More than 12 percent of all households in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward have installed solar panels on their roofs, according to a press release this week from The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development.
The Lower 9th Ward, often regarded as one of New Orleans’ poorest neighborhoods, was the area most devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“Since Katrina, the Lower 9th Ward has committed to rebuilding sustainably and solar panels are a symbol of that commitment,” according to the release.
“People in the Lower Nine recognize that, if we want a vibrant, resilient community, we have to begin at the community level to improve the natural environment, both locally and globally,” said Arthur Jonson, center director. “Solar is one way people are doing that, and I think this report demonstrates that residents have really embraced the idea of sustainability and seen the benefits it can have for their families and their community.”
On average, homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward that install solar panels are saving $45 a month on their electric bills, according to the release. The cumulative solar capacity in the neighborhood is estimated at more than 1,400 kilowatts. Communitywide, the rooftop solar arrays are collectively saving about $16,267 a month, according to the release.
The environmental impact of the new solar installations in the rebuilding neighborhood are notable as well, with the community preventing almost 39,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The feeling that residents are doing something green and good for a community that was nearly obliterated by a natural disaster has definitely bee one of the motivators for going solar, according to the release.
“I’ve been very happy with my solar system,” said Robert Green, a resident who installed solar panels four months ago. “And it’s great to feel like I’m doing something to help the environment.”
As more people rebuild in the 9th Ward, more are installing solar and it’s becoming increasingly popular I the area. The neighborhood has led solar development in New Orleans since 2007 and continues to install panels at a faster rate than the rest of the city.
“The vigor with which the Lower 9th Ward has embraced solar energy illustrates that small neighborhoods, when they decide to grow sustainably, can have a huge impact on the social and environmental wellbeing of both their local communities and the planet as a whole,” according to the release.