Net metering experienced its largest annual increase in 2019 according to a new report from the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA). During 2019, there was an increase of 812 net metering systems in Arkansas.

Reviewing the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s 2019, the AAEA found that there were a total of 2,320 net metering systems. By comparison, there were a total of 1,508 net metering systems in 2018. This marks a 58 percent increase in systems from 2018 to 2019.

“Advanced energy resources like solar are clear economic winners in Arkansas,” AAEA Executive Director Katie Laning Niebaum said in a statement. “We know these technologies provide careers, local community investment and energy savings in states that deploy them. The solar sector can maintain its role as an important economic driver in Arkansas – with tremendous opportunity ahead – if policies continue to align with solar’s economic benefits.”  

 The Solar Energy Industries Association defines net metering as a system that enables “residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity…to sell the electricity they aren’t using back into the grid.” Most of the Arkansas net metering systems are solar while some are solar-wind and some are wind-only.

Net metering has come a long way in less than a decade. In 2013, there were only 334 systems in Arkansas. This number increased by 22.2 percent, 20.6 percent and 28.7 percent in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

However, in 2017, the number of systems increased by 56.1 percent, rising to 988 systems in the state. From that year, the number of systems has risen in the 50 percent range annually. There was an increase of 520 systems in 2018 – an increase of 52.6 percent – before the 2019 increase.

Currently, individuals or companies with net-metering systems are able to receive a 1:1 retail credit for any unused power. The Arkansas Public Service Commission is expected to make a ruling on the state’s net-metering regulations in 2020.

“What a year for solar in Arkansas. The strong and reliable return-on-investment provided by a well-designed solar array continues to add value for Arkansans. We continue to push the boundaries on costs to better serve customers while supporting deployments of world-class technologies like WattGlass developed in Fayetteville. The current policies in Arkansas are effective at spurring investment in local communities and we hope that continues to be the case. We are focused on growing the team and expect even more interest in solar in the years to come,” Douglas Hutchings, chairman of Delta SunEnergy, said.