Oregon Solar Incentives for 2024

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    Oregon Solar Incentives for 2024

    Oregon solar incentives are some of the best solar incentives in the country. Oregon homeowners and business owners who install solar systems on their properties are eligible for federal, state, and local incentives that can significantly reduce the upfront cost.

    These new incentives have dropped the cost of installing a solar energy system to record lows. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of all of the Oregon solar incentives and discuss the Federal Tax Credit for solar.

    Energy Trust of Oregon Solar Incentives

    If you are a PGE or Pacific Power customer, the Energy Trust of Oregon will provide incentives for both solar and battery systems. These incentives are changing depending on funding and demand, so it’s best to check for current levels posted on the Energy Trust of Oregon website.

    At the time of writing this article, the PGE solar incentive is $400 and the Pacific Power Incentive is $450. For either utility, you can receive an additional $3,000 battery incentive. Additional incentives are available for income qualified customers through Solar Within Reach.

    Solar Within Reach

    ETO income-qualified incentive for Low-Income Households

    Unlike most Oregon solar incentives that are open to anyone, Solar Within Reach is for income-qualified households and provides an increased cash incentive for qualifying homeowners. The qualification limits are based on how many residents live in the home and the gross annual household income, see below:

    Household Size Gross annual income maximum
    1 person $62,530
    2 people $81,770
    3 people $101,010
    4 people $120,252
    5 people $139,492
    6 people $158,732
    7 people $162,341
    8 people $165,948

    If you fall below these annual income levels for your household, you’d qualify for the below incentives:

    Utility Incentive Requirements Battery Storage Incentive
    Portland General Electric $0.90/watt $5,400 maximum incentive per home $750/kWh, $10,000 maximum per home
    Pacific Power $1.00/watt $6,000 maximum incentive per home $750/kWh, $10,000 maximum per home

    Again these incentives are constantly changing based on funding and demand, so it’s best to visit the Solar Within Reach website for current incentive information. or contact us today to speak with an Oregon solar consultant at PowerNW.

    Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income Portland residents and this fund focuses on creating and contributing to clean energy projects, green infrastructure projects, clean energy job training programs, and programs that reduce greenhouse gas production and promote economic, social, and environmental benefits. 

    ODOE Solar and Battery Rebates

    The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) offers solar and energy storage rebates to all Oregon residents no matter your utility.  This program is highly variable and isn’t always available.  However, it just got approved for $10 million in additional funding.

    ODOE incentives are broken down into two categories and then two sub categories.  The first two categories are solar and storage.  Homeowners can receive up to $5,000 for solar projects (depending on the size) and $2,500 for storage projects for a total of $7,500 in incentives!

    The two sub categories are non income restricted and low to moderate income (LMI).  Both categories have a max of $5,000 for the solar incentive and $2,500, however, LMI customers can earn the solar incentives at a much faster rate.

    Let’s explain.  The standard, non income restricted incentive, is based on the size of the system at an incentive rate of $0.20/W DC.  If you have a 10,000 watt system or 10 kW system, that’d be $2,000 in incentives ($0.20 times 10,000 watts = $2,000).  To receive the full $5,000 incentive, you’d need to have a system size of 25 kW DC.

    Now, the LMI incentives are also based on the system size, but at a rate of $1.80/W DC.  As you can see, with the LMI incentive you can reach the max amount much faster, at a system size of 2.8 kW DC.  Anything above that and you’d receive the full incentive amount of $5,000.

    There is one additional group that qualify for increased ODOE incentives, which are homeowners who do not qualify for any electric utility incentives such as those provided by PGE or Pacific Power through the Energy Trust of Oregon.  For those customers, the incentive rate is $0.50/W DC.

    Details on the ODOE incentives can be found at Oregon.gov.

    Rebate Amounts

    ​​Customer Type ​Rebate Calculation
    ​Low- or moderate-income homeowners $1.80 per watt (DC) of installed capacity, up to 60% of the net cost* or $5,000, whichever is less.
    ​Homeowners not considered low- or moderate-income who are also eligible for an electric utility incentive ​$0.20 per watt (DC) of installed capacity, up to 40% of the net cost or $5,000, whichever is less.
    ​Homeowners not considered low- or moderate-income who are not eligible for an electric utility incentive ​$0.50 per watt (DC) of installed capacity, up to 40% of the net cost or $5,000, whichever is less.

    *ODOE defines the net cost of a system as the total of all eligible costs minus any incentive provided by an electric utility or by Energy Trust of Oregon.

    How to qualify Low- or Moderate-Income (LMI) incentives

    To qualify as a household with low- or moderate-income, the sum of all incomes in the household must be at or under the amounts listed below. All income earners residing at the place of residence, including all family members and roommates who are not related and not part of a separate lease agreement, must also be included in this metric.

