Hi there! With sunny skies and rising utility rates, Louisiana is a great state to go solar. In this guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about installing solar panels in Louisiana. You‘ll learn all about costs, savings, rebates, payback timelines, and more. My goal is to provide the most up-to-date details to help you make the smartest decision for your home. Let‘s dive in!
What Does a Solar Panel System Cost in Louisiana?
Solar panel costs have dropped significantly over the last decade, making them more affordable than ever for Louisiana homeowners. Today, the average solar installation in Louisiana costs around $2.38 per watt.
For a typical 6 kilowatt (6,000 watt) residential system, that puts the total pre-incentive price at roughly $14,280. Compared to the national average solar cost of over $3 per watt, equipment and installation is very economical here in the Pelican State.
However, due to our hot climate and widespread air conditioning use, Louisiana homes require larger than average solar arrays. Many homeowners need 7-8 kW systems or more to fully offset their high electricity consumption. At $2.38/watt, an 8 kW solar array would run you around $19,040 before any rebates or tax credits.
Below I‘ve outlined a few of the major reasons why solar panel costs are so low in Louisiana.
With average solar radiation levels of 4.5-5.5 kWh/m2/day across Louisiana, our plentiful sunshine allows solar panels to generate a lot of electricity. This means you need fewer panels to meet your home‘s energy demands compared to less sunny areas of the country.
Low Labor Costs
Wages in the construction and renewable energy industries are lower here than in many states. This directly translates into reduced labor costs for solar installations.
Minimal Permitting Fees
Solar permitting fees in major cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge cost just a few hundred dollars. Simple permitting like this helps keep total costs down.
Summary of Solar Panel Costs in Louisiana
- Typical system cost: $2.38 per watt
- 6 kW system price: $14,280
- Larger 8 kW system price: $19,040
- Among the lowest solar costs in the U.S.
- High electricity use requires bigger, more expensive systems
Now that you know the basic cost to go solar in Louisiana, let‘s look at some of the factors that can impact the final price.
Main Factors That Influence Solar Panel Costs
While $2.38 per watt is the statewide average, actual solar installation costs can vary quite a bit depending on your specific situation:
Sunlight and Location
Cities like Alexandria average only 4.3 peak sun hours per day. But areas near Texas can see up to 5.5 daily sun hours. More sunshine means your panels will generate more electricity, allowing you to potentially purchase a smaller, less expensive system.
Roof Type and Condition
Solar arrays can be installed on asphalt, metal, tile, and flat roof types. But if your roof needs major repairs or a full re-roof, that added cost can significantly drive up your total project price.
Larger homes that consume more electricity need bigger solar systems, which are naturally more expensive. And upgrading to premium panels or microinverters rather than standard equipment adds cost as well.
Rates between local solar companies may vary by thousands of dollars for the same system size. It pays to get multiple quotes and ask installers about potential cost reductions.
Permitting and Grid Fees
While utility connection/permitting fees are minimal in cities, some rural electric co-ops have pricey grid interconnection costs of $1,000+.
As you can see, there are quite a few variables that can affect the final price you‘ll pay for solar panels in Louisiana. But having a good understanding of these cost factors will help you budget accurately. Next let‘s review a few of the top solar installers in the state.
Finding the Best Louisiana Solar Installers
With over 35 active solar companies in Louisiana, you have lots of installer options. But these providers differ widely in their experience, services, equipment quality, and pricing. Below I‘ve highlighted two of the top Louisiana solar installers known for providing quality installations at competitive rates:
- 16 years in business, located in New Orleans
- All Louisiana licensed and insured technicians
- Services entire state of Louisiana
- No subcontracting – all in-house project teams
- Top equipment from LG, Panasonic, Silfab Elite
- 25-year workmanship warranty on every installation
South Coast Solar
- 15 years of solar experience focused on Louisiana
- Based in Slidell, serving the New Orleans metro
- Small local team provides customized system designs
- Engineer-certified installers
- Quality equipment including Q Cells, SolarEdge, Enphase
- 25-year power output warranty on all panels
As you can see, both companies have accumulated extensive experience handling Louisiana‘s unique climate and solar needs. Their NABCEP-certified experts, strong equipment warranties, and commitment to quality gives you confidence you‘ll receive a correctly-sized system that maximizes return on your investment.
