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House Overwhelmingly Passes Solar Access Act (SB 145)

Solar Access Act will create more local jobs, provide more options to consumers and is good for birds and the environment.

Little Rock, AR – Today the house passed the Solar Access Act (SB 145) 83 Yays to 5 Nays. The bill was introduced by State Senator Dave Wallace (R-Leachville) and State Representative Aaron Pilkington (R-Clarksville). It has gained a broad base of support ranging from companies like Walmart, Target, Mars & Unilever to the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association; from the Arkansas General Contractors Association to both the UALR Young Democrats and College Republican chapters. Support for solar also comes from some local favorite spots such as Damgoode Pies, Community Bakery, Stone Mill Bread, and Pack Rat Outdoor Center.

The bill will:

- Allow for third-party purchasing which allows a resident or business to host a solar energy system
- Increase the solar size limit
- Adds grandfathering provision to protect customers who adopt solar from future rate structure changes that would decrease the value of their investment

Senator Wallace applauded today’s house vote and said “Today is a great day for Arkansas and a big win for Arkansas consumer.”

“Today, marks a new path for Arkansas’s energy future.  People and businesses alike have more options to support cheap, clean and environmentally friendly solar energy.  This bill is a win-win and we look forward to working to build off this success in the future,” said Gary Moody, Interim Executive Director with Audubon Arkansas. “In Arkansas, we have the opportunity to be a leader in the solar industry and SB 145 is a step in the right direction. We want to thank Senator Wallace for introducing this bill and all of our members and volunteers for supporting this issue.”

Yesterday, dozens of Audubon members and supporters from across the state travelled to the Capitol to advocate for solar energy for Audubon’s Day at the Capitol. They delivered over 2000 petition signatures, over 60 local business sign ons, and sent in over 50 handwritten letters to the Governor all in support of the Solar Access Act.  

Arkansas ranks 11th in the nation for its solar potential and nearly last in its infrastructure. Policies for solar in the Natural State have not been updated in nearly 20 years. 

“It’s time that Arkansas gets up to speed,” said Lincoln Combs, an Audubon volunteer from Northwest Arkansas who met with his representatives yesterday. “As home to the first ever congressionally preserved piece of land and the first national river, Arkansas should be a leader on environmental issues, but we haven’t been.  SB 145 is a great step in that direction.”

Over the last few months, Audubon Arkansas has engaged long-time and new members around Solar Access. As Audubon members, they want to protect habitat for birds and other wildlife.  They see Audubon’s role in a clean energy future as vital to protecting key habitat for native species to be enjoyed for generations to come.          

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