Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

September 11, 2006

The New Orleans Solar Initiative

Filed under: Civic Blogging,New Orleans — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:17 pm

Alright, I talked with the DOE today, left messages with various specialists in the field, and now it’s time to play grassroots: I’m interested in how many folks are interested into turning New Orleans into a Solar city.

I’ve done the research and cost analysis, understand the various technologies… just waiting on the storm-worthiness of various systems. I’ve also sent out the call to get LA to establish guidelines and exemptions for those who wish to go Solar in this gret state.

This is not a cure for flooding or storms, but it is a way to maintain viability for our survival in the case of the aforementined. Electricity is vital for our communications, our livelehoods, and our very survival. I need numbers when presenting this to our supposed rulers.

I’m looking for any and all that are interested in this technology and solution for SE Louisiana.

BTW- my phone is working again.


  1. Better late than never but here we are!

    Comment by Nicolai Alatzas — September 27, 2009 @ 12:37 am

  2. We’re definitely in for this. Count us as two fellow Gentillians who are attenuating the rebuilding process into making our home better than it was before the Flood. Free energy courtesy of Ol’ Sol- who could be against it?

    Comment by Lane Ikenberry — September 28, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  3. We have gone at this in a way that uses different technologies to create a “whole system”. Geo-thermal for heating/cooling/hot water, rebuilt to LEEDS standards for an old house, Energy Star everything and now we are looking st Solar panels to top off the cake.

    Some tweaking is still needed but we can do that ourselves. Already have the Entergy bill down by 1/2 of what the Summer of ’05 was and now looking to only have credits with them.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — September 29, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  4. Morwen,

    If it helps you I can supply the engineering data for racking and solar array’s that exceed 140 mph+ winds. I can actually design to around 200 mph. Depending on the location on the roof and angle of the array.

    I would be happy to supply this data for any roof you would like to select.

    Hope all is well talk to you soon!

    Comment by Nicolai Alatzas — October 11, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  5. Morwen-
    I’m curious about your system; is it a heat pump with buried ground loops to pre-condition recirculated air? Funny how all this technology got a head start way back in the 70′s, but was forced to the back burner by the so-called “Reagan Revolution” (it’s not a revolution if the people at the top just solidify their power- rising tides and grateful folks in dinghies and all that crap…) In order to make this Green Revolution work for the long haul, we need to find ways for the relatively poor to incorporate these systems into their own homes, and provide incentives and inducements for landlords to make energy efficiency a dependable aspect of their properties.

    Comment by Lane Ikenberry — October 12, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  6. Lane, That’s exactly the system we have. I’ve been a proponent of this concept since the early ’70s. Our system came out $3K+ over the cost of a standard HVAC unit due to the well and we bought more tonnage than the place required (but we do live/work here and it can get really hot).

    Now what I would like to see, and some of this is being experimented on in the Lower 9th Ward, is the concept of say the homeowners on a block work together and do 3 wells along the axis of the block and run separate flows to each house. This would spread the increase in cost across several homes and would work even if some of the homes were rentals. Since we here are rebuilding so much housing for lower income folks this would be of great aid to their pocket books.

    I’ll get back on this more after I finish getting the Solar in for our home whilst we are trying to buy a restaurant. My brain is really stretched right now. *rolls eyes*

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — October 14, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  7. There are programs and solar system packages that work for people of all ranges and incomes when it comes to solar. Putting Solar on your roof is like money in the bank but at a tune to 12.7%-20% in the New Orleans marketplace. What ever the size of your investment dictates the amount of money in the bank.

    Alternatively to purchasing a solar system we have Solar Lease’s, PPA(Power purchase Agreement) or Solar Renta. There is also 1BOG that is a volunteer run organization that gets people to purchase systems together to decrease the cost of energy from.

    Solar Leases are very similar to an automobile Lease length and terms may vary but offers a Lessee the option to purchase the solar system.

    Solar Rental companies will soon be hitting the markets all over taking advantage of incentives and capitalizing on state and utility rebates. Offering low income families a solar system with little or no out of pocket. The renter agrees to pay per kW hr of electricity generated at a flat rate for terms from 5-25 years. The rental companies maintains and replace system components at there expense. With average annual rate increases of energy this translates to some $3800 in savings over 10 year period. That information is based on some models I have been looking at.

    A Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, is a long-term contract to buy power from a specific energy provider. Solar PPAs are agreements between a provider and a customer to purchase on-going solar power at a long-term rate, often equal to or less than market rates. Because the customer locks in their rate of electricity you save in the long run. Average annual energy rate increase is 6.7%.

    Lane, If you stayed with me through all that I hope you gained some incite as to the availability of solar.

    Comment by Nicolai Alatzas — October 15, 2009 @ 2:08 am

  8. Thank you, Nicolai, you’ve given me a lot to research and hopefully implement in our rebuilding efforts.

    Morwen, I think your idea of getting homeowners to work together to put in geothermal wells is brilliant. Best of luck with your restaurant venture!

    Comment by Lane Ikenberry — October 17, 2009 @ 8:59 am

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