When you think of solar power in the U.S., you tend to think of states with a lot of sun, or states that lean progressively on renewable energy policies. Sometimes those happen to be the same states. California, for example, has been investing a great deal in solar power, and states like Vermont have touted that they’ve gone green as a way to show that it is possible to do. Texas has also been exploding with solar power, given its prime location with lots of solid sun.
However, one state that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is Arkansas. And while they aren’t poised to become the new solar energy vanguard, they have been quietly making a lot of progress on this particular front. So quietly, in fact, that most people would never associate the state with solar power at all if they didn’t see the numbers.
Arkansas, and The Battle For Renewable Resources
Arkansas’s main sources of power, according to Clean Energy Authority, are coal and nuclear power plants. However, the state’s location in the southern portion of the United States gives it just under five hours of direct sunlight per square meter, and that is a pretty solid potential to work with. And while Arkansas doesn’t have the kinds of aggressive benefits offered by states like California for homeowners and businesses who install solar power, the state does offer tax cuts, net metering, and other benefits that have enticed quite a number of people to embrace solar power instead of relying on more traditional coal and nuclear energy.
The numbers don’t lie, either. From 2013 to 2014, the amount of solar photovoltaic power in Arkansas increased by over 111 percent to 3.8 MWp. From 2014 to 2015, that number increased by over 400 percent to 20.1 MWp. While those might not be huge numbers, compared to what you see in some of the other states mentioned, it is clear that solar has taken root, and is growing in Arkansas. And it isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.
Going Green, Saving Green
Solar power is good for the planet. It reduces carbon emissions, uses a naturally occurring power source, it can be set up anywhere, and it can be scaled-up or scaled-down to generate power for single homes or on an industrial scale.
More importantly, though, solar power is decreasing in cost with every passing year. So as the benefits increase and the barrier to entry goes down, more people are investing in this form of renewable energy. And, of course, the more people who invest in solar power, the cheaper it becomes for those who want to take the leap the next year. As reliability is proven time and again, and the numbers are compared, solar is just the cheaper, more reliable way to go.
The fact that it’s also good for the planet is the main selling point for some people, and a fringe benefit for others, but whatever reason brings someone to the table, solar is definitely going up in Arkansas. And it isn’t likely to go backward, specifically because the cost is going down, and it is probably going to keep going down. Even if the state doesn’t introduce new standards which require a certain amount of energy to come from renewables (which it might do), and even if it doesn’t offer more incentives for adopting solar power (which is possible), the trend is definitely moving toward more solar, in more places. Because, at the end of the day, the solar industry is good for a place like Arkansas. It has potential to grow, and that potential isn’t going to stop anytime soon.