade your system.

What about inflation? If energy commodity prices go up (like coal and natural gas) your electric rates will go up as well. Check out this chart:

Oil and Natural gas prices will climb as global demand increases. Your money spent on a solar system now is really a strong hedge against monetary inflation.

When 70 or 80 million consumers start driving electric cars and plug-in hybrids this will also increase the demand for electricity and drive up utility prices even further.

But if your home has solar, and you plug in your vehicles? Fossil Fuel prices won’t matter to you, not that much. Other commodity prices rise with energy, like food and basic services… but you could use the gain from solar to pay off other debts, like your mortgage or credit cards.

I’m going to get a solar system on my roof in the near future, it just makes sense.

Ben Alexander

March . 2017

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