Since Hurricane Katrina, the residents of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, have been committed to rebuilding their community sustainably. Solar power has been an integral part of building back homes with a lower carbon footprint. Global Green’s Holy Cross Project helped bring solar power to the Lower 9th Ward with five LEED Platinum single family homes. Our Visitor Center is net zero, meaning it produces as much electricity as it uses throughout the year, due to a rooftop solar array. A new report by the Sierra Club expands upon the proliferation of solar panels in the years since Hurricane Katrina. The report states that the Lower 9th Ward has more than 5 times as many solar energy systems per capita as the rest of the City of New Orleans! That adds up to a lot of savings: the average user stands to save about $45 per month on his or her electric bill and the Lower 9th Ward’s total monthly solar energy production nets the community about $16,267 in savings.
The Lower 9th Ward in particular has welcomed solar energy with open arms. Here is an excerpt from the Sierra Club report by Casey Williams, to explain the numbers:
There were approximately 2594 permits for solar installations issued by the City of New Orleans between January 1, 2007 and March 31, 2013. As of December 31, 2012, 1345 of these solar installations had set up solar net metering systems with Entergy, and, based on conversation with residents and solar installers, we believe it is likely the hundreds more have set up net metering since that time. According to Entergy, the aggregate capacity of these installations is 6.4 MW – about 4.7 kW per array.
As of March 2013, there were 247 permits issued for residential solar systems in the Lower Ninth Ward. Assuming an average distribution of one solar array per home, approximately 12% of homes in the neighborhood have permits for solar panels. Based on the most recently available population data, 10% of the solar panel permits issued by the city were for residences in the Lower Nine, even though the area contains less than 2% of the city’s population. Assuming each resident who received a permit successfully installed a solar system, the Lower Ninth Ward has more than 5 times as many solar energy systems per capita as the rest of the city.
Big things are happening here in the Lower 9th Ward- come visit us if you’re in the area! link to http://www.globalgreen.org/articles/global/83