Oregon solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels
Benefit from a PV system
5.32 hours of peak sunlight
Oregon offers a decent amount of sunlight – enough to substantially offset your electricity bills
The utility company will buy the excess electricity your PV modules generate, reducing the bills by more than 60%
3 years payback period
A solar power system in Oregon pays for itself a couple of times during its lifespan
Reduce the cost of your system by 26%
No down payment and low interest rates with Florida PACE Program for energy-efficient upgrades
Save up to $2,000 more
Depending on your utility, you can get a maximum rebate of up to $0.25/watt
Oregon #14 in the US
- $47 341/year Average savings from going solar in Oregon
- 10 932 kWh/year Average electricity consumption of a FL household
- 8 011 kWh/year AC energy output of a 5 kW solar system installed in Oregon
- 11 ¢ /kWh The cost of electricity today in Oregon
- 23 ¢ /kWh The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years
- $0.69/WAverage gross price of a solar power system as of May 2021
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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Oregon you need to know
Return 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to claim 26% of the cost of their solar power system installed until 2022 as an income tax deduction. For example, if your solar system costs $20,000, you are eligible for $5,200 (26% of the total gross cost) in tax credit. Solar system cost comprises not only the money spent on solar panels, but also freight shipping costs, professional installer fees, tools bought or rented and so on. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.
Sell excess electricity with Net Metering Program
Solar laws in Oregon oblige all utilities and electric cooperatives to offer Net Metering. It allows residential solar owners to put the excess electricity into the utility grid instead of storing it with batteries. When you sell your solar power to the grid, you receive kWh credits that can be used to offset your next bills. Once every year all unused credits will be transferred to the utilities’ low-income assistance programs. There are slight differences between the state’s two largest utilities and smaller local providers.
- Pacific Power and PGE provide more than 70% of Oregon’s electricity. They both grant kWh credits and direct unused funds to assist low-income households once a year.
- Smaller local players may use different approaches to net metering. For example, the City of Ashland buys the remaining kWh credits instead of using them for other purposes, while EWEB uses net billing, compensating their customers at a rate of $0.036/kWh.
Save additional $300 to $1,000 a year trading RECs
Renewable Energy Credits are certificates granted to any person or entity upon generation of each MWh of clean electricity. Unlike with Net Metering, you don’t need to sell any electricity to get credits. The value of RECs is always changing, which makes them similar to stock market assets. Based on the available data, selling RECs could mean anywhere from $300 to $1,000 annually for a 10 kW solar system. To participate, first you may want to contact the Oregon Public Utilities Commission for relevant details. After that, you can create a REC account with the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) to begin storing and selling your credits.
Save additional $2,000 with Energy Trust rebates
This program allows you to claim $0.20 or $0.25 per watt depending on your utility company: Portland General Electric’s clients are luckier than those serviced by Pacific Power. Their maximum incentive is also twice as big, reaching $2,000. If you qualify, you can take part in a variation of this program called Solar Within Reach. To participate, your income has to be below a certain level depending on the number of family members. Your home must belong to one of the types listed on the program’s page. In case of success, the incentive grows to $0.90 and $1.50 per watt for Pacific Power and Portland General Electric clients respectively. The maximum amounts are limited to $5,400 and $9,000. All paperwork will be handled by your contractor.
Freeze your property tax with Renewable Energy Systems Exemption
A solar PV system installed in a home increases its value by about 4%. This would mean higher property taxes in other states, but not in Oregon. According to the state’s legislature, any increase in property value caused by the installation of renewable energy equipment, including solar PV systems, may not be considered for the purposes of taxation.
Protect your solar panels from shade with Solar Easements
A solar easement contract is a written agreement between you and another party, for example, your neighbor. This type of contract helps to ensure that your PV system will always have adequate sun exposure, protecting you from potential obstacles. It is voluntary, but can not be cancelled unless a specific clause is included in the document. Once signed, it is tied to the land, not the owner.
Install your solar panels in Oregon with no worries
It is legal to install solar panels on your house in Oregon. The state has several laws to protect its residents from unreasonable restrictions, including those implemented by homeowners associations (HOAs). Thus, any prohibition shall be considered unlawful. The legislation grants HOAs the right to place size or aesthetic requirements, but only if they are sensible.
Something you should remember:
- The state doesn’t allow HOAs to prohibit or significantly restrict installation of a solar system in Oregon.
- Aesthetic, placement and size requirements are legal as long as they have a good reason to back them up.
- In Oregon, a solar permit is necessary to operate a PV system. Normally, this process is handled by your contractor.
- Individuals involved in the installation process must hold a licence.
Solar panels help Oregon survive wildfires
Oregon is among the top 10 states with the highest risk of wildfires. These natural disasters go hand in hand with strong gusts of wind and power outages. Solar panels are able to go through it as they can withstand even hurricanes, and they certainly come in handy in case of a blackout. Year 2020 brought one of the worst wildfires in Oregon’s history. Thousands of homes were left without electricity due to infrastructural damages or controlled blackouts. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, extreme weather events occur more often and gain in intensity – yet one more reason to consider going solar.