A coalition is backing legislation regarding solar energy in Arkansas. Two state senators, Dave Wallace of Leachville and Aaron Pilkington of Clarksville, have filed a bill to expand solar energy use. In their release they state that Arkansas has the 11th best sunlight for energy use in the nation, but ranks 43rd in solar policy. They say that expanding solar energy access in the state will create good paying jobs and home grown energy. The bill allows more options for consumers to access solar as well as increases the amount of energy Arkansans can produce.
Specifically the bill would allow third-party purchasing option, which is a popular solar financing tool that allows residents or businesses to benefit from a solar installation owned by a solar company. This would allow more people to utilize solar by removing upfront installation and maintenance costs. Currently Arkansas is one of five states that prohibits third-party purchasing. States that have not allowed third-party ownership have fallen significantly behind in distributed solar development. This is particularly harmful for nonprofits, government buildings, schools, and churches, which often cannot access federal solar incentives without working with a 3rdparty to operate the system on their behalf. The bill would also allow for an increase in the size of the solar facility. The coalition backing legislation is made up of Audubon Arkansas, Wal-Mart, Arkansas Association of Counties, & Arkansas Advanced Energy Association.