Arkansas Experiencing Big Increase In Solar Energy Projects

Jul 23, 2019

This solar power array by Scenic Hill Solar powers Clarksville Connected Utilities, the Johnson County city’s municipal utility.
Credit Arkansas Business

A new Arkansas law taking effect is allowing local governments, agencies and schools to partner with third-party companies to building solar projects. Arkansas Business reporter Kyle Massey writes in this week’s issue about what’s coming together to make this possible.

Rick Vance is regional director for Entegrity Energy Partners LLC of Little Rock, one of several Arkansas solar providers riding the wave as local governments, agencies and schools plunge into a new solar mainstream.

With utility savings from solar arrays and energy performance contracting, non-taxed entities are “making improvements, doing deferred maintenance and even using some for big capital projects,” Vance said.

“Solar is now the cheapest way to buy electricity. “A combination of the new law [Act 464 of 2019], tax advantages and other factors mean this is the best time” to act, he said, “with no upfront capital costs and guaranteed savings. Why would you not do this?”

Vendors like Scenic Hill Solar and Seal Solar of North Little Rock and Today’s Power Inc. of Little Rock are all building multiple government and school arrays this year.

“Interest in solar by governmental and educational entities has really escalated,” said Michael Henderson, president of Today’s Power. He said changes in law and tax incentives add up to a good bottom line.

“Today, solar is available for almost anyone for under 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, and for larger systems well under 5 cents. These savings are very attractive for budget-strained governmental entities.”

The average Arkansas retail electricity price is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to June data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Read more of his story here.