What Solar Incentives are Available in Oregon?

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There has been a big drive toward sustainable energy from local governments right up to Washington DC. In 2022, The Biden-Harris Administration announced a set of new initiatives to encourage wider solar energy generation. The aim is to create a net-zero electric grid by 2035.

Oregon itself has also set targets for renewable energy. The Renewable Portfolio Standard states that 50% of all electricity used in Oregon must be generated from renewable sources by 2040.

To help Oregonians achieve this, there are a number of incentives put in place to reduce the cost of solar panel installations. Paying for a PV solar system is out of reach for many people, so any financial incentive is to be welcomed. But, what assistance is there for residents of Oregon when it comes to solar system installations?

Are there any incentives to install solar systems?

Before looking at Oregon solar incentives at a financial level, it is worth considering other reasons for installing a PV system.Aside from cost savings, there are multiple incentives for installing solar power, and these include leaving the planet in a healthier state for future generations. The world has relied, overly so, on fossil fuels for too long.

About 61% of the US’s electricity is generated through the use of fossil fuels. When these are burned they release emissions into the atmosphere. This leads to acid rain, climate change, and air pollution. Electricity generation also causes thermal and water pollution and creates waste.

Fossil fuel consumption will one day come to an end as the reserves run out. This should be incentive enough to switch to a more sustainable energy source. However, the cost is simply too much for many Americans today.

What solar incentives are there for anyone in Oregon?

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to lower the price of solar panels in Oregon now. The Energy Trust of Oregon is in place to help residents save money on their utility bills, and they have some incentives to help lower-income families achieve this.

They actively encourage solar usage with incentives, as does the local government. Here are some solar incentives that are available in Oregon now.

Federal tax incentive

This particular incentive is countrywide and not particular to Oregon. Nevertheless, it is a serious incentive for anyone wishing to install a solar panel system.

If you install solar, you will receive a tax credit. This credit is currently 30% of the cost of your solar installation and will be credited to your federal tax liability the same year you buy your solar panels.

The average cost of a PV system in Oregon is between $12,600 to $17,000. Therefore, you could get a tax credit of around $5,100 on a larger installation. Although a Marketwatch report puts the average tax credit at $7,410 in Oregon.

There was a residential energy tax credit specific to Oregon previously, but this ended in 2017. There are, however, several other ways to save money on solar power systems.

No sales tax in Oregon

Many states across the US have a sales tax exemption program operating for solar panels. Oregon though doesn’t need to have this exemption in place as it doesn’t have a state sales tax.

Oregon is one of just 5 states that don’t have a state-wide sales tax. Therefore, solar panels in Oregon should be less expensive than in a state where sales tax is levied.

Rebate program for solar-generated electric

There is a program in Oregon that lets some residents benefit from using solar power. To qualify though you need to be a customer with one of 2 utility suppliers. If you are a patron of Pacific Power you can get a rebate on your solar system worth $900. If you are with Portland General Electric you can get a rebate worth $1,200 upfront.

Solar Within Reach program

The Oregon Department of Energy also helps customers of PGE or Pacific Power if they are on lower incomes. The rebate available to low or moderate-income homes is up to 60% with a cap of $9,000.

Alternatively, if you still feel that a solar panel system is out of your reach, there are several green energy providers in Oregon. This way you can use electricity that has been generated through hydropower or solar.

Property tax exemption

Oregon is one of the many states that don’t impose property tax rises after solar panels are installed. Unfortunately, you’ll have to be quick if you wish to take advantage of this.

This tax exemption is stopping around mid-2023. But, not everyone wants to install solar panels on their roof. Or perhaps they just aren’t ready for the investment needed yet. There are options though to benefit from solar power and offset some energy costs. For instance, there are great ways to use solar lights around a home, and many gardens are lit this way without the need for electricity, or messy cables.

Solar power is being harnessed in many ways now, from RVs to camping showers and even on wristwatches. So, if you want to be greener you can use solar-powered devices.

Other utility rebates

If you are not a customer of those utility suppliers mentioned previously or aren’t in their area, there are other rebates available. It could be worth switching to a different supplier if you are planning to install solar panels, as some utility providers are offering generous rebates when you do.

Salem Electric offers up to $1,500 to offset the costs of your solar installation. Eugene Water and Electric Board go further with rebates of up to $2,500. The amount you receive with these rebates depends on how many kW you install.

Net metering

One of the advantages of installing solar panels is that you will make your home more sustainable. This can lead to the added side benefit of raising the value of your home.

Anyone who looks at your home will immediately realize that they won’t need to pay high electric bills or have to install solar panels as you already have. This makes a home easier to sell. But, while you are living there you can benefit from another incentive called net metering.

Some solar systems don’t generate enough electricity to completely run a home off the grid. Yet, many solar systems generate more energy than is needed. When this occurs, you may be able to earn credits from it.

Depending on which utility company you use, you might be able to sell your unused electricity to them. This will result in some form of a credit to your utility bill. The amount you receive will vary from one utility supplier to the next, but it is possible to collect the full retail value of your excess electricity.

Summary

Incentives and rebate programs come and go, so it’s worth investigating what is available in your region. Oregon is favorable for anyone who wishes to install solar power and has several incentives in place. However, there are schemes across the country to help push homeowners toward more sustainable energy.

Residents who live in rented accommodation are often the least likely to have a solar-powered home. But, by switching to a green supplier even renters can avoid fossil-fuel-powered electricity.

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