Louisiana Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Louisiana solar panels:

  • The typical cost of solar systems in LA
  • How much energy your system is likely to produce in the Pelican State
  • What incentives are available for LA residents installing solar arrays
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How to Get Solar Panels in Louisiana

The first step toward installing solar in LA is to connect with a solar company to request a free quote. The solar quote process usually involves a home inspection, roof measurements and a review of your recent energy bills to gauge monthly consumption. Your system will be designed based on the findings.

If you plan on paying in cash, the design team will provide schematics for your system and begin the permitting process before installing and commissioning the system. If you need to use another financing option, your representative should help you explore solar loans, solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs) as part of the process prior to installation.

Most Louisiana residents find that the solar installation process is an expensive endeavor but one that’s well worth the investment. The typical resident sees energy savings that pay for the system and save an average of $13,646 thereafter.

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What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Louisiana?

Solar modules in LA cost an average of $2.57 per watt to install. This is below the national average. However, most residents in the state need larger-than-average systems to offset high energy consumption, so the overall price to go solar — around $22,500 after the federal tax credit — is above average.

LA property owners pay a lot for their energy, so the savings add up quickly after solar conversion. The average panel payback period is around 14 years two years longer than the U.S. average due to the high total system costs.

For more cost information or to learn about factors that have an impact on your pricing, you can check out our guide to Louisiana solar costs.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Louisiana

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Louisiana ranks 38th in the country in terms of solar adoption.1 Despite the low rank, the local solar industry is still quite strong, and property owners have their pick of equipment from plenty of solar panel manufacturers.

Since LA gets lots of sunlight, high-efficiency modules aren’t absolutely necessary. However, most residents choose best-in-class equipment to help offset the massive monthly electric bills.

Below are some of the brands found most often on home solar systems in LA:

  • SunPower
  • Tesla
  • REC
  • Trina Solar
  • Mission Solar
  • Panasonic
  • LG (soon to be discontinued)
  • Solar Edge
  • Qcells

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Is Louisiana a Good State for Solar Panels?

Despite the slow solar adoption rate in LA, the Pelican State is still considered a great place to install solar systems. There are a few factors at play that make solar power systems so valuable in the area. These include:

  • Lots of sunshine: Photovoltaic (PV) equipment generates electricity based on how much sun it receives. LA residents enjoy around 222 days of sunshine every year, which is quite a bit more than most states.2 Abundant sunlight means more opportunity to generate energy and offset electric bills.
  • Relatively low equipment cost (per watt): As mentioned above, the typical cost per watt for solar equipment in LA is $2.57. Although overall system prices are above average, the per-watt price is lower than the national average of $2.66. That means you get more bang for your buck when converting to solar in LA.
  • High energy needs: Hot, humid summers leave most residents in LA relying on air-conditioning for months on end to stay comfortable. This contributes to above-average energy consumption. Louisiana homeowners use an average of 1,201 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every month, which is nearly 150% of the U.S. average.3
  • Frequent power outages: LA is home to some extreme weather, including hurricanes, tropical cyclones, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.4 These weather events lead to frequent power outages, making LA the second most likely state for blackouts.5 Many solar customers install solar batteries — like the Tesla Powerwall — along with their solar modules and inverters. Clean energy battery storage can provide power even during blackouts.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Louisiana?

A lot of time and consideration goes into estimating how much energy your photovoltaic panels or solar shingles will generate, as solar companies match production to your consumption as well as possible. There are many factors that influence the rate of solar electricity generation, including:

  • The size of your solar array: The size of your system will be the most significant factor in determining production rates. Each kilowatt (kW) you add to your system should, in theory, produce an additional 100 kWh each month. Larger systems generate more, although it’s important to size your system properly to avoid overpaying for panels you don’t need
  • How much sun your panels get: Solar panels don’t generate electricity unless the sun is shining on them, so any interruptions to available sunlight during the day will naturally cause dips in production. Shading from trees, buildings, electrical lines and other obstructions will lead to lower amounts of energy.
  • Sun intensity: More intense sunlight yields high production value in PV equipment. The direction your roof faces will have a significant impact on the intensity of the sun hitting your rooftop solar panel system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), southern-facing roofs receive the most direct sunlight in the U.S. and are the best for production.6
  • Weather: Much like shading from trees and nearby buildings, cloud coverage can cause your production rates to plummet. Heavy cloud coverage can decrease panel efficiency by up to 90%. Luckily, the weather in LA is predominantly sunny, but generation will dip from time to time due to weather.
  • The efficiency of your panels: The brand of panels you install will determine the efficiency rating. Higher efficiency ratings mean more energy production, even if all other factors are equal.

