LITTLE ROCK (June 1, 2020)– This afternoon, the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s (PSC) issued a long-awaited ruling that will retain the full retail credit for all residential and business customers with solar installations up to 1 Megawatt through the end of 2022.
The ruling was the final order in the PSC’s multi-year docket to determine the future of customer-owned solar compensation. Audubon Arkansas has participated as an active stakeholder advising the PSC since the beginning of the docket in 2016, calling for market choice and fair treatment for Arkansans who wish to install solar at their homes and businesses.
“While we are still sorting through the details, it appears to be a big victory for solar in Arkansas,” said Gary Moody, National Audubon Society’s director of state and local climate strategy and an Arkansas native. “Throughout this process, Audubon delivered hundreds of pages of evidence from national experts and thousands of comments from Arkansans who wanted Arkansas to live up to our potential as a solar energy leader. Today’s decision rejects utility efforts to undermine solar’s financial viability in Arkansas. The commission has created a stable environment for Arkansans who want to go solar.”
The ruling locks in a 1:1 net-metering credit for the next two-and-a-half years, and after that puts the burden on utilities to prove the need for any future changes. It also guarantees 20 years of a 1:1 net-metering rate grandfathering for customers who adopt solar before December 31, 2022. The ruling also provides a pathway for large customer-owned solar from 1 MW to 20MW with the inclusion of a “grid charge” initial set to $0 but adjustable through future proceeding.
In addition to stimulating the economy and creating jobs, opening up the market for solar energy will also benefit Arkansas’s environment by protecting our wildlife and preserving our natural resources.
“By creating smart clean-energy policies, we protect birds and the natural habitats they need,” said Moody. “To protect Arkansas’s birds we must clean up the ways we make and use energy, and the ability for Arkansans to choose to affordably install solar on the roof of their homes or businesses is a critical part of that solution.”
In March of last year, the Arkansas State Legislature, with overwhelming, bipartisan support, passed the Solar Access Act of 2019 (Act 464). The Solar Access Act, crafted and supported by an Audubon-led coalition, established a gold standard for Arkansas solar energy by opening up the state’s market and providing more choices for consumers.
“While it may not be perfect, the PSC’s ruling is tremendous news for Arkansas consumers and businesses alike,” said Moody. “Equally important, this ruling carries forward the positive momentum achieved by the passage of the Solar Access Act. We appreciate the diligent work of the PSC and the leadership of Chairman Thomas through this process.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
About Audubon Arkansas: Audubon was established in 2000 as a state office of the National Audubon Society. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at ar.audubon.org.