Proposed Arkansas Bill Could Increase Cost of Solar Energy

Two Arkansas legislators have proposed a bill that would severely limit the ability for cities, counties, school districts and other organizations in the state to invest in their own solar power systems. If passed, the bill would eliminate the current 1-to-1 net metering compensation received by solar power users. The underlying contention is that this 1-to-1 net metering shifts costs away from solar users onto everyone else, making it an unfair advantage in favor of solar energy. Utilities have argued that this shift creates an increase in cost for those who are not taking advantage of investing in renewable energy options. In response to this proposed legislation, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association has brought together a coalition of 90 cities, counties, schools and farmers to oppose the bill – with big names like Baptist Health & Bank OZK providing support.

The solar industry has been vocal about its opposition as well, claiming that such legislation would be detrimental to future growth of renewable energy throughout the state and steadily raise electricity costs over time. Ultimately, opponents of the bill hope to find innovative solutions which are beneficial for all stakeholders involved – not just individuals or specific entities – and secure a better future for Arkansans. They strive to highlight some of the various environmental and economic benefits which can come with expanded use of solar panels for electricity generation. Should these benefits outweigh any additional cost associated with implementing 1-to-1 net metering policies? That is what Arkansans will need to consider moving forward.

In the meantime, it is clear that Arkansas legislators have their work cut out for them as they attempt to craft a solution which can benefit all stakeholders and promote renewable energy growth in the state. What’s more, this proposed bill could prove to be a major test case for other states considering similar policies. Time will tell if Arkansas legislators are able to find a suitable resolution. The outcome of this proposed bill is yet to be seen. However, one thing is certain: Arkansas legislators have taken a major step forward in the fight for renewable energy and are making strides toward creating an equitable solution for all stakeholders involved. It remains to be seen how this proposed legislation will change the future of solar power investment in Arkansas — and in other states — moving forward.

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