Although it’s impossible to say with certainty what your panels will produce without completing a home inspection, you can use the chart below to get a rough idea of what to expect.

Solar Power System Size Expected Daily Energy Generation Expected Monthly Energy Generation Expected Annual Energy Generation
10 kW 33.3 kWh 1,000 kWh 12,000 kWh
11 kW 36.6 kWh 1,100 kWh 13,200 kWh
12 kW 40 kWh 1,200 kWh 14,400 kWh
13 kW 43.3 kWh 1,300 kWh 15,600 kWh
14 kW 46.6 kWh 1,400 kWh 16,800 kWh
15 kW 50 kWh 1,500 kWh 18,000 kWh
16 kW 53.3 kWh 1,600 kWh 19,200 kWh

For a more accurate estimate of how much electricity your panels will produce, you can use our solar calculator.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Louisiana

Louisiana took a long time to begin promoting renewable energy, which is likely part of the reason adoption there has lagged behind most other states.

It wasn’t until 2003 that LA offered its first solar incentive: the solar energy system exemption. This was a property tax exemption that prevented the added property value from installing solar from affecting property taxes.

That same year, LA created policies to allow for net metering. Although the state has yet to make this policy mandatory, some investor-owned utilities (IOUs) do provide access to it. Most provide credits for excess energy at the avoided-cost rate. This isn’t as good as the retail rate, but it’s better than nothing.

Two years later, in 2005, LA began the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). This offered low-APR loans to residents for upgrading home energy efficiency, including solar installations. A portion of the loans could also be subsidized to reduce up-front costs.

In 2008, LA began offering its state tax credit, which, at the time, was one of the best in the country. A 50% credit to income taxes owed — a maximum of $12,500 — was a massive benefit to solar customers and led to a surge in conversion rates.

The state tax incentive was scheduled to be discontinued in 2017, but it ended two years early in 2015 when the state ran out of funding. It has yet to be offered again.

Finally, 2010 brought solar rights and the Renewable Energy Pilot Program to LA. Solar rights and easement laws made it unlawful for homeowners associations (HOAs) and other governing bodies to prohibit solar installation.

The Renewable Energy Pilot Program set out to push for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal for the state. RPS goals are used to mandate that a percentage of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources. Unfortunately, the prospect of an RPS goal was shut down in 2013, and no green energy minimums were set.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Louisiana?

LA residents currently have access to a handful of incentives for converting to solar. These include:

  • Net metering: Although this policy is not mandated in LA, some utility companies offer it. This policy lets you produce more energy than you use and apply the credits you receive to future utility bills. Most electricity companies in LA use a less-beneficial avoided-cost rate for energy credits.
  • Federal solar investment tax credit (ITC): This is a credit to your income taxes owed and is provided by the federal government. The credit is for 30% of your entire system cost. With an average system total of $32,125 in LA, the typical ITC comes out to $9,638.
  • Solar energy system exemption: This is the state’s property tax exemption. It mandates that the value of your solar panel system be excluded from your tax-assessed value to help you save money on taxes.
  • Home Energy Loan Program (HELP): This program was designed to make solar loans more accessible and affordable in the long run. The loans last for up to five years and come with low APRs to minimize interest paid.
  • Solar for All NOLA: This program offers no-money-down solar leases to income-qualifying New Orleans households. This is a great way for low-income residents to reduce their carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels.

For more information on these perks or to see if there are other local benefits available in your area, you can check out our Louisiana solar incentives guide.

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Find a Local Installer in Louisiana

Choosing a solar installer might seem like a simple process, but the process deserves adequate thought and research. The provider you pick will play a role in your total system cost, the panel brands available to you, the warranty coverage you get, your customer service experience and more.

Below, we’ll include some links to ratings and rankings for the top solar installation companies in major cities across LA. All of the companies in these reviews have years of experience and provide affordable, top-of-the-line equipment.

 

Credit: Ken Lund / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in Alexandria

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Lafayette

Best Solar Providers in Metairie


Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in New Iberia

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Shreveport

Credit: Uncommon Fritillary / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in Baton Rouge

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Lake Charles

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Marrero

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Monroe

Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in New Orleans

If you’re looking for larger regional, statewide or national companies to tackle your solar project, or if you live outside of one of the major LA cities, you can refer to our Louisiana solar installer guide for more information and recommendations.

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Dan Simms, Home Improvement Expert
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.