Friday, December 11, 2015

Solar power in Arkansas finally showing the signs of life

The state of Arkansas is far behind other states when it comes to U.S. solar energy leaders. Of course, California leads convincingly the rest of the pack with close to 40% of the distributed PV capacity but  Arkansas was until recently nowhere to be found.

Things are slowly changing, and in 2014 Arkansas announced two utility-scale solar projects though there is still no net power generation from small-scale residential installations.

Arkansas first commercial-sized solar energy facility came online in September, the $25 million, 12-megawatt solar energy facility at the Highland Industrial Park in East Camden.

Future solar energy projects in Arkansas include an 81-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generating facility in Arkansas County that is expected to come online by mid-2019.

Arkansas doesn't have excellent solar insolation values like for instance California and Texas. Nonetheless, its southern location with approximately 5 hours of direct sunlight per square meter, make it a decent place for new solar installations.

The state doesn't yet have renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) meaning that its incentive programs for solar and other renewable energy sources are pale comparison when pitted against those of many other U.S. states with enacted RPS's.

But things are slowly changing, and hopefully Arkansas will play much bigger role on U.S. solar energy map in not that far future from now.