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Oregon Solar Power Facts in 2022

Oregon Solar Program

Oregon is not the sunniest state in the USA, but it ranks 19th by the solar power installed. Many rebates and a great net-metering policy for renewable energy generation make it easy and cheap to go solar in Oregon. If you would like to join many homeowners who decided on installing solar panels in this state, read on for more insight. 

Oregon Solar Energy Data

Oregon currently ranks 19th in the USA by the total solar capacity. Oregon’s commitment to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which mandates that 50% of energy should come in renewable energy, makes the state get closer to a carbon-neutral economy by leaps and bounds. RECs on many energy sources, not solar energy only, further incentivize businesses and homeowners to switch to renewables

The 1,172 MW of solar projects are enough to supply over 140,000 Oregon households and produce as much as 2.59% of the state’s electricity needs. The solar industry ensures that over 3,500 people are employed in the solar energy niche, so solar systems are also one of the moving forces behind the Oregon economy. More than 140 solar companies provide stable jobs that are expected to grow. 

This much growth, especially in the past few years, can be attributed to significant investments by the state and many solar rebate programs. So far, the Beaver State has invested over $1.8 Billion in installing solar panels. Furthermore, solar rebates and solar tax credits make it cheap to install a solar system. 

Oregon solar installation average cost has decreased by around 36% in the past five years. This means that an average 5 kW solar electric system will cost you anywhere between $12,000 and $16,300. These costs include the solar panel system, solar installer expenses, as well as permits, and all other expenses you may have to pay to install solar panels

Your solar installation costs are then recuperated through the tax credit incentives, solar power rebates, and significant savings on your electric bill. A 5 kW system can offset a minimum of 65% of the electric bill in an average Oregon home. Thanks to the rebates and the solar incentive programs, your initial solar costs can be very low so that your initial investment in a solar system can pay off in as little as seven years. 

Oregon Solar Statistics

DescriptionStatus
Oregon National Ranking19th
Solar Panels Installed(MW)1,172 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)+147,000
% of State's Electricity from Solar2.59 %
Solar Companies in the State141 (25 Manufacturers, 72 Installers and Developers, and 44 Others)
Solar Jobs Created3,502
Total Solar Investment in the State$1.8 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$12,000 - $16,300
Net 20-year savings$15,000 - $20,500
Average Payback Period7-10 years
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+ 65%
Number of Solar Installations+ 24,900

Source: Oregon Solar | SEIA 

Notable Solar Installations in Oregon

Due to a relatively low number of sunny days in Oregon, many solar contractor companies have invested in other states. The size of solar panels in California and solar panels in North Carolina speak volumes of how much energy you can get from having a solar electric system. Still, there are a few large-scale solar projects and solar milestone projects that show the forward-thinking attitude of Oregon fathers. 

  1. Open Range Solar Center LLC – the 10 MW solar system capacity can bring renewable energy to as many as 1,250 Oregon homes, 
  2. Old Mill Solar – established in Bly, this 5 MW solar project draws from renewable resources to supply 630 Oregon homes with clean electricity generation, 
  3. State Capitol solar electric system – although this is not a large-scale solar panel array, its significance is in the fact that Oregon is the first state to put a solar energy system on its State Capitol building, 
  4. Solar Highways – Oregon is the first state to combine solar panels and highways. The 104 kW solar panel project along the interchange of Interstate 5 and I-205 in Oregon was expanded by another 1,750 kW (1.75 MW) capacity back in 2012. The third project of this kind was a 3 MW solar highway project in West Linn. This was supposed to be the largest solar highway in the world. 

What is the Solar + Storage Rebate Program?

Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program applies to solar panel systems with a solar battery included. This Program issues rebates for residential customers and low-income service providers in the Beaver states. The rebates are not issued directly to solar customers but to solar contractors who can offer a much lower price for their solar systems. 

This rebate is available only to solar arrays, which are coupled with battery storage. To qualify, you must purchase both elements of your solar system from the same solar company. Existing solar installations which hope to benefit from the program by simply adding battery storage to their solar installation do not qualify for this rebate program. 

Am I Qualified For this Program?

