Recently, the #New Orleans City Council took initial steps toward formulating a “community #solar” program in the city, designed to make #solar panels available to persons who otherwise wouldn’t normally be able to afford them, such as low-income residents and renters.
If you’ve ever been to this part of the country, then you might associate #New Orleans with Jackson Square, the French Quarter, beignets and swamp boat rides. But have you ever connected New Orleans with solar power and clean #energy? Now, you should.
Victory for Solar Energy Supporters
Advocates of solar and clean energy are feeling victorious as the council made the decision to start coming up with rules and guidelines for their community solar program. How does it work? Essentially, the solar program will let residents “subscribe” to some of the power produced by solar panels which are placed on unused land and warehouse roofs. In exchange, residents will receive credits on energy bills. The goal is to have a final set of rules put into place by the end of 2018.
Putting Power Back into the Hands of Customers — Solar Power, That Is
Residents will have the ability to monitor their electricity use, thereby giving them the potential to reduce it. The council has approved the installation of five megawatts of the intended 100 megawatts of solar capacity on rooftops throughout the city.
Overall, groups focused on environmental efforts and clean energy like solar power have been happy with the moves being made in New Orleans, but they do think movement toward solar and renewable energy options should be more aggressive. They don’t believe five megawatts is enough when the end-goal is to have 100.
Numerous small steps have been taken over the years by the council which are aimed at promoting solar and renewable energy and lowering electricity usage. For example, rebates have been offered to customers who install appliances designed to save energy, in addition to a net energy metering program which allows property owners who set up solar panels on their roofs to earn credits on their bills for power created.
Where Will The Solar Panels Go?
Solar panels are going to be placed on capped landfills, rooftops and vacant land and they could be produced by local solar providers or possibly #Entergy (Entergy New Orleans, LLC is a major provider in New Orleans, and the company recognizes that more and more customers are interested in installing solar panels at home and at work). Customers would have the option of buying or leasing the solar panels.
Low-income residents would not be subjected to a certain amount, but others would have to subscribe to a minimum of one kilowatt of each solar project’s capability of two megawatts. In exchange for the solar subscriptions, customers would earn a credit on their electric bill. Should the solar panels produce enough energy to earn excess credits, credits could be rolled over.
Entergy has a plan to set up five megawatts of rooftop solar generation and this plan was signed off on by the council. This solar project will cost just under $15 million.
Entergy will join the new panels to its supply system and lease rooftops from partaking customers, compensating them with a rental fee. This project will let Entergy gather data on the impact that solar power has on its grid.
The council also sanctioned Entergy’s plan to replace all power meters with “smart meters” within the next two years.
Entergy spokeswoman Charlotte Cavell stated that the meters will offer real-time statistics on electric usage via the company’s website.
Making solar panels available to low-income households is important and beneficial. Follow solar news to learn about the latest achievements in the world of solar and renewable energy. Making solar power more accessible to everyone, regardless of income level, will surely benefit the community, the country and the planet. New Orleans is taking a step in the right direction!