Portland, OR Solar Panel Guide

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    Portland Solar Panel Installation 101

    We at Power Northwest are proud to be the top Portland solar panel installation company. We are known for using the highest quality panels (Tesla solar roof is now available!) and stellar customer service. Because we want you as a Portland homeowner to be able to make an informed decision on solar which is why we put together this article with some solar basics for the area.

    How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

    There are a couple of different factors that impact how much energy a solar panel will produce. