It’s August in Kansas City, and we’ve just experienced the hottest stretch of the summer so far. In fact, heat index records have been broken all over the region — the city proper hit 118 degrees, while Lawrence, Kansas, clocked in at 134 degrees. Meanwhile, people are newly curious about solar panels in Wichita, Kansas, as a major power outage left residents without air conditioning. How do solar panels and extreme heat interact?
Keep reading to learn about how solar panels can provide protection against power outages, particularly during extreme heat events when the grid fails.
Solar Panels as Power Outage Rescuers
As we’ve mentioned, solar panels are more than just a source of clean, renewable energy. They’re more than just a way to save money on your electric bill and increase your home value at the same time.
They’re also powerful tools to help keep you safe during power outages. Traditional electricity, which is dependent on the grid, is vulnerable to disruptions caused by storms, accidents, and infrastructure failures. But solar panels, along with energy storage solutions like batteries, can function independently of the grid, providing uninterrupted power when it’s needed most.
During a power outage, a well-designed solar panel system with battery storage can seamlessly transition into “island mode,” where it operates as a microgrid to power essential appliances and keep critical systems running.
This means that, even in the middle of an outage, you can have access to refrigeration, lighting, communication devices, medical equipment, and air conditioning. This type of self-sufficiency is particularly important during weeks like the one we just had in Kansas City.
Extreme Heat and Power Outages: A Dangerous Duo
Unfortunately, extreme heat events are becoming more common due to climate change and other factors. And while the air conditioning is running, the heat is at most a minor inconvenience — without taking into account the increased electric bill.
But when severe heat waves coincide with power outages, the situation can quickly escalate from inconvenient to life-threatening. High temperatures can lead to various health risks, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke, especially among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, infants, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
The absence of air conditioning, fans, and refrigeration during a power outage can transform homes into stifling environments that amplify the dangers of extreme heat.
On top of that, power outages can lead to disruptions in public services, including emergency response systems, healthcare facilities, and cooling centers. And this can leave communities exposed to even greater risks.
The Efficiency of Solar Panels During Extreme Heat Events
While solar panels don’t operate at their most efficient levels during extreme heat, they’re more than capable of getting the job done.
Integrating solar panels into your energy strategy can help you be prepared for the next heat wave. And on top of that — even if the power doesn’t go out — you can run your air conditioning for as long as you want without worrying about the cost.
This is especially true considering Evergy’s new time-based electric plans that are going into effect in October of this year. Spoiler alert: if you run your A/C during peak times, it’s going to cost you.
By generating your own electricity through solar panels, your solar-powered system can supply critical energy to keep your electric bills low, your living space habitable, your devices charged, and your well-being intact.
To harness the full potential of solar panels for outage protection, consider a few key factors:
Battery Storage: Adding battery storage to your solar panel system enhances its ability to store excess energy generated during the day for use during nighttime or cloudy periods. This means you’ll have a continuous energy supply even when the sun isn’t shining.
Backup Systems: Design your solar system to prioritize essential loads, such as cooling, refrigeration, and medical devices. This ensures that the most important aspects of your daily life remain functional during any power outages.
Professional Installation: Working with experienced solar panel installers — rather than installing DIY solar — ensures that your system is properly designed, installed, and integrated with battery storage. And this can help you maximize its efficiency and effectiveness during outages.
Ready To Protect Yourself From Extreme Heat & High Energy Bills? Let’s Talk
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is a local company made up of KC natives with KC pride — in our city, and in our work. Which means we’ll always give you the best of ourselves.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.