New Orleans is seeing a lot more solar panels these days, thanks to new developments by non-profit organizations aided by federal funding.
The Harmony Neighborhood Development in Central City used to be full of vacant properties and abandoned houses, but over the last few years, thanks in part to the attention Brad Pitt brought to rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward with energy-efficient, affordable housing, there has been a change in the neighborhood. Solar has become a big part of that.
For-profit company Entergy New Orleans now has almost 800 customers in the area that are reducing their energy independence by connecting solar panels on their home to the grid. Homeowners are so excited about the change, they actually look forward to receiving their electric bill–just so they can see how much money they are saving with solar.
“…through Make It Right and our partnerships, we were one of the first entities to be able to install solar panels in Central City,” said Charles Cutno, project manager for the group.
An initiative from Make it Right utilizes tax credits and incentives to bring the cost of solar way down for area residents.
The group says that it would typically cost between $15,000 and $24,000 for a homeowner to go solar in the area. But Make it Right has been able to bring that down to between $3,400 and $6,000 for many people. That is the amount that is then included in the overall construction costs for the home.