Frequently Asked Questions
How can I calculate my potential energy savings from solar panels?
- The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides an online solar calculator at www.nrel.gov/rredc/pvwatts. This is one method that can be used to help estimate how much power and potential energy savings a solar system could produce.
- Based on an average electric rate of $0.09 per kWh, the NREL calculations suggest that customer energy savings from a typical 4 kW residential solar system in the New Orleans area might be in the neighborhood of $35 to $55 a month. Actual customer energy savings could be higher or lower depending on a number of variables, including weather, panel type, panel installation, etc.
What other issues should be considered in determining if solar is right for me?
- The cost of the solar panels and any related contractual provisions.
- The possible availability of tax credits (consult your tax professional).
- The possible effect on homeowner’s insurance costs (consult your insurance agent) or roof warranty.
Are there any additional fees or charges to solar customers from Entergy New Orleans?
- Yes, it requires a one-time $50 meter change fee ($75 for commercial customers) since solar panels require a different meter.
Are there other ways that I can save money on my Entergy bill?
- Yes. Simple steps around the house such as adjusting your thermostat, caulking doors and windows, and adding insulation can make a big difference on your energy bill. Check out www.entergyneworleans.com/savemoney for more tips and online tools for energy savings.
- As an Entergy New Orleans electric customer, you also qualify for Energy Smart incentives and rebates for energy efficient measures around the house such as energy audits, AC tune-ups, insulation, and more. Visit www.energysmartnola.info for more information.
If I choose to install solar panels, how do I get started?
- You first need to work with both Entergy New Orleans and a qualified installer to have the proposed design approved for ensuring safety of the system.
- The system must also be inspected by and receive permits from the City of New Orleans and have a final on-site inspection conducted by Entergy New Orleans engineers.
- You should start the application process at least 90 days before you intend to connect a system to Entergy New Orleans facilities.
- See more in-depth information about the application process at www.entergyneworleans.com.
How is a net metering customer billed and/or credited?
- Net metering customers are billed for the electricity they purchase from Entergy New Orleans just like any other customer. The potential benefit of having a solar system installed is that the customer may purchase less electricity from Entergy New Orleans than a customer without a solar system.
- All customers are charged the same rates, regardless of whether they are net metering customers or not:
- All customers are charged an $8.07 customer charge regardless of how much electricity is used.
- All customers are also subject to standard charges, such as storm riders, fuel adjustment and fees imposed by the city.
Do solar customers pay the same electric rates as non-solar customers?
- Yes. Having solar panels on your roof does not change the rates for electric service.
If a customer “sells” us electricity because they over-produce, how much do we pay them?
- If there is a month where a customer produces more electricity than they purchase from Entergy New Orleans, the amount of extra kilowatt hours is credited to their next month’s bill.
However, it is important to note that it is very rare for a customer to actually produce more electricity than they consume in a given month.
If a customer continues to carry over extra kilowatts for multiple months, can they get a refund check?
- No, extra kilowatt hours credited will be carried over from month to month as long as the net metering customer has an active electric account.
- Only if that customer closes the Entergy account will any excess kilowatts will be paid to the customer at the avoided costs rate on file with the Council of the City of New Orleans. This payment will be reflected on the customer’s final bill as a line item, “Purchase Power Credit.”
If a customer has a credit kilowatt carryover on one Entergy account, can they transfer the excess kilowatts to another account?
- No, under the net metering rules and rate schedule approved by the New Orleans City Council prohibits the transfer of excess net metering carryover kWh credits to another account.
Does Entergy New Orleans keep track of all electricity used by the customer or just the amount of electricity that we provide the customer? In other words, how do we know how much electricity, if any, they are putting back on the grid?
- Entergy New Orleans only has the ability to track how much electricity that the customer purchases from the company and the amount of electricity produced by their solar panels beyond what they themselves use. The company does not have the ability to track the total amount of electricity produced by the solar panels. Specific information about exactly how much electricity a solar panel is producing should come from the solar company.
What happens during an electric power outage?
- A solar panel system needs battery back-up to provide power when the electric grid is out of service.
- Most residential solar panel systems do not have battery back-up power, so unless your system does, you will not have solar power when your electricity is out.
During a power outage will it take longer for a customer’s power to be restored if they have solar panels?
- No, installing solar panels will not affect Entergy’s ability to restore your power.
Can a customer remain on levelized billing if they have solar panels and participate in net metering?
- Yes, because solar net metering adjust the billed kWh usage prior to the calculation of the monthly billing, participation in levelized billing is not affected.
If a customer moves into a location that already has solar panels installed, what do they need to do?
- The new customer will need to sign an Entergy interconnection agreement.
Can any New Orleans residence or business participate in solar panel systems and net metering?
- Entergy New Orleans and New Orleans City Council regulations allow net metering needed for solar panel systems in the vast majority of the city.
- For safety and reliability assurance as per City Council regulations, solar net metering is not allowed in the Central Business District (which includes the French Quarter area).
- Area bounded by Iberville St., N. Rampart St., Esplanade Ave., and the Mississippi River also requires approval of the Vieux Carré commission.
- Customers and solar panel contractors should contact Entergy New Orleans as part of the solar installation and net metering process before they install the system.
Has Entergy conducted any educational workshops for either customers or installers?
- We work with customers and licensed solar installers who come to us to ensure that any system they wish to install meets Entergy’s safety requirements. We have given and continue to give presentations to solar installers in the city.
Legal Disclaimer: Entergy does not sell, lease, install or maintain solar panels. Any decision to install solar panels is a personal one and should be based on each consumer’s individual facts and circumstances and the specifics of the solar panel transaction. No statement herein is intended to endorse or denounce the use of solar energy or any person or company in the business of selling, leasing, installing or maintaining solar panels.
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