    Household Unit Size Annual Gross Income* Monthly Gross Income*
    1 $52,110.00 $4,342.50
    2 $68,143.33 $5,678.62
    3 $84,176.67 $7,014.72
    4 $100,210.00 $8,350.83
    5 $116,245.00 $9,687.08
    6 $132,278.33 $11,023.20
    7 $135,285.00 $11,273.75
    8 $138,290.00 $11,524.17
    9 $141,296.67 $11,774.72
    10 $144,303.33 $12,025.28
    11 $147,310.00 $12,275.83
    12 $150,315.00 $12,526.25
    Each Additional Member $3005.00 $250.42

    *Gross Income means all household income before any deductions

    Federal Solar Tax Credit

    This incentive was extended by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

    There is a 30% federal tax credit for solar installations that expires at the end of 2032. It will drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034, before disappearing entirely unless Congress takes action to extend it. This new law supersedes an older law that would have provided a 26% credit in 2022 and 22% in 2023, but that is set to expire in 2024.

    How Does It Work?

    Let’s say you invest in a $24,000 solar system. If you owe $7,000 in taxes before the credit, you can subtract $7,200 (which is 30% of the system’s price) from your federal taxes. However, you can’t get a tax refund for the remaining $200, but this amount can carry forward into a later tax year.

    FTC Timetable

    Year Residential Commercial
    2021 to 2022 26% 26%
    2023 to 2032 30% 30%
    2033 26% 26%
    2034 22% 22%
    2035 + 0% 0%

    Net Metering in Oregon

    Net metering is incredibly helpful in terms of saving you money and shortening the payback period of solar energy systems. Not all states allow net metering, but Oregon has some of the most beneficial net metering policies in the country.

    When you install a grid-tied system, your local electric utility company will install a special two-way meter at no charge to you. This will measure both the power flowing to your home from the grid and the power flowing out of your solar energy system into the grid.

    If your solar energy system produces more electricity than you can use at any given time, the excess energy will flow into the grid and the utility company will then reimburse you for that power in the form of credits to your account.

    Homeowners often accumulate these credits during the sunny summer months and then apply them to their energy bills in the winter, when solar energy production is lower and the overall energy consumption is higher.

    For example, if your residential solar system generates as much energy as you use in a month, your net meter would read 0 kWh. This means that you would pay nothing to the utility company beyond the monthly base service charge, which is generally around $10-12 per month.

    However, if your home solar system generates more energy than you use in a month, your net meter will show a negative number. When this happens, your utility company will credit your account accordingly. If your system produces less than what you use in a month, then your net meter will show a positive number and you will only be responsible for paying that net usage amount.

    USDA REAP Grant

    The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for American Power Grant (REAP) is funded by the USDA and offers guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and small rural businesses that install or improve their renewable energy systems.

    The funding can be used for all sorts of projects, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, hydrogen, wind, solar, and ocean energy generation.

    Energy efficiency improvement projects are also eligible, such as improving insulation, replacing doors and windows, converting diesel irrigation motors to electric, installing solar sprinkler pivots, and installing high-efficiency HVAC systems.

    The program offers loans between $5,000 and $25 million with up to an 85% loan guarantee. Grants for renewable energy are available between $2,500 and $500,000, and grants for energy efficiency improvements are available between $1,500 and $250,000. There are certain qualifications that must be met for these loans. You can enter your business address here to check your eligibility.

    Other Local Utility Rebates Across Oregon

    Even if you don’t reside within PGE’s or Pacific Power’s service area, you may still be eligible for other local Oregon solar incentives and rebates:

    • The city of Ashland offers $0.50 per watt for homeowners who go solar, with a maximum rebate of $7,500.
    • The Eugene Water and Electric Board offers a $0.40 per watt incentive.
    • Salem Electric offers a $600 rebate for the first 3 kW of solar energy installed and $300 for each additional kW in your system.
    • Columbia County PUD offers a flat $1000 rebate.

    Is Solar Worth It In Oregon?

    Considering all of the incentives available, it is certainly worth it to invest in solar energy systems in Oregon. Despite the Pacific Northwest’s reputation for gray, rainy weather, the long sunny summer days provide ample sunlight for solar power generation.

    Plus, the mild temperature in the summer means that your solar panels will not suffer from diminished efficiency (which happens when the temperature exceeds 77 degrees). Mild summers also means less energy-hogging air conditioners working around the clock. Solar panel technology has also increased dramatically in recent years, allowing panels to capture even the most scattered light during overcast and non-summer days.

    As we’ve covered, Oregon has some of the best solar incentives in the country, including excellent net metering policies. These Oregon solar incentives reduce the upfront costs of installing a solar energy system and significantly reduce your payback period. Homeowners and business owners in Oregon can save an average of $800 per year on their electric bill just by installing a solar energy system.

    Reach out to us today to see what incentives would apply to your project and how quickly you can start saving money on your electric bill.

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