The Cost of a New Orleans Residential Solar Installation

Pat J. Fraley

Regulators OK new solar panel rules that change electricity price; some  call it a death knell to industry | State Politics | theadvocate.com

The United States Department of Energy designated New Orleans as a Solar America City on June 20, 2007.  The first solar and largest installation at a local school was at Warren Easton Senior High School with a 28 kW of thin-film photovoltaics.

New Orleans residential solar installation has gained numerous benefits from the state including providing significant tax incentives for residential renewable energy systems and allowing the transfer of these tax credits to third parties creating renewable energy financing districts.

These enacting acts on renewable energy systems have provided options for lowering the high up-front costs in purchasing such a system.  New Orleans even launched a solar map to help homeowners determine the environmental and financial benefits of a residential solar system.

The Solar Panel System

The installation of a New Orleans residential solar panel system can greatly reduce or even eliminate dependence on the community grid to supply electricity to light, heat, cool, and operate appliances and equipment in your home.

This system is often called PV or photovoltaic or grid-tied solar power system that uses clean and renewable energy from the sun.  They are grid-tied because they are connected to the power grid only as backup power.  There are also off-grid systems available for remote areas where there is limited or no access to power from the grid.

    Residential Solar Power System Components

  • Solar panels

Panels are the key elements of your home solar power system.  The two main types of solar panels most suitable for homes are monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.  The former is more expensive but slightly more efficient.

How many solar panels do you need and how should you place them on your roof?  These are factors you should consider:

  • Your energy requirements
  • Usable roof surface area
  • Climate
  • Peak sunlight in your location
  • Efficiency rating of the solar panels
  • Whether net metering is available (selling back power to the grid for credits)

Consult a professional installer who can help you calculate the number of solar panels for the most cost-effective system.

  • Solar Inverter

Inverters convert the direct current produced by your solar panels into the alternating current that you need to power your home.  There are three types of inverters:

  • String or centralized inverters are the least expensive but can be inefficient.
  • Microinverters are more expensive and are attached to each solar panel allowing smooth operations even when some panels are shaded.
  • Power optimizers that are installed in each panel, optimizing the DC output.

  • Solar Rack

You can use solar racks to mount your panels.  They are attached to your roof system and angled at a certain degree to maximize panel exposure to the sun.

  • Monitoring System

A solar panel system includes a monitoring system that will show you the following figures:

  • How much electricity is being generated per hour, per day, or per year
  • Potential Performance changes

  • Solar Batteries

Solar batteries allow your system to operate when power from the grid is not available.  They function as a storage of energy that you can use for later.

The Cost of Solar Installation in New Orleans

There is not one perfect solar system installation for all roof systems and residential applications.  There are certain variables that have to be considered to determine the perfect system.

The common metrics used in comparing prices of different installers include:

  • Cost per watt
  • Estimated cost per watt
  • Warranty period

Here are solar power facts for New Orleans:

  • The average cost for a 5 kW solar power system: $2.78 watt
  • Average payback time:  8 years and 4 months
  • Average lifetime savings:  $54,342
  • Levelized cost of solar energy:  6 cents kWh
  • Cost of electricity from the grid:  28 cents kWh
  • Annual power production:  11, 538 kWh
  • Solar panel cost:
  • $2.78 per watt for cash purchased solar system before 26% solar credit,
  • $3.06 per watt for a financed solar system before 26% solar tax credit,
  • $0.0 cents/kWh for lease/PPA (Average 15 year term, 2.5% price escalator)

  • Solar installation cost ranges from $12,368 to $16,732
  • Average gross price for residential solar installation:  $14,550  (NOTE:  this amount can fall by thousands of dollars after accounting for the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit and other state and local solar incentives)

Professional Solar Panel Installation

Experience great savings in your energy consumption with New Orleans residential solar installation professionals.  Make the change to clean and efficient solar energy that will give you all the benefits of reliable, natural power.

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