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 Panels in New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, affectionately referred to as “The Big Easy” is known for its music, authentic cuisine, and lively festivals. With a population well over 300,000, the people of New Orleans are starting to feel the negative impact of the 10 percent increase in temperature due to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In 2012, the state of Louisiana experienced the 12th warmest May on record since 1895. The temperature has been slowing creeping up ever since. With those hot New Orleans summers, home energy costs are creeping up as well.
The average monthly residential electricity bill for the state of Louisiana is around $105, which ranks 26th in the nation, coming close to the national average of $107 per month. Residential electricity prices in New Orleans average approximately $9.82 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). The creeping climate and home electricity bills are turning more and more New Orleans towards more eco-friendly, energy-efficient alternatives.
Given that most of the state gets more than 5 kWh of sunlight per square meter on a daily bases, solar energy is an eco-friendly, budget-friendly, energy alternative available to Louisiana. The recognition of solar technology has created a movement, and with the price of solar technology at an all time low and numerous federal and state incentives encouraging homeowners to adopt solar, now is the time to make the switch, go green, and save money.
How Will Solar Technology Provide Significant Savings?
You can use a solar calculator which estimates the cost of switching to solar energy. By entering your specific home energy information, you can receive an estimate of your potential saving including: how much solar energy potentially is available on your roof, how much you can save on your electricity bill, and how much the solar energy system may cost you. The exact cost of your solar energy system will depend on the size of your home, the type of solar installation you choose (solar panels, solar shingles, etc.), and any applicable rebates or utility incentives available in your area.
Based on an average electric rate, calculations suggest that customer home energy savings from a typical 4 kW residential solar system in the New Orleans area might be in the neighborhood of $35 to $55 a month. Actual customer energy savings could be higher or lower depending on a number of variables, including weather, panel type, and panel installation.
Does Louisiana Offer Solar Rebates and Incentives?
After the devastation of Katrina almost a decade ago, Louisiana committed to rebuilding the state in a more eco-friendly way. With this commitment, the state has heavily supported pro-solar policies which offer significant incentives to residences and businesses. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill reinforced Louisiana’s commitment to going green and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The pro-solar incentives have increased in the last five years. In addition to the 30% federal tax credit for adopting solar, here are some text credits, rebates, and financial incentives available:
Tax Credit Solar and Wind: The state of Louisiana offers a text credit policy of up to $12,500 for residents that install a photovoltaic (PV) solar system or wind turbine system. The policy states a residence or residential building (such as an apartment complex) can claim the credit. The tax credit for the system can only be claimed once by the person or entity that purchased the system. So if a property with a PV or other system installed is sold, the entity or person that installed the system must disclose if they received the tax credit. A subsequent owner would not be eligible for the credit related to the system.
To be eligible, the credit must be claimed in the year the system was installed. The credit applies to all PV system types, regardless of being grid-tied and net metered or attached to a battery backup. Similarly, it applies to wind turbines that produce electricity and also mechanical wind turbines. Solar thermal systems must be used to heat water or provide solar heating or cooling. Note: Though applicants may apply for the federal credit for renewable energy, if they opt for this state credit, they may not combine it with any other state tax incentive.
Home Energy Loan Program: The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is a five-year low-interest rate loan for residents of Louisiana who improve the energy efficiency of their home. The loan program will subsidize up to $6,000 for energy efficient home improvements. However, each participating lender determines the maximum amount it will loan and the interest rate charged. To qualify for HELP, homeowners choose from a list of pre-approved energy improvements, or have an energy rating performance on the home by a Home Energy Rebate Option (HERO) energy rater. The good news is all recommendations of the energy rating are eligible for financing under this program and the cost of the energy rating may be financed as part of the loan.
Louisiana Net Metering: Net Metering is a bill mechanism by a utility company that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity that their solar power system adds to the grid. It allows customers who connect approved, renewable generation systems to buy and sell electricity. Residential and commercial photovoltaic systems are eligible for this net metering program. The program applies to photovoltaic residential systems up to 25kW and commercial systems up to 300kW in size.
Consumers apply for net metering through their local utility. The net excess generation (NEG) in a month period is credited to the customer’s next bill for an indefinite time period. If the customer were to cancel the utility service, the final month that they customer has service, they are paid any overall NEG at the utility’s avoided cost rate.
How Do I Get Started Installing Solar in New Orleans?
A typical residential solar power system involves installing solar panels on the roof of your home, though ground mounting is available, too. There are numerous qualified solar system installers in the New Orleans area available to assist you in this process and answer your questions. To ensure the safety of the system, you should first work with a qualified installer to have the design approved. The system must be inspected by and receive permits from the City of New Orleans. It is best to start the application process at least 90 days before you intend to connect a system. You can contact the City of New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits at:
Jared E. Munster, Director
1300 Perdido Street, 7th Floor
New Orleans, LA 70112
How Does the Solar Technology Work?
Similar to how a plant’s leaves capture sunlight and turn it into food, solar panels work by capturing particles of light (called photons) and turn it into energy. It does this by knocking electrons free from atoms generating a flow of electricity. So similar to the cell of a plant, solar panels have photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic simply means these cells convert sunlight into electricity. The panel consists of many photovoltaic cells linked together.
The process of capturing sunlight and knocking its electrons free turns it into DC power. DC power is then channeled into an inverter in the home which convert it into AC current–used by home appliances, lights, and anything plugged into your outlets. The solar panels generate power whenever sunlight is present. The sunnier, the better your system is going to function. Surprisingly enough, even in partly sunny conditions your solar system’s productivity is estimated to only diminish by 5 to 10 percent. That is a minimal reduction in performance, compared to the overall savings.