Arkansas Solar Rebates and Incentives
Arkansas, home of former President Bill Clinton, is a verdant, southeastern state, and while it’s the 29th largest state, it’s the 32nd most populous. The state’s primary energy sources are coal and nuclear, but the state has some ample renewable resources, including solar and hydroelectric that the state has not capitalized on.
Arkansas has fallen behind the majority of other states—29—in terms of enacting a renewable portfolio standard or even a renewable energy goal—seven states. As such, its incentive programs for renewable energy pale compared to those offered by other states like California, New York and even Texas. Still, the state has developed various incentive programs to help its residents to adopt solar and other renewable forms of energy. Since it doesn’t require its energy providers to source their electricity from renewable sources, they aren’t compelled to offer incentives to help business owners or homeowners to convert to renewable electricity.
Thanks to Arkansas’ southern location, it gets slightly less than 5 hours of direct sunlight per square meter, making it a decent location for solar. It doesn’t get as much sun as states to its west like Texas, but it gets more than states to its east like Tennessee. The state also has potential to develop some wind power the EIA said and other potential renewables in the state include more hydroelectric, wood, and wood waste power generation.
To encourage Arkansans to adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency the state has enacted green building standards for state facilities. While the state offers some incentives for renewables, like rebates and net metering, much more of the state’s incentives focus on energy efficiency in homes, including incentives for tuning up air conditioners.
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Hot Water Heating and Wind Energy|
|Amount||For systems 25 kW or under, $1.50 per kilowatt hour, $0.75 per kWh for systems larger than 25 kW|
|Required Documentation||Online Electric Application and Application Checklist|
|Official Web Site|
On March 22, 2010, the Arkansas Energy Office began offering rebates for renewable electricity systems and solar hot water systems. The rebates are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The state rebate only covers residential systems up to 25 kW in size. Rebates are available through March 31, 2012, or when program funds run out. As of November 19, 61 applications had been received through the program and $1.4 million of the $1.8 million of the program funds were allocated to applicants.
Non-residential systems up to 300 kW are eligible for the state rebate program. While systems up to 300 kW are eligible for the rebate, ground-mounted PV systems larger than 60 kW are not eligible for the rebate. Rooftop and parking structure systems may be larger. Rebates for solar hot water systems are based on their square footage.
To be eligible for the rebate, renewable electric system owners must apply through the program and sign an interconnection agreement with their electricity providers and net meter their system. The system had to start operating after the date the program started. In addition, the system owner must submit photos of the site: one prior to installation and another after installation and before the system is connected to the grid. All invoices and receipts related the system and installation must also be provided as part of the application process.
The rebate level for a renewable electric system is based on actual production of the system as verified by monthly monitoring. The checks are mailed out after production is verified. For electric-generating solar systems, the rebate is $1.50 per kWh for systems up to 25 kW and $0.75 per kWh for larger systems. The rebate for wind systems is slightly less. For systems up to 20 kW the rebates are $1.25 per kWh and $0.625 per kWh for larger wind systems. Solar water heating system rebates are based on square footage of the system. Smaller systems, those under 320 square feet, receive a rebate of $30 per square foot. Larger systems receive a $15 per square foot rebate.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Electrics and other renewables|
|Amount||Credited to system owner at retail rate toward future bills|
|Required Documentation||Interconnection agreement with the utility|
|Official Web Site||http://www.arkansasenergy.org/|
Arkansas has offered net metering in the state since July 2002. However, under the state’s law, customers do not receive any actual cash for net metering a system. Rather excess generation is credited forward, at retail rate, toward future electricity bills. At the end of a 12-month period any overall excess generation is granted back the customer’s utility.
Residential renewable electric generation systems up to 25 kW are eligible to enroll in the program. Non-residential renewable energy systems up to 300 kW also are eligible to net meter their system. In addition to solar power, systems generating power from wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass and microturbines are eligible.
Only investor-owned utilities and cooperative utilities are covered under the net-metering law. Municipal utilities are not covered by the net-metering law.
To be eligible, customers must sign an interconnection agreement with their utility and must submit it to the utility at least 30 days before connecting the system.
Under the state’s interconnection standards, customers are responsible for costs associated with interconnecting the system to the utility. This includes, in some cases, a disconnect or shut off switch that disconnects the system from the grid if it goes down. If additional metering equipment is needed to net meter, the customer must also pay for that. Utilities also charge customer generators a net metering tariff.
While customers are not currently eligible to receive financial compensation for power generated by their system, they do own the renewable energy credits generated by their system and can sell them.
|Program Type||Energy-efficiency Rebate|
|Technologies||Lighting, Duct- and Air-sealing, Insulation and HVAC Improvements|
|Amount||$329 per kW of reduced peak energy demand|
|Required Documentation||Contact the Arkansas Energy Efficiency Solutions Center at 1-877-212-2420|
|Official Web Site||http://www.entergy-arkansas.com/energy_efficiency/residential.aspx|
While the state only offers two renewable energy incentives, it offers a host of energy efficiency incentives, as do utilities in the state. Taking advantage of such programs can help residents save up for solar systems.
Under the state’s Entergy Arkansas program residents can qualify for a variety of residential efficiency programs to make energy efficient improvements to their homes. Residents can enroll in the program by contacting an Energy Efficiency Solutions Center representative, or by checking out the program online. Among other things the program allows for people to calculate energy savings online and have a walk-through energy assessment of their home. If, after having a walk-through assessment, the customer chooses to make recommended energy improvements, their utility will cover part of the costs.
State Loan Program
Utility Loan Program
- First Electric Cooperative - Home Improvement Loans
- North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. - Energy Resource Conservation (ERC) Loans
- Ozarks Electric Cooperative - Energy Resource Conservation (ERC) Loans
- Petit Jean Electric Cooperative - Energy Resource Conservation (ERC) Loan Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.