Do not be deceived by some of our rainy cloudy days. Oregon has as many sunny days as the national average. There is 590 MW* of solar currently installed in the state, as of 2019, which is enough solar energy to power 74,185 homes (*SEIA statistic).
Germany has been a leader of solar photovoltaic installations (now ranked 6th in in the world) and does not come close the number of sunny days we have in Oregon. In fact, their sunniest day still produces less solar electricity than our cloudiest areas of Oregon.
Does solar work in Oregon?
Yes! Solar absolutely works in Oregon. Some parts of the coastline may not be the sunniest places in the state, but most areas have great solar production. Your home must meet certain criteria, but if you are a good candidate, you will be producing clean renewable energy in as little as 30 days and will continue to produce for decades into the future.
What incentives are available for Residential Solar installation in Oregon?
Federal Tax Credit: 30% federal tax credit. Since the utility incentive is a rebate paid directly to the contractor, the tax basis for the homeowner is calculated less the utility incentive from total system cost.
Utility Incentives: Some utilities offer cash incentives for going solar that help reduce the customer's out-of-pocket cost.
For residential customers of PGE and Pacific Power, there are cash incentives available through the Energy Trust of Oregon.
For some other utilities, there are cash incentives available directly through the utility.
EWEB: $0.40 per watt up to $2,000 maximum (*Note: this is calculated on the AC side and not the DC like other utilities)
Salem Electric: $300 per kilowatt up to $1,500 maximum, cannot exceed 25 kilowatts
Central Lincoln PUD: $500 per kilowatt DC up to $2,000 maximum. Addition of Battery Storage (to any generation system): $2,000
Other utilities may also offer cash incentives. Net metering policies vary among utilities. Some offer kilowatt credits, while others will buy back your power at either the wholes sale rate or the retail rate.
**Not all utilities offer cash incentives. The incentives are available as long as there is funding and are subject to change.
What incentives are available for special qualifying categories that do not fall in Residential Solar or Commercial Business?
The Energy Trust of Oregon has created new categories to help businesses that are not for profit and do not have the large tax incentives available. They have created higher incentives for Solar for Tribes, Affordable Housing and Non-Profit Businesses.
See the incentives listed in the table above.
What incentives are available for Commercial Solar installations in Oregon?
Oregon State Tax Credit: No Incentives currently available. However, sometimes there are special grants or loan programs available through the Oregon Department of Energy.
Federal Tax Credit: 30% federal tax credit.
Accelerated Depreciation:You can depreciate the solar electric system you place into service for your business using the five year MACRS depreciation schedule. Accelerated depreciation rules allow 85% of the tax basis to be depreciated over a 5-year period (where any unused depreciation can be carried back 2 years and forward 20 years) on a 200% declining balance basis. This means that the 85% of solar PV system costs that a business can depreciate are not spread out evenly across the 5-year depreciation period; instead, the business is allowed to deduct a larger portion of this amount in earlier years, giving it the benefit of a greater immediate reduction in federal tax liability.
Utility Incentives: For customers of PGE and Pacific Power, there are incentives available through the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Click here to use the Energy Trust Commercial Solar Calculator to see the solar incentive based on system size installed.
Although PGE and Pacific Power have the best utility incentives for commercial projects in Oregon, other smaller utility companies may also offer solar incentives. Call us today to find out if your utility offers a commercial solar incentive.
**The incentives are available as long as there is funding and are subject to change.
What incentives are available for Agricultural and Rural Businesses?
In addition to the commercial incentives available, there are USDA grants and loan guarantees available for agricultural and rural businesses. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems.
To qualify for the REAP, you must be an agricultural producer with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations and small businesses in eligible rural areas.
The following funding is available:
Loan guarantees up to 75% of the total eligible project costs
Grants for up to 50% of the total eligible project costs
Combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs
Note: Open for Fiscal Years 2023 & 2024 Application Windows: June 30, 2023 September 30, 2023 December 31, 2023 March 31, 2024 June 30, 2024 September 30, 2024
How long does it take to install solar?
It takes about 3-8 weeks on average from contract signing to installation. There are many moving parts to getting a solar project built. We handle every aspect of the project from initial sight evaluation through your system being turned on. We coordinate all of the paperwork needed and secure the necessary permits for building your project. Certain times of the year, our project timelines may increase.
I live in an HOA, can they deny a solar installation?
No. Oregon has adopted laws to prevent them from doing so. However, we do need to submit the proper paperwork to them and they may make small requests, such as painting the conduit black to match the roof.
Does solar work if the power goes out?
Not typically for a grid tied system. If the grid goes down, your system goes down. Enphase has a Sunlight Backup option available. This will allow you to tap into your solar power during the day when the sun is shining. It is not a battery so it will not help you at night. If you would like to fully power your house day or night if the power goes out, then a grid hybrid system might be the solution for you. There are many battery manufacturers to choose from. Both of the inverter manufacturers we like to recommend (SolarEdge and Enphase) have battery systems available.