Imagine you’ve just returned home from work. It’s 6pm and you’ve barely put your things down when you see a stack of bills on the table. Now, imagine opening your electric bill to a fiscal credit for last month. Isn’t it about time you get reimbursed for saving energy?
Solar energy systems can save you thousands of dollars while reducing fossil fuel dependence and battling greenhouse gas emissions. Think of what you could do with a few extra grand in the bank. One of the most satisfying aspects of solar systems is that you will be able to notice the fiscal benefits every month as your solar panels convert the sun’s rays into usable home energy. The remaining unused energy is then saved and returned to you as a credit. Obtaining your energy from a clean and natural source reduces greenhouse gas emissions which is a main contributor to climate change. Investing in a solar panel system will save you money and better prepare our future generations.
Our team thoroughly reviewed the pros and cons of investing in a solar panel system in the New Orleans area by finding the two best solar installers, evaluating each one’s customer service, and investigating the area’s harvestable sunlight. We also researched the policies and incentives available in your area so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Freshome’s Top Solar Panel Installers in New Orleans
Our team reviewed the top solar panel installers in the greater New Orleans area and outlined the specific information as it applies to your location. We compared the technical aspects of the solar panel equipment, overall affordability, the usability and professionalism of the company’s website, and personally experienced the customer service by conversing with employees both on the phone and via email.
We did the homework so all you have to do is provide your home details to receive and compare quotes and decide whether you think it fitting to invest in a solar panel system for your home. If you do decide that the benefits are worth it, we suggest contacting the companies provided and referring to Freshome’s guide for further guidance in choosing your system.
With more than 20 years in the home building industry, SUNPRO and its employees focus their efforts on residential solar systems. The Louisiana-based business strives to offer affordable solar systems for their neighbors. SUNPRO is very environmentally conscious; part of SUNPROs mission is to “generate a happy and healthy earth for future generations”.
SUNPRO receives their solar panels and inverters from a supplier and then performs the installation. It’s a licensed retailer of LG and SolarWorld. Solar panels are available in the color black with either a 265 or 280 max wattage. According to a customer service rep, the efficiency is dependent on “shade and location”. The turnaround time for residential solar panel installations is a few weeks after obtaining a permit to begin installation. Obtaining a permit is estimated to take a week or so.
The company prides itself on an Ironclad Warranty in which high merit merchandise is backed up with a 5-star warranty for both the appliances and labor. While many solar system companies offer a standard 25 year manufacturer’s warranty, not many offer a warranty on labor which is often the bulk of the expense. SUNPRO includes a 10 year labor warranty on all installations. Plus, their customer service staff will make the arrangements to replace any damaged parts so you never have to worry about bringing your equipment back to the store.
SUNPRO also offers equipment from trusted brands that exceed Freshome’s max wattage and efficiency criteria. Experience with customer service was positive but keep in mind your specific questions as there are multiple departments and you probably don’t want to waste time being transferred again and again. Overall SUNPRO is a sound choice for local solar system installations that boasts an A+ rating from the BBB.
South Coast Solar
South Coast Solar has been serving the Southern Louisiana area for over nine years. In addition to residential solar systems, the local business offers LED lighting solutions, solar thermal, and other energy efficient appliances. South Coast Solar receives its panels from suppliers including LG and Sunpower (both approved by Freshomes). A variety of black-shaded solar panels are offered for residential purposes. The max wattages range from 260 to 340 with a high efficiency of 20.4 percent — which is well beyond our recommended standard.
After South Coast Solar receives a permit, the actual home installation only takes about one or two days to complete. This quick installation will provide you with great savings on labor. Like SUNPRO, South Coast Solar also offers a 10 year labor and installation warranty in addition to a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty.
The customer service is friendly and informative. Our team found missed calls to be quickly returned and questions answered by sales reps who were not the least bit pushy. As far as we’re concerned, South Coast Solar definitely earned its A+ BBB rating.
Finding the best solar panels in New Orleans
An additional perk to installing solar panels is that they increase the value of your home — as long as you choose the right panels, that is. If you are going to make the investment to switch to solar energy, we strongly urge you to purchase high quality panels. And the best way to do that is to consider the warranty, efficiency, and wattage of a panel.
The standard 25 year product warranty often steers people in the direction of cheaper solar panels. Unfortunately, most warranties won’t outlive your house and you’re going to want your panels to continue performing at their best. To help you determine the proficiency of a solar panel, we set the standards at a minimum efficiency of 16.5 and minimum max wattage of 230 watts
Make sure to ask your installer about the specific panels you’re purchasing. Here are Freshome’s top recommending brands. We encourage you to ask your installer if they offer panels from these companies as well.
Solar Power in New Orleans
Louisiana’s Solar Policies and Incentives
This past July, an amendment was created that capped the Louisiana tax credit that once covered up to 50 percent of the first $25,000 spent on solar panel installations. Up until July 2015, homeowners were allowed to combine this state tax credit with the 30 percent federal solar tax credit.
