How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Power in Arkansas
Residents in southern states who hope to install solar power in their homes often find themselves in a frustrating bind: their southern location and high sun yields make their homes ideal for this type of energy generation, yet low governmental support leaves them holding the bag for a pricey installation, with little or no assistance.
Thankfully, in Arkansas, the attitude towards solar energy is refreshingly favorable. Residents here can expect to take advantage of incentives like the state’s net metering program. Far from being a hollow piece of legislation offering rudimentary incentives, in Arkansas, the net metering policy has been continually revised by legislators since its implementation in 2001 in order to make its regulations favorable to residents opting for solar.
And while Arkansas doesn’t boast the installation numbers of some states, solar adoption is definitely growing, meaning that if you live here and are thinking about purchasing or leasing a solar system for your home, you’ll have more options than ever before, from choosing an installer to financing. Here’s a rundown of solar energy in your state.
Solar Productivity in Arkansas
Land of Opportunity is right–weighing in as the eleventh most solar productive state, Arkansas’ potential for solar power is prodigious. The sun index level, or the strength of UV radiation for the area is an impressive 0.91 (Nevada, by comparison, has the highest sun index level of any state, coming in with a level of 1.91). Residents installing solar in their Arkansas homes benefit from more intense solar radiation, meaning higher yields from a PV array, and ultimately, lower utility bills as well.
Popularity of Solar in Arkansas
Industry data showed that Arkansasians had a combined two megawatts of solar capacity installed in 2014, which was a 1000 percent increase from 2013. While prices on solar equipment are responsible for solar growth all across the nation, the state government here has generally been supportive of solar power, even going as far to implement its own rebate program for new installations from 2009 to 2011, and that support translates to installation numbers. With the industry growth anticipated all over the country, expect to see installations on the rise if you live in Arkansas–and incentives declining as more households adopt, meaning there’s less need for local governments to encourage residents to make the switch. All of that is to say that if you want to take advantage of low prices and government tax credits and programs, you’ll need to act soon.
Arkansas Average Residential Electricity Use and Cost
According to the US Department of Energy, Arkansas uses almost 1.4 times as much energy as the US national average–6,392 kWh per capita were consumed by state residents in 2011, compared to 4,566 kWh for the country. Electricity prices for the state, by comparison, are fairly reasonable–8.7 cents per kWh versus the national average of approximately 12 cents. That puts Arkansas high on the list for most affordable utilities–if you live in The Natural State, you only pay more than Washington, North Dakota, and Iowa.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much energy a solar installation could generate (that depends on your area and the size of the system you install, not to mention specific environmental factors related to your specific roof’s angle and how shady it is around your home), generally a 3kWh system will generate around 450 kWh per month. Using the 8.7 cent/kWh average, that means you could stand to save close to $500 a year in utility costs just by generating some of your own power.
Installing Solar in Arkansas
There are few local solar installers based in Arkansas, most of them located in the Little Rock and Fayetteville areas. Sun City Solar Energy in Little Rock, with satellite offices in Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri, is perhaps the area’s largest provider. Larger national installers, like SolarCity, have not yet made their way to Arkansas, so you may find alternative leasing programs like Purchase Provider Agreements hard to come by. That means you’ll need to be prepared to either foot the initial cost of the installation and system purchase yourself, or investigate a loan from a private provider, like one offered by your bank.
Arkansas State Solar Support
Arkansas has not met the burgeoning solar industry with as much resistance as some of its neighboring states. The net metering system has been in place here since 2001, and in the meantime, the government has taken pains to review the program’s effectiveness and adjust requirements and clauses to encourage residents to adopt solar power in their homes. Their encouraging attitude translates to installation numbers, and accordingly, more and more Arkansans have been electing to go solar in their homes.
Arkansas State Solar Incentives
Arkansas is one of the many states in the US to offer net-metering–a residential incentive that allows solar powered homes to feed excess energy back to the grid, which in turn is metered against their use rates. The state’s legislation poses limits on scale–residential systems that qualify can be no larger than 25 kWh. Excess credits can be rolled over indefinitely, but after two years, residents can elect to have the utility purchase them at wholesale price.
There are no state rebates or tax credits available for installation; however, all residents are eligible for the national Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which pays qualifying homeowners 30 percent of the cost of their solar installation. The federal government requires that homes generate at least half of their power through solar in order to qualify. You can apply for the credit by completing form 5965 along with your income taxes.
Local Arkansas Incentives
At the local level, Arkansas’ incentives come in the form of state net metering managed through regional utilities. Some energy providers, like Entergy, offer consumers rebates for residents who opt to have energy audits performed on their homes, and provide loans for efficiency upgrades, but solar-specific programs generally do not exist. Solar adoption rates are expected to rise across the country as prices on equipment drop, however, so more options may soon be available for Arkansans looking to install solar systems in their homes.