Arkansas Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Arkansas solar panels:

  • What the process of going solar looks like in AR
  • How much you can expect to pay for panels in the area
  • Solar incentives available to help reduce up-front costs and save you more over time
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How to Get Solar Panels in Arkansas

When you’re ready to install solar on your property in AR, you can get started by reaching out to a local installer for a solar quote. The sales representative will assess your energy needs and property conditions and then pass off your file to the design team to come up with an appropriate solar power system size and panel arrangement.

Next, you’ll settle on a financing option — cash, loan, solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) — and make payment. The installation team will then pull permits for your equipment, install the solar energy system, commission it and then schedule inspections to close out the building permits.

Investing in a solar energy system in AR is almost always financially beneficial. Not only will panels boost your property value, but the majority of solar customers in the Natural State will also see energy savings that total over $15,500.

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Seal Solar

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

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Average cost

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Pros

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available
  • No leases or PPAs
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SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

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Average cost

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Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

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What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Arkansas?

The going rate for photovoltaic (PV) equipment in AR is around $2.54 per watt. This is lower than the national average cost of $2.66, which makes AR a relatively affordable place to go solar. After the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is taken, the total system price comes out to an average of $19,558.

The federal tax credit can save you thousands come tax season
The federal tax credit can save you thousands come tax season.
Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Your panels are expected to save you money every month on your energy bills. Over time, the energy savings usually pay off the entire system — this is referred to as the solar panel payback period — in around 13 years in Arkansas. This is just slightly above the U.S. average of 12 years.

You can get more information on local panel costs and expected savings by reading our guide to pricing out PV equipment in AR.

The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Arkansas

Thanks to the booming solar industry in Arkansas, residents have plenty of options when it comes to panel brands. The brand you choose will affect your system efficiency, your price, your warranty and how long your equipment will last.

Below are some of the most popular panel brands installed in AR. All of these have lengthy warranty coverage that provides peace of mind through the extreme weather in the Natural State.

  • Maxeon (previously SunPower)
  • Tesla
  • Panasonic
  • Qcells
  • REC
  • Canadian Solar
  • Mission Solar
  • Trina Solar

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Is Arkansas a Good State for Solar Panels?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Arkansas ranks 30th in the nation in terms of solar adoption.1 However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great place to install solar. In fact, there are a few factors that make solar an outstanding option for most residents, including:

  • Plenty of sunshine: Photovoltaic panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity, which means areas with more sunny weather will get more value from solar PV systems. AR residents enjoy an average of 217 sunny days every year, which is above average in the U.S.2 This means that homeowners in AR see greater energy production — and, therefore, more savings — than most Americans.
  • Above-average energy needs: AR property owners pay lower electricity rates than individuals in most other states. However, they also consume more energy than average — 1,060 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month as opposed to 893 kWh.3 Areas with above-average energy consumption rates have more electricity to offset with solar systems, which makes them more valuable and profitable in the long run.
  • Frequent power outages: As mentioned above, AR is prone to some severe weather events, including tornadoes, snowstorms and extreme thunderstorms.4 These conditions put the electric grid at risk of outages, which leaves homeowners in the area without electricity sometimes for long stretches. Solar systems that include solar batteries in addition to panels and inverters can bring your home off-grid and maintain electricity even during blackout conditions.

arkansas solar panels

  • Below-average equipment costs: Finally, AR residents enjoy below-average solar equipment costs. The U.S. average for panels is around $2.66 per watt, while the average in AR is $2.54, so solar is more affordable in AR than in most other states.

How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Arkansas?

It’s helpful to know how much electricity your solar system will generate for your home. Once you know your production rate, you can figure out what size system you need to keep costs down and still offset your electricity bills.

Unfortunately, estimating production is challenging because there are several things that affect your rate of energy generation. These include:

  • Your access to sun: Unimpeded access to solar energy is ideal for solar conversion. Many homes in AR, though, have shading on their roofs from trees, nearby structures and even utility poles and electric wires. Any shading on your roof can cause your production to dip, especially if the shade occurs in the peak sunlight hours.
  • The direction your home faces: Since the sun travels across the southern part of the sky in North America, southern-facing roofs (angled toward the sun’s path) are best for production. These receive the most intense sunlight, which translates to the highest level of energy generation.5 West- and east-facing roofs can also work, while northern-facing roofs typically don’t.
  • The local weather: Just like trees and buildings can block available sunlight, so can clouds and inclement weather. Your system’s efficiency can drop to around 10% if heavy cloud coverage rolls in. Average weather conditions in your area are usually used when calculating your ideal system size.
  • The number of panels you have on your roof: Systems fitted with more panels will always generate more energy than ones with fewer panels. Just keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to solar arrays.
  • The panel efficiency: The brand of panels you install on your roof can also affect production rates. High-efficiency panels will utilize more of the available sunlight and provide more solar electricity for your home. In fact, if you opt for high-efficiency panels, you might even need a smaller system overall.

