The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association in Little Rock is the newest member of the Solar Energy Industries Association of Washington, D.C., the national trade group advancing the American solar power industry.
As the national group’s 19th official SEIA state affiliate, the AAEA and its new executive director, Stephanie Osborne, will partner in “efforts to promote solar growth in markets around the country,” according to a joint news release.
SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper noted in a statement that these are hot times for solar development in the Southeast, and that her group is “thrilled to work with the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association to build a more robust market in Arkansas that competes with other states in the region.”
She said partnerships with state groups are crucial, adding that “partnerships like this one are critical for us to reach our bold goals as an industry, and together we’ll work on policy solutions that move us toward those goals, strengthen the economy and create well-paying jobs for workers in Arkansas.”
Arkansas ranks 33rd nationally with over 238 megawatts (MW) of installed solar electric generating capacity and is poised to add over 700 MW of new capacity over the next five years, according to an analysis by the SEIA.
The Arkansas group sees SEIA membership as an affirmation of its commitment to advanced energy businesses at the local, state and federal level, said Stephanie Osborne, the AAEA’s executive director since August.
“What’s great about the partnership is that it benefits not only AAEA members, but our entire state,” Osborne told Arkansas Business on Thursday. “It allows us to plug into a nationwide advocacy program and learn from the successes and pitfalls from other states.”
The idea is to continue moving Arkansas forward “as a proactive and forward-thinking state dedicated to clean energy, and a place where solar business wants to come and invest in long-term projects and relationships in the state.”
Companies like GM and Walmart are investing heavily in advanced energy projects in Arkansas, she said, adding that with “a well-respected national trade association like SEIA coming alongside to help guide our advocacy efforts, Arkansas is poised to be a true leader in the industry.”