KEY OREGON AND FEDERAL POLICIES IMPACTING SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
A variety of local, state, and federal policies guide solar development in Oregon. In many cases, multiple policies support a single solar project. Oregon was an early leader in solar deployment, ranking 9th in the nation in installed solar capacity in 2008. In recent years, however, Oregon has fallen behind. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Oregon ranks 20th in installed solar PV capacity.
If you live in Medford, Central Point, or Grants Pass, your incentives will differ from those offered to the residents of the City of Ashland. True South Solar takes great pride in advising our clients on all of the available incentives and helping you get the best price you can to go solar. This service is not offered by our competitors. Interested in learning more about what is offered to you? Give us a call today!
KEY OREGON SOLAR POLICIES
Solar + Storage Rebate
The State of Oregon offers rebates for solar electric systems and paired solar and solar storage systems installed for residential customers and low-income service providers in Oregon. Program funds are used to issue solar and solar storage system rebates, which are paid to the installing contractor of the system. Oregon homeowners can receive a rebate of up to $5,000 for a solar electric system and up to $2,500 for an energy storage system. The actual rebate is determined by several factors, including household income and the availability of other local rebates and incentives. Check out this informational handout.
In Oregon, homes and businesses may generate and consume solar power produced from onsite solar PV systems. Oregon’s net metering policy allows homes and businesses to offset their retail electricity purchases with solar power produced from onsite solar PV systems. Net metering customers use “bidirectional” electricity meters that run forwards when customers purchase electricity from the grid and run backwards when customers generate solar power. Net metering is one of Oregon’s most essential solar policies because it effectively enables citizens to produce power for their own consumption by offsetting their retail electricity purchases. Approximately 102 MW of distributed solar PV capacity is currently net metered in Oregon.
Energy Trust of Oregon Cash Incentives
PGE and Pacific Power residential customers are eligible to receive one-time cash incentives for solar PV installations. Businesses that are customers of these utilities can also be eligible for cash incentives to go solar. Incentive values vary by utility and system type and size. These incentives are funded through public purpose charges paid by PGE and Pacific Power customers, and thus are only available for those utilities’ customers.
Property Tax Policies
Under Oregon’s Alternative Energy Systems exemption, increases in property values resulting from the installation of onsite “alternative energy systems,” including solar PV systems, are exempt from the property’s assessed value for property tax purposes. More than 5,700 alternative energy projects have received property tax exemptions under this program. The property tax exemption is scheduled to expire in 2023. Through Oregon’s Renewable Energy Development Zone program, solar projects in designated counties may qualify for property tax exemptions for periods of three to five years. Oregon also allows solar project owners to enter into a “fee in lieu of property taxes” agreement with local counties. Under this agreement, the project owner agrees to pay the county $7,000 per megawatt of installed solar capacity on an annual basis for a period up to 20 years. Because the property tax exemption for alternative energy systems only applies to solar arrays that offset onsite electricity use, the payment in lieu of property taxes program helps reduce soft costs for utility-scale solar installations that do not offset onsite electricity use.
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that 50% of the retail electricity sold by the state’s large electric utilities must come from renewable energy sources by 2040. The utilities demonstrate compliance with the RPS by surrendering Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that are issued for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced by a qualifying renewable resource. Oregon’s RPS helps create a foundation for solar growth in Oregon by stimulating utility demand for renewable energy.
FEDERAL RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICIES
Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
The Federal ITC offers a tax credit of up to 30% of total project costs for eligible solar projects that commence construction prior to December 31, 2032. This credit was renewed and increased as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The ten-year extension of this tax credit will greatly expand the adoption of solar as a mainstream source of energy over the decade.
Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA)
The federal government enacted PURPA in 1978 to support independent electricity production from “qualifying facilities” (QFs), which include small renewable power producers. 27 PURPA directs utilities to 1) purchase electricity from these QFs, 2) connect the QFs to the electricity grid, and 3) compensate QFs for power purchases at rates that do not exceed the utilities’ own avoided costs.28 Under PURPA, Oregon’s investor-owned electric utilities must enter into contracts to purchase output from qualifying solar power producers at the utilities’ avoided cost rates.
WANT HELP APPLYING FOR THESE BENEFITS?
Helping our clients apply for and receive credits is what makes True South different. We go the extra mile for our clients to ensure each person receives every available dollar available to help make going solar as affordable as possible. Interested? Contact us today to get a free quote for your home or business.