Estimating your expected solar production is challenging, but you can use the table below to get an idea of what to expect from different system sizes in AR.

Solar Power System Size (in kilowatts) Expected Daily Energy Produced Expected Monthly Energy Produced Expected Annual Energy Produced
8 kW 26.6 kWh 800 kWh 9,600 kWh
9 kW 30 kWh 900 kWh 10,800 kWh
10 kW 33.3 kWh 1,000 kWh 12,000 kWh
11 kW 36.6 kWh 1,100 kWh 13,200 kWh
12 kW 40 kWh 1,200 kWh 14,400 kWh
13 kW 43.3 kWh 1,300 kWh 15,600 kWh
14 kW 46.6 kWh 1,400 kWh 16,800 kWh

Feel free to use our solar calculator to get a better idea of your expected system efficiency. This takes your location and property conditions like roof orientation and shading into account to estimate how much electricity panels on your home will provide.

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Solar Panel Policy History in Arkansas

Part of the reason solar adoption has been so slow in AR is the lack of available solar incentives and the lack of pro-solar legislation. However, there have been some policies and laws put into place in the state that have helped expand the local solar industry.

First, in 1977, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Energy Conservation Act. This legislation allowed the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to push for further energy efficiency laws and rebate programs.

In 2002, Arkansas adopted net metering a program that is hugely beneficial to all solar customers. Arkansas’ first net metering policy left a lot to be desired, but it was updated in 2007 to allow more customers to take advantage of interconnection. In 2013 it became mandatory for all utility companies to offer net metering to their customers.  

The policy was amended again in 2015, but only to increase the cap for commercial solar customers.

It wasn’t until 2010 that the PSC implemented the Sustainable Energy Resources (SER) Action Guide. This program, which was meant to push for more sustainability in the state, incentivized investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to reduce sales of natural gas and electricity that wasn’t generated from renewable energy sources.

Finally, in 2013, Arkansas passed legislation that made Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing available to residents throughout the state. PACE financing helps keep solar accessible by providing loans with low interest rates and low-money-down options.

Arkansas has yet to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal. Historically, these goals have done wonders to push local solar industries forward in other states and have made a slew of benefit programs available to customers as well.

If the Natural State sets an RPS goal in the future, chances are high that additional pro-solar policies will be put into place.

What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Arkansas?

With the lack of an RPS goal and firm pro-solar legislation in AR, residents only have access to a handful of perks. We’ll discuss each of these and how they affect the cost of solar panels below.

  • Federal solar tax credit: The federal tax credit — often referred to as the ITC — is a credit that you get for installing solar. It gets applied to your income tax liability for the year your home solar panel system is commissioned. The ITC is for 30% of your entire system cost and averages out to around $8,382 in AR.
  • PACE financing: This program provides accessible solar financing to customers looking to decrease their reliance on fossil fuels. The loans come with long terms and low annual percentage rates (APRs) to help keep long-term financing costs down.
  • Net metering: Net metering is a billing policy mandated in AR that requires all utility companies to credit customers for excess energy produced by their panels. All credits are provided at the retail rate for energy, which is the ideal situation for this perk. Plus, credits roll over for two years before they lose any value.

You can check out our guide to solar benefit programs in AR for more information on these and other local perks in your area.

Find a Local Installer in Arkansas

Choosing an installer for your solar project is one of your most important decisions when making the switch to clean energy. Deciding which is best for your needs and budget can take some intensive research and effort.

Below, we’ll provide some links to solar installation company reviews in some of the major cities in AR to help you narrow down your options.

Aerial view of Little Rock, AR
Credit: Nicholas Henderson / Flickr

Best Solar Providers in Little Rock

Street view of downtown Conway
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Companies in Conway

Downtown Bentonville in AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Bentonville

Lake Ann in Bella Vista, AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Bella Vista

Beautiful far-off shot of Fayetteville
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Fayetteville

Street view in Springdale, AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Springdale

North Little Rock and the Arkansas River
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in North Little Rock

City Hall in Jacksonville, AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Jacksonville

Street festival in Rogers, AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Providers in Rogers

Main Street in Pine Bluff, AR
Credit: WikiMedia / WikiMedia

Best Solar Installers in Pine Bluff

If you need additional company recommendations or you live outside of these major cities in AR, you can check out our guide to the top solar installers in AR.

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Blog author image
Dan Simms
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.

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