How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Louisiana
Laissez les bons temps rouler, indeed! With solar power coming to Louisiana in a big way, the future has never looked brighter for residents of the Bayou State. Louisiana’s southern coordinates and intense sun make panels highly productive here—and with several cushy incentives, purchasing solar equipment is a lot more affordable than you’d think. In fact, the state has quite a few programs in place to mitigate the costs of residential solar. If you’re thinking of setting up a photovoltaic system in your Louisiana home, or just wondering how to save on a solar water heater, this guide lays out the basics for you, to get things “rolling” more quickly than ever.
Louisiana’s Solar Productivity
Long sunny summer days add productivity to Louisiana skies—like many other southern states, Louisiana receives enough sunlight to generate 5.5 to 6 full kilowatt hours of electricity per day, on average. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the state has a UV index of .90, which is high—by comparison, Nevada, the state with the highest index, has an average of 1.19. That’s good news if you live in the area and are thinking about supplementing your current fuel source with energy from solar panels—the high amount of sunshine in your state means your array will be more productive than in other parts of the country.
Popularity of Solar in Louisiana
Despite the state’s long history with oil refining, Louisiana residents are a lot more pro-solar power than you might initially think. In fact, in 2015, Louisiana households installed a total 32 megawatts of solar capacity, placing them 18th in the nation that year in terms of solar power growth. That was added to an existing 60 megawatts of power already in use throughout the state. Much like the rest of the US, households in the Bayou State have benefitted from a drop in solar panel prices, which has made installation much more affordable and accessible for the average homeowner. Those rising installation numbers are a trend you can expect to continue, as solar panels become more ubiquitous. However, those looking to take advantage of the maximum tax incentives should invest in their solar panels sooner, rather than later. Incentives may be fewer and farther between as solar grows in popularity.
Average Louisiana Residential Electricity Use and Cost
Louisiana residents aren’t wasteful when it comes to energy use—households here consumed around 31,000 million kilowatt hours in 2014, putting them on the lower side of purchased electricity in the US. Meanwhile, residents here also get a good deal on the electricity they do buy—at an average 8.9 cents per kilowatt, electricity prices in Louisiana are the sixth cheapest in the nation.
Considering that information, it would be easy to assume that households located in the Bayou State wouldn’t be able to benefit from a solar installation; however, that attitude fails to take into account general energy trends—the price of nonrenewable fuels is set to rise, meaning that Louisianans who invest in solar power early on stand to reap the greatest financial rewards.
Installing Solar in Louisiana
There are just a few solar installers located in the state, mostly based out of urban areas like New Orleans, Shreveport, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Additionally, you’ll need to opt for a local company to perform your installation, as larger national companies like Sungevity and Solar City do not operate in the area. That can make some alternative purchasing strategies, like solar leases, harder to come by. However, it means you’ll reap the full benefit of any excess credits your new system generates, as typically, these larger companies assume those credits and incentives as part of a lease.
Louisiana State Solar Support
Most people are surprised when they learn about all the programs Louisiana has in place to support residents hoping to purchase and install solar power on their property—after all, this is a place where oil rules, and many residents are supported by jobs in the oil industry. However, high AC costs have driven the state to consider renewable energy as an alternative power source, and the huge solar potential of this state makes photovoltaics one of the most attractive clean energy options. Indeed, as an area so dependent upon the whims of nature, reducing the effects of climate change is paramount for Louisiana—as rising tides and an increase in storms are likely to be some of the first effects. Perhaps that is not exactly what is driving the increase in incentives in this area, but it is definitely a good reason for residents to investigate 100 percent clean power options in their homes, and the state legislature definitely makes it affordable to do.
Louisiana State Solar Incentives
Louisiana solar power may not take up the hefty market share of some states; however, the state legislature has enacted many cost-mitigating programs that help make solar power more affordable and painless.
Solar Energy System Property Tax Exemption: Installing solar equipment throughout your home has been shown to increase property values. In Louisiana, households that opt to install solar heating and cooling in residential swimming pools are exempt from paying any additional property taxes on that equipment.
Net Metering: All investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives in the state of Louisiana must offer net metering, a popular incentive that meters solar-powered homes’ energy consumption against the electricity they return to the grid. Excess power is returned to the customer as a credit. Those excess credits can be rolled over on a customer’s utility bill indefinitely. There is one catch, however: once a single utility’s net metering purchases exceed 0.5 percent of its peak retail load, then the provider is no longer required to offer net metering to customers.
Home Energy Loan Program: The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources offers residents of the state a five-year $6,000 loan to purchase energy efficiency equipment, including PV systems. The program also offers a very low interest rate on loans, with a maximum rate of two percent. To learn more about the program, visit the HELP program homepage.
Personal Tax Credit for Solar Systems on Residential Properties: For solar power systems installed after July 1, 2015, the Louisiana state government offers a tax credit worth either $2 per watt, 50 percent of the cost of purchase and installation, or $10,000– whichever amount is lowest.
Additionally, Louisianans with solar installations on their property are also eligible for a national tax incentive as well, known as the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. This program returns taxpayers a generous 30 percent of the cost of a new solar power system. To qualify, complete IRS form 5695 when you file your income taxes.
Louisiana Local Solar Incentives
The city of New Orleans is nothing if not unique, and likewise, it has some specific incentives of its own for residents adopting solar power on their rooftops. Here are the details:
- City of New Orleans Net Metering: Residents served by NOLA’s Energy must conform to the utility’s specific guidelines in order to qualify for net metering, which dictate that qualifying systems must be sized at least 25 kilowatts of rated capacity. The utility returns excess credits indefinitely at the retail rate for electricity.