To qualify for this program, you need to have real property in the state of Oregon. It would help if you also were planning to have your solar electric system installed by an ODOE-approved contractor. Oregon solar customers can see significant benefits from this program. 

Residential Solar Installations 

An Oregon homeowner is eligible for a solar incentive if they are determined eligible for one of the following Oregon Housing and Community Services programs: 

  1. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, 
  2. Oregon Energy Assistance Program, or
  3. Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program. 

You can check whether you are eligible or not by applying for Oregon Department Option 1 – Low- and Moderate-Income Residential Household Eligibility form.

You can also qualify for solar incentive programs if you are determined eligible for one of the following Oregon DHS or OHA programs: 

  1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 
  2. Oregon Health Plan (OHP) (Medicaid), or 
  3. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Check your eligibility by applying through the Oregon Department Option 2 – Low- and Moderate-Income Residential Household Eligibility form. 

You should prove that your income does not cross a certain threshold to qualify for a Solar + Storage Rebate for rooftop solar installations. For a single-person household, you should not be making more than $46,343.33 per year. For a four-member household, the total income in the household should not go above $89,120.00 per year. To see whether you qualify or not, fill out the Option 3 – Low- and Moderate-Income Residential Household Eligibility form. 

Low-Income Service Providers 

Any low-income service provider is eligible for Oregon solar incentive if they are eligible. Low-income service providers include: 

  • Developers and owners of affordable multifamily housing, 
  • Community service organizations, such as non-profits which offer dental, social, health, financial services or work in the energy conservation sector and aim their services to customers making less than the state median income by the household size, 
  • Tribal or local government entities that provide services to middle and low-income families and emergency shelter in force-majeure events. 

Who’s Funding The Program?

The Solar + Storage Rebate Program is fully funded by ODOE – Oregon Dpt. of Energy. This Department has released two buckets of $2,500,000 each for those who apply and have enabled a rebate reservation list for those interested in the program. 

The Solar + Storage rebates can cover as much as: 

  • 40% – for a household that is not considered low or middle income in the state of Oregon, 
  • 50% for a low-income service provider, and 
  • 60% for a low or moderate-income customer. 

These costs are only covered on the net scale. Any other incentive you may take is deducted first, and the ODOE incentives are applied as a percentage of what expenses remain. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems

If you want to tap into a renewable resource and install a solar system with a storage system, you can go solar in Oregon. Solar costs in this state have dropped dramatically over the past decade so that you can expect to pay anywhere between $2.16 and $2.92 per Watt DC installed. 

If you decide to produce your electricity, you can expect to pay a lower price for every kilowatt-hour of energy you produce. After the system has paid off, the energy is free, and you can save money much faster than by making a savings account in any bank. A solar panel is the surest investment into the energy-independent future of your household. 

Solar Panel Energy Production in Oregon

Solar Panels in Oregon experienced stable growth in the past two decades. Back in 2005, the state had barely 1.2 MW of total solar capacity. This capacity expresses the power of Grid-Connected PV solar panels only. As the solar industry in the state grew, the prices dropped, so, by the end of the decade, Oregon could boast 23.9 MW of solar power installed. 

The prices kept dropping as more solar installers entered the market and as the state encouraged net metering policies. Currently, Oregon has one of the best solar incentive programs in the country. Here, every kilowatt-hour you produce but do not consume is returned to you at a 100% retail rate, so there are no losses. 

Oregon Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

Oregon offers a lot of cash incentives and solar rebates for those who would like to go solar. The Oregon legislature passed means that all low and moderate-income households can apply for solar rebates. The state’s maximum rebate is up to 60% of net costs, with a limited capacity. Calculate the exact cost of your solar array and learn about the application process for each of these. 

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit 

Federal Tax Credits or Federal Tax ITC program allows you to get a solar rebate for 26% of your total costs. This is more than a quarter of the entire solar system and the best way to save money. You can roll over the tax credit for a period of up to 10 years and can apply it only to your federal tax. The program only makes sense if you make enough money to pay the federal tax dollar. 

Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit 

This is an older energy tax credit program that the Oregon state introduced several years back. All eligible households could get up to $1.70 per Watt of installed capacity back. The program ended in 2017 and was a big success. 

