rkansas might be more renowned for its diamond mines and hot springs than its solar power prospects. Yet, the Natural State holds more potential for solar photovoltaics than you might think. Don't let its relatively low profile on the national solar map deter you - this Southern state has its share of sunlight, and harnessing this resource could yield significant benefits. Join us as we delve into the dynamics of Arkansas solar scene and reveal its hidden opportunities.
Are Arkansas Solar Setups Viable? The Hidden Returns of Arkansas Solar
On the surface, with an average of 217 sunny days annually and 4.69 peak sun hours per day, the state might seem like a prime candidate for extensive solar energy generation. Despite this potential, a puzzling discrepancy exists: the Natural State ranks only 33rd in solar adoption among U.S. states, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Despite the remarkable strides made in Arkansas solar, with 667 MW of energy currently installed, the state has yet to fully tap into its sunny resources.
So, what's behind this Arkansas solar paradox? The answer lies in electricity pricing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) lists the state among the ten U.S. states with the lowest average electricity rates. On the surface, this might make renewable energy seem like a less viable option. After all, why bother installing solar panels when you can get cheap electricity straight from the grid?
But it's crucial to note that the dynamics of electricity costs are not static—they change, often quite significantly. For instance, throughout 2022, electricity costs in AR surged by a substantial 10.55%. This trend resonates in various parts of the country as conventional energy prices continue to soar, thereby heightening the appeal of solar power and other alternative sources.
At the same time, solar power costs are moving in the opposite direction—downward. In the last ten years, Arkansas solar prices have tumbled by an astonishing 54%. This decline in the costs represents a compelling financial incentive for Arkansans to consider a switch to solar energy.
To further sweeten the deal, residents considering going solar can benefit from several attractive incentives. These incentives serve to make the investment even more lucrative, offsetting the initial installation costs and accelerating the period within which the solar system pays for itself.
Arkansas Solar Costs and Major Solar Incentives
According to EnergySage, as of June 2023, the average solar panel cost in the state is $2.99/W. Considering a typical system size of 6 kilowatts (kW), the cost of an average installation in the state falls between $15,250 and $20,630, with an average gross price of approximately $18,000. However, considering the potential impact of the available incentives, the actual net price of your solar setup can be substantially lower, saving you thousands of dollars.
First and foremost, the cost of Arkansas solar installations can be significantly reduced with the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This credit allows individuals to receive a credit towards their federal tax bill, equivalent to a percentage of the total cost of their solar energy system. Currently, the ITC stands at 30% of the total cost of the PV system, with no maximum limit. The credit covers not only system components but also batteries and labor expenses. To be in the eligible bracket, solar customers must own their system. While the ITC is a one-time credit, any excess credit can be carried forward to the following year if it cannot be fully utilized.
Out of all local Arkansas solar incentives, net metering stands out as a crucial one. This incentive enables you to sell any surplus solar electricity you produce back to the grid and receive credits in return. Residential systems with a capacity of up to 25 kilowatts (kW) can take advantage of this incentive, and you have the benefit of carrying over your excess electricity credits indefinitely. While net metering is not obligatory in the state, numerous providers offer favorable rates and actively participate in this program.
Top Arkansas Solar Installers: Choosing the Best for Your Solar Transition
Choosing the right installer can be just as crucial as deciding to go solar. In this section, we turn the spotlight onto some of the most reputed installers operating in the area.
SunPower: The Premier National Solar Supplier
As one of the largest installers in the country, SunPower is renowned for providing exceptional residential solar panels. Their SunPower Equinox system combines cutting-edge Maxeon panels, Enphase microinverters, and sturdy mounting hardware. With the highest efficiency ratings in the residential market, reaching up to 22.8%, SunPower's panels deliver outstanding performance. Moreover, their industry-leading warranty guarantees that the panels will maintain at least 92% of their original capacity after 25 years, surpassing the industry standard.
Seal Solar: Excellent Solar Customer Service in Arkansas
Seal Solar, a local company since 2019, is known for its exceptional customer service. With a strong focus on customer satisfaction and solar education, they have earned their reputation as one of the top-rated installers. Customers praise the informative yet non-aggressive sales team. Seal offers PV systems for homeowners, and battery storage solutions and is a certified Tesla Powerwall installer. They provide extensive warranties, including a 25-year workmanship warranty, setting them apart from the competition.
ADT Solar: Best in Class Solar Warranty
ADT Solar, previously known as SunPro Solar, has become one of the largest PV panel installers in the U.S. With over a decade of industry experience, they have built a strong reputation for reliability and trust. What sets ADT apart is their comprehensive 25-year warranty, which not only covers panel performance but also includes labor installation. This ensures peace of mind and safeguards against issues stemming from poor installation techniques. With panel options from reputable manufacturers like QCells, Canadian Solar, and Silfab, ADT offers efficient and durable solutions for your solar needs.
Shine Solar: A Solid Regional Solar Ally
When it comes to Arkansas solar installation, Shine Solar is a reliable regional choice. Their customers receive complimentary monitoring, allowing them to track system performance day by day through the convenient mobile app. Plus, if you upgrade in the future, they'll buy back your existing panels for 50% of the original cost. In addition to traditional panels, they offer high-quality Timberline Solar shingles, known for their durability and ability to withstand winds up to 130 mph.
Tesla Solar: Pioneering Tech in the Solar Space
Tesla, a prominent player in the solar panel market, offers modern, subtly designed panels that blend seamlessly into your home's architecture. Renowned for their durability and ability to endure elevated temperatures, these panels are made to last. Tesla also maintains a high standard of installation nationwide through their Certified Installer Program. Their reliable energy solutions for homeowners come with a 25-year performance guarantee and an inclusive 10-year warranty that covers all system components.
The Bottom Line: Arkansas Solar Energy - A Winning Choice for Residents
Drawing to a close, it's evident that the potential of Arkansas solar energy remains largely untapped. Despite initial appearances, solar power is a winning choice for residents. The declining cost of PV installations, combined with the rise in traditional electricity costs and attractive incentives, paints a compelling picture for a shift towards solar. With reputable installers at hand to ensure a smooth transition, the benefits of embracing solar are clear. It's time for Arkansans to harness the power of the sun and step into a sustainable, cost-effective future.