I recommend getting quotes from several top-rated local solar providers to find the best combination of experience, equipment, and pricing for your project.
How Quickly Do Solar Panels Pay for Themselves in Louisiana?
With high electricity rates here in Louisiana, solar panels can pay for themselves more quickly than in many other parts of the country. The payback period depends mainly on:
- System size
- How much your household consumes
- Available solar incentives
For a 6 kW system costing $14,280 before incentives, here are estimated payback timeframes:
- 8.5 years if offsetting an average $1,686/year utility bill
- 6.2 years after claiming the 26% federal tax credit
- 5 years including net metering bill savings
So you can recoup your initial solar investment in Louisiana in around 5-8 years, faster than most states. And larger systems offsetting more energy use can achieve payback even quicker.
Plus, after your solar panels are paid off, you get 15+ extra years of free electricity generation. That provides even more lifetime savings.
To give you a better idea of actual electricity costs and payback times in Louisiana, check out these statewide stats:
- Average electricity rate: $0.12 per kWh (among highest nationally)
- Average monthly electricity use: 1,201 kWh (also very high)
- Total average annual bill: $1,686
With sky-high power bills here in the Pelican State, investing in solar really pays off over the system‘s 25+ year lifespan.
Federal and State Solar Incentives in Louisiana
While Louisiana currently lacks a renewable portfolio standard or state solar tax credits, there are still some financial incentives you can take advantage of:
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit
This provides a 26% tax credit for installing solar in 2022-2023. For a 6 kW, $14,280 system, that equates to $3,713 in savings. The credit dips to 22% in 2023 and 0% in 2024.
Louisiana has mandatory net metering, giving you bill credits for surplus solar power sent to the grid. This can cut your electric bill 25%+ and speed up payback.
Property Tax Exemption
Some municipalities offer a property tax break on the added home value solar provides. You can save hundreds per year.
USDA REAP Grants
If you live rurally, you may qualify for a 25% USDA REAP grant to cover a quarter of your solar costs. Funds are limited.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
A solar company installs a system on your roof for free, selling you the power at a fixed rate. PPAs eliminate upfront costs but the rates are often higher than regular utilities here.
As you can see, Louisiana lags behind leading solar states in incentives. But the federal tax credit and net metering can still make going solar a smart investment.
And newer options are emerging…
Some Louisiana utilities like Entergy started offering expanded solar rebates in 2022. And pending legislation could establish state tax credits in the future. Ultimately, incentives reduce payback times and improve solar return on investment.
I‘ll be sure to update you if any new Louisiana solar incentives become available!
Are Solar Panels a Good Investment for Louisiana Homes?
For most households in the Pelican State, investing in solar panels is a savvy long-term play that provides major electricity bill savings. Here‘s a quick rundown of the main reasons solar makes sense:
Low Equipment Costs
With solar array pricing averaging just $2.38 per watt – below the U.S. median – going solar is quite affordable right now.
High Electricity Usage & Rates
Louisiana homes use more power and pay higher electric bills than most states, averaging 12¢ per kWh. This provides massive savings potential.
Short Payback Time
Even without strong state incentives, solar can pay for itself in just 5-8 years here while providing decades of nearly free power.
Generating your own solar electricity means freedom from volatile utility pricing and power outages.
Lower Carbon Footprint
Solar is a clean energy source that reduces your home‘s environmental impact.
Added Home Value
Studies show solar can increase a home‘s resale value by nearly $15,000 in Louisiana. That‘s a great return on your investment!
When weighing all of these benefits, it‘s easy to see why solar panels are absolutely worth considering if you live in the Pelican State.
Key Takeaways on Louisiana Solar Panels
If you‘re thinking about installing solar in Louisiana, here are the key facts to remember:
Louisiana enjoys very low solar equipment costs, averaging just $2.38 per watt installed
Due to high energy use, larger (and more expensive) systems are often needed compared to other states
Carefully consider your location, roof, and equipment needs which can impact overall price
Shop multiple top-rated local installers to get the best deal and service
With high electricity rates, solar pays for itself quicker here than most areas
Federal and utility incentives reduce payback time to just 5-8 years
Solar brings decades of bill savings and energy independence
I hope this summary gives you a solid foundation for evaluating whether solar power is the right solution for your Louisiana home! Please don‘t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help explain the ins and outs of going solar in our great state.
Wishing you the sunniest of days!