Rooftops Help Utility Expand Solar in New Orleans and Beyond

Solar panels.

Commercial adoption of solar is surging nationwide.

On December 26, the Louisiana utility Entergy announced it had reached its goal of installing 5 megawatts (MW) of distributed-scale solar in the city of New Orleans.

Nearly two years ago, with approval from the New Orleans City Council, Entergy piloted its own Commercial Rooftop Solar program to help meet its commitment to install up to 100 MW of renewable resources. Through the program the company leases commercial building rooftops to install utility-owned solar throughout the city.

The company reached its initial 5-MW goal for the program by leasing rooftops on buildings owned by the Regional Transit Authority, the University of New Orleans, Transportation Consultants, Inc., and local small businesses.

More growth is in the works. As of 2019, Entergy has approval to add another 95 MW of renewable energy to its clean energy mix through a combination of rooftop solar and utility-scale solar facilities.

Entergy is not the only organization taking advantage of solar on commercial rooftops.

In November, retailer Target made news of its own, when it announced that it had installed its 500th rooftop solar array on a Napa, Calif. store. The company made a goal in 2015 to reach 500 installations by 2020.

The 500 installations have given the company more than 240 MW of solar capacity, equivalent to powering nearly 46,000 homes.

The installations have also helped Target regularly rank as a leading solar installer amongst U.S. companies in the Solar Energy Industry Association’s annual Solar Means Business Report, which tracks U.S. solar photovoltaic installations that support commercial activities at U.S. facilities.

In the latest report published in 2018, the retail giant ranked third for the most solar capacity installed by a U.S. company. Tech giants Apple and Amazon came in first and second, respectively. Walmart came in fourth.

Overall, according to the 2018 report, commercial solar is on the rise. 1,144 MW of commercial solar were installed in 2018, making it the second-largest year for commercial solar installations. With more than 7 gigawatts installed across 35,000 installations, corporate solar deployment is 23 times larger today than it was a decade ago. Much of that growth has occurred recently. More than half of all corporate solar capacity has been installed in the last three years.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at richardlaezman@msn.com.

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