Solar Electric Incentive Rebate Program 

Customers of Portland General Electric or Pacific Power can also apply for an electric incentive program. The program pays $0.20 to $0.25 per Watt of installed power. The incentives are available only for solar owners, so no leased systems can be subsidized. For a 5 kW system, you can expect to get around $1,250 back. 

Local Utility Rebates 

Many electric utilities offer solar rebate programs. To see if your utility company wants to help you combat climate change, contact them and schedule an appointment with an energy advisor. The City of Ashland, for example, offers homeowners a cash rebate. The rebate can give back as much as $0.50 when going solar. 

Solar + Storage Program

This program can give back up to 60% of the net cost of your solar power system. The rate of return is calculated based on the income of your family and the size of the system and is calculated only on the net cost. 

In general, depending on how much energy you use, a 5kW system can satisfy around 65% + of your energy needs. Once you have your ideal size, you apply for all the solar rebates and incentives you want. The net cost that remains is the basis for the solar + storage program. 

Net Metering 

Solar Oregon is the future, and its generous net-metering policies make it easy to make the right decision. As approved contractors know, net metering programs in Oregon can substitute a costly solar battery. The Energy Trust of Oregon also advises installing a smart meter and using the benefits of net-metering this state provides. Under this policy, you can get 100% of the energy you supply to the grid back. 

DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at an average of $2.54 per Watt of Solar Installed$25,400 
The Federal Solar Tax Credit @26% by the end of 2022$6,604
Solar Electric Incentive Rebate Program @ $0.20 per Watt of DC installed$2,000
Ashland Local Utility Rebates @ $0.50 per W DC $5,000
Solar + Storage for a Low Income Household @60%$7,077
Net-Metering Savings per year$1,211 
TOTAL system cost for a 10kWh home solar system at the end of year 1$3,507 
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all Oregon solar incentives are taken 4 years

The total cost and savings are calculated for a 10 kW solar energy system for an Oregon resident living in Ashland who is considered a low-income household resident that pays Federal Taxes after using all solar incentives offered by the state, federal government, and the local utilities. 

Top Solar Companies in Oregon

With over 140 solar companies, Oregon is the place to be. When choosing the best solar company in this state, you should pay attention to their prices, experience, past reviews, and delivery times. Here is our list of top 10 solar companies in Oregon: 

  1. Energy Solutions, LLC, Oregon City
  2. A&R Solar. Portland
  3. Power NorthWest, Portland
  4. E2 Solar BendE2 Solar. BendE2 Solar. BendE2 Solar. Bend
  5. Sunlight Solar Energy, Bend
  6. SunShine Solar, Grants Pass
  7. Premier Solar NW, Portland
  8. Imagine energy, Milwaukie
  9. Abundant Solar. Corvallis
  10. Elemental Energy Portland

FAQsE2 Solar. BendE2 Solar. Bend

Is Solar good in Oregon?

Yes, solar is excellent in Oregon. Depending on your position and house orientation, a simple 5 kW solar system can offset at least 65% of your electricity bill. A larger PV system with a solar battery can easily offset 100% of your energy needs and provide power even during the night. 

Does solar make sense in Portland, Oregon?

Yes, solar makes sense in Portland, Oregon. Going solar can save you some cash, help combat climate change and even provide energy resiliency during blackouts. Depending on your system size and the budget, you can also decide to go off-grid in Portland. 

How much is the average power bill in Oregon?

The average electricity bill in Oregon is $100.50. A good solar array can help reduce this bill by at least 65%, saving you money and sparing the environment. Although the energy in Oregon is cheap, renewable solutions help this state reach its Renewable Portfolio Standard of 50% renewable by 2040. 

Which PG&E rate plan is best for solar?

PG&E TOU-B is the best energy plan for solar. It offers standard energy rates from 4 AM to 9 PM every day and offers off-peak rates from 9 PM to 4 AM. 

Conclusion

Oregon is on a good path to reaching its zero-carbon emissions plans. If you decide to go solar in Oregon, you will be able to do so at a very low cost since the state offers significant rebates and has an energy credit policy in place to help you get the most out of your solar PV system. To ensure you get what you pay for, always choose the best available solar installers and ask about solar rebates in your local municipality office. 

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