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Louisiana: Delays keeping local solar electrical systems in the dark

City, firms working to streamline process

Source:  Copyright 2009, Times-Picayune
Date:  January 5, 2009
Byline:  Rebecca Mowbray
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Solar panels have blanketed the southern side of the roof of Thomas Koch's Fontainebleau area home since summer, but he wasn't able to harvest any electricity from them until early last month because of delays in getting a special meter activated.

The meter must pass muster with Entergy, the utility that ultimately stands to lose business from customers like Koch who switch to solar power.

"I found it very frustrating," said Koch, who spent $49,000 on the solar panels and insulation. "I did it because I was sick of paying $500 electricity bills. It's not a small investment."

Koch is among the city's first homeowners to install a solar energy system to help power his house. Just 16 "net meters," special electricity meters that allow property owners to sell power back to the utility, are in operation in the city, according to Entergy New Orleans Inc. Most have been installed since Jan. 1, 2008, when a lucrative state tax credit -- considered the ...

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