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 Mississippi
Mississippi may be a dark horse in terms of solar adoption. With low installation numbers, this state hasn’t yet taken advantage of its plentiful sun hours which could potentially make panels in this area very productive as well as have lower reliance on nonrenewable energy sources.
However, don’t count this state out of the fight yet! With exceptional growth, Mississippi’s solar power industry grew over 50 percent in 2014, according to industry estimates. Meanwhile, several key utility-scale installations have popped up in the past year, meaning you can expect more options for purchasing clean power in this area soon, no matter whether you decide to purchase your own solar panels or not. However, if you do elect to buy solar equipment for your own house, you can expect to save a lot on your energy bills by generating your own power. This guide will cover what you need to know about solar power in your area and to get you installing sooner than ever.
Mississippi’s Solar Productivity
There’s a reason the south is known for it’s sweet tea—with long summer days, residents here will do anything to stay cool throughout the warmer months. However, while that heat might not be great for your iced tea, it’s idea for solar production. Mississippi is ranked tenth in the nation by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for solar productivity, coming in with a heft 0.92 ranking on the U.V. index (by comparison, Nevada, the state with the highest U.V. index is ranked at 1.19, and Washington, the state with the lowest, comes in at 0.62). In fact, NREL estimates that solar installations here can generate around 5 to 5.5 kilowatt hours of energy a day, on average. That makes Mississippi skies ripe for solar power, and promises a hefty savings on your utility bills when you switch to solar in your home.
Popularity of Solar in Mississippi
With just over 90 megawatts of solar capacity installed as of 2015, Mississippi ranks around 48th in the nation for solar power, according to industry estimates. However, that number represents a huge surge in installations—in 2014 alone there was a 77 percent increase in residential solar power. Those numbers mean that Mississippi will be a part of the growth in the solar power industry that’s set to take the entire U.S. by storm over the next few years, so you can expect massive growth in this sector in the near future.
Average Residential Electricity Use and Cost
Mississippi’s close proximity to the oil business keeps electricity costs low in the area—residents here pay a mere 10.3 cents per kilowatt on average, compared to the national rate of 12 cents per kilowatt. Meanwhile, Mississippians are also fairly thrifty with their energy use. In 2014, the U.S. Energy Information Association’s data showed that this state consumed around 19,000 million kilowatt hours of electricity, as a whole. That sounds like a lot, but not when you consider that neighbors Alabama and Louisiana used over 10,000 million more kilowatt hours. Still, with an average high of 92 degrees throughout July and August, households here could definitely stand to save a little bit on their cooling costs. What smarter way to do it with solar power, which is at its height during this time?
Installing Solar in Mississippi
As you might imagine, due to the lower incentives available for solar households in this state, there are few solar installers operating throughout Mississippi—industry estimates place the number of qualified contractors installing solar power in the state at around just 15 companies. Most of these installers are working out of Jackson or in the Gulf areas near Gulfport and Biloxi. Additionally, larger national installation companies like SolarCity are not in operation here, which can make it slightly more difficult to access alternative purchasing strategies like solar leases.
Mississippi State Solar Support
Although solar incentives are few and far between in Mississippi, that attitude towards is changing—in fact, recently in Jackson, energy provider Entergy has been testing a new solar installation that could potentially power over 175 homes, adding to the dozen or so utility-scale arrays scattered throughout the state. Meanwhile, another, larger solar installation also broke ground in 2016 in Lamar County, with enough solar panels to generate 52 megawatts of solar energy which will potentially power around 8,000 homes.
While both installations are managed by public utilities, they were created with support from the Mississippi Public Utilities Council, demonstrating a shift in public policy towards embracing solar in the Mississippi’s future. That means you can expect a wider range of incentives to be available in this state soon. Meanwhile, the plummeting price of solar panels should makes solar more affordable than ever.
Mississippi State Solar Incentives
Unfortunately, Mississippi’s state incentives are not exactly what you’d call bountiful. Most solar initiatives passed by the state legislature apply to the commercial, nonprofit, and government buildings in the area, not local residents. However, there is one incentive that will help you mitigate the costs of a new solar system:
Net Metering: Mississippi’s net metering policy is not like the legislation in place in most of the rest of the U.S. Instead of crediting solar households for the excess energy they generated and return to the grid at a 1:1 ratio, in Mississippi it is credited at a rate worth the utility’s wholesale avoided cost rate plus an additional 2.5c/kWh premium, which amounts to less than the retail rate. That means homeowners here stand to save less for their excess power than they might in other states. However, the savings from solar energy used within the home is still significant.
However, there is a federal incentive all solar households in Mississippi can apply for, as well—and it’s quite generous. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit offers a rebate worth up to 30 percent of the cost of solar energy systems. To qualify, the system must generate over half of the home’s energy demand. To apply for the rebate, be sure to complete form 5695 when you file your income taxes.
Mississippi Local Solar Incentives
There are a few solar programs managed through local utilities that will help you support the proliferation of PV power throughout your state.
TVA Green Power Switch Program: While this program from the Tennessee Valley Authority electric company does not reward solar households directly, it does allow you to support renewable energy by purchasing $4 power blocks, worth 150 kilowatts of clean power each, along with your utility bills. It’s a great option if you want to purchase solar power from utilities, but aren’t able to find the funds for solar panels on your home.
TVA Green Power Providers Program: This program rewards residential solar providers by purchasing solar energy for 20 years, at the retail rate, which is above the standard rate in Mississippi. That makes it a great option for residents here who want to earn money back for installing solar.