The change in state solar tax credit negatively impacted the steady installation of residential solar panel systems in the state of Louisiana. Since Louisiana’s tax incentives are currently so unstable and future incentives are still unclear.
The majority of states have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring utilities to receive a minimum percentage of electricity from a renewable source. Louisiana is one of the few states that does not have an RPS. With no enforced RPS, utility companies in New Orleans have even less reason to enforce renewable energy systems.
What to Expect
So, why don’t all homes include solar panel systems? You may have noticed that solar panels are more common in some regions than others. Local tax incentives, rebates, and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) differ by state and can greatly influence the cost and benefits of solar systems.
Since Louisiana’s tax incentives are currently so unstable and future incentives are still unclear, now might not be the most affordable time to purchase a solar panel system for your home.
Electricity costs in New Orleans aren’t very high as it is, but the strong Louisiana rays definitely allow for a profitable solar panel system. You will likely notice there are few local solar panel businesses still installing residential systems. This is because of the recent tax cuts. While there may not be many businesses offering residential services near you, the ones that remain have tremendous experience installing solar panels in your area.
Even though the savings for installations aren’t as impressive as they once were, homeowners are still able to reduce their electricity costs by switching to solar panel systems.
New Orleans currently receives approximately 1,825 harvestable kWh per year, which is pretty good compared to the rest of the nation. However, the average residential price per kWh in New Orleans is 10 cents, which is . Here are some examples of how much money’s worth of power you could produce in a year in New Orleans.
How do solar panels work?
The process for turning the hot Louisiana rays into electricity is actually quite simple, and goes something like this.
- Photovoltaic (solar) panels receive the sun’s rays
- The panels create DC power to send to the inverter
- The inverter then converts the DC power to AC power which your home can then use
- The AC power is dispersed to the main meter panel
- The main meter receives the AC power and is generated by the solar system
- Any excess energy is returned to your service crediting you monetarily
Leasing vs Purchasing a Solar Panel System
Leasing solar panels for your home is a bright option as you will not be faced with any out of pocket costs and your electric bill will decrease immediately. Lucky for you, leasing is a viable option in New Orleans. As of now, a leased 5-kW solar panel system will cost about $624 a year which is just about as much as your solar panels will create. This means you have the potential to break even after the first year of your $0 down payment investment. After that, you can sit back and watch as you begin saving more and more money during the following years. Leasing your solar system is an incredibly feasible option for great electric savings, but if you are capable of purchasing a solar panel system, you will be provided with even more considerable monetary benefits in the long run.
What is the difference between on the grid and off the grid? (net metering vs. batteries)
For decades, most solar energy systems utilize a utility grid instead of batteries. The grid and net metering allow excess energy to be stored. This abundance of energy results in greater savings. As grid solar energy systems became more popular, the on grid installation became more efficient and equipment costs decreased by almost 75 percent in the last 10 years.
Although dates, batteries or off the grid solar energy systems are still effective and used by many homeowners today. Most battery powered solar systems require a special class of battery referred to as deep cycle batteries. This special type of battery is more durable allowing it to withstand constant discharge and re-charging. The energy, density, and calendar life are also explicitly laid out; however, battery life is limited in proportion to how much energy it can store.
If you are thinking of purchasing a battery powered solar panel system, make sure to ask your installer about any temperature related factors as some batteries may not be able to handle the New Orleans’ heat.
Will my solar panels get damaged during a storm?
Solar panels are pretty durable, the average home solar panel is approximately 3 by 5 feet with 3.2mm thick tempered solar glass. This glass can withstand rain, hail, and high winds. We know coastal storms can be a bit more damaging so it may behoove you to phone your homeowners insurance and determine whether or not your solar panels are covered by your insurance provider.
How do solar panels benefit the environment?
Solar panels convert the pure energy from the sun to energy your home can utilize. Solar panel systems are renewable unlike standard electricity which is created from burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. These harmful fuels are burned to produce energy and in doing so emit toxic gases which are the main contributors to pollution and climate change.
The standard solar power system compensates for 178 tons of carbon dioxide throughout a 30 year time span. These savings compare to planting 10 football fields with trees. Solar systems provide incredible environmental benefits for a more sustainable future.
Adopting a solar panel system for your home can be a financially rewarding investment. Due to state tax credits being recently cut, there are fewer monetary incentives for purchasing a solar panel system for your home in The Big Easy. Future tax incentives are still unclear so unless you are content with paying nearly full price for a solar system up front, we suggest either leasing a solar panel system or waiting to see what future Louisiana tax credits you can apply to the existing federal credits for a better priced system.
We encourage you to chat with our recommended solar panel installers to determine and compare quotes. The state credit incentives may not be there for immediate investment, but the environmental benefits and future rewards absolutely are.