Remnants of a pier near Biloxi
Between the Mississippi river delta and the gulf coast, the state of Mississippi hosts some very unique places, not to mention being the birthplace of the Delta blues and a center of the civil rights movement. Even with all of its history and natural beauty, Mississippi has been slow to get on the solar energy train. Here’s what the legislature has done so far.
Mississippi’s (Lack of A) Renewables Portfolio Standard
A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) is a law or other piece of regulation that mandates that a certain percentage of at state’s energy production comes from renewable resources by specified target dates. A strong RPS is important because it forces utility companies to promote conversion to renewable energy. That generally means free money for you in the form of solar power rebates and performance payments when you switch to solar power.
Mississippi currently has no state or local Renewables Portfolio Standards. As we’ve seen in other states, the lack of an RPS has translated to an unfortunate lack of incentives to support solar power.
Solar Performance Payments in Mississippi
Mississippi’s one significant solar power incentive comes from the Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”). TVA provides electricity to Municipal and cooperatively owned utilities that provide electricity for the counties of: Alcorn, Attala, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, De Soto, Grenada, Itawamba, Kemper, Lafayette, Leake, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Tunica, Union, Webster, Winston and Yalobusha.
If you’re lucky enough to be TVA customers, your new solar power system is eligible for TVA’s Generation Partners Program. TVA offers a ten-year contract to purchase 100% of the energy produced by your solar power system for a premium of $0.12 on top of the retail electricity rate.
Mississippi Solar Utility Rebates, Tax Credits, and Tax Exemptions
Participants in the TVA program are also eligible to receive a $1,000 solar power rebate to help offset initial costs. Unfortunately the TVA program is the only incentive available to help you install solar power in Mississippi. With no RPS in place, politicians and utility companies have no incentive to help promote solar power. They’re happy to leave all the costs to you … until they face stiff penalties for failing to satisfy an RPS, that is. Given all of Mississippi’s sunshine, legislators have a golden opportunity to harness cheap and plentiful energy, but they need to start pushing statewide incentives to make use of all those solar resources.
Utility Prices in Mississippi
Mississippi pays an average of 10.17 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity. That’s well below the national average of 11.43 cents/kwh, and even below the regional average of 10.30 cents/kwh. We know you like paying less now, but that’s only until the long-term costs kick in. Most electricity is currently produced by burning fossil fuels. All that earth-killing oil and coal may still be relatively easy on your wallet, but the long-term costs associated with fossil fuels are going to far outweigh those monthly bill savings. When all those long-term costs really start to kick in, monthly electricity bills are going to inevitably rise as well. When that happens, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for having already switched over to clean efficient solar energy!
Mississippi Net Metering and Interconnection
Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for any surplus. Mississippi is one of only six states in the nation without statewide net metering standards in place. Net metering remains completely at the discretion of the utility companies.
Likewise, Mississippi is one of fifteen states lacking statewide standards for interconnection. Utility companies have full discretion not only on whether to offer net metering, but also over what is required for you to get your solar power system connected to the grid in the first place.
5kW Example Return on Investment in Mississippi
Installing a typical 5kW solar system should start at about $25,000. Because TVA serves only about a third of Mississippi households, we based these estimates for the two-thirds of the state that has no incentives available to it. If you are a TVA customer, your payback will be considerably faster. Grab one of our free quotes and talk to an expert installer in your area to learn just how much faster. If you’re not a TVA customer, don’t worry – even without state incentives, you can still knock a big chunk off the price.
- Since the feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, no state incentives means a bigger federal solar tax credit. Subtract $7,500 (30% of $25,000) for a new price of $17,500.
- After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be about $635. That brings your cost after the first year to $16,865.
- With a conservative estimate for the future rise of electricity prices, you can expect your new solar power system to pay for itself in about 17 years. Even with that somewhat slower payback time frame, you can still expect to get several years of profits (yes, profits) out of your solar power system. We estimate those profits to be in $12,692 through 2036.
- In addition to those direct wallet-fattening savings, you also increased your home value by $12,692.
- In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using all that fossil-fuel backed electricity. In fact, the fossil-fuel energy you’re not using is the carbon-saving equivalent of planting 110 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
These numbers are estimates. Your home is unique and how much power you generate and how much money you save depends on that uniqueness. The best way to find out how much cash switching to solar can save you is to get one of our free quotes, and an expert installer in your area can draw up a home-specific estimate for you. Your quote is 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you can get as many of them as that smart shopper in you desires!
Mississippi Solar Consensus
The Mississippi legislature is really singing the blues when it comes to solar energy. The state’s leaders have hardly even mentioned the words in their sessions since 2005. With all the rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, the state could take the opportunity to protect the environment by promoting clean energy too. It’s about time the legislature took a stand in support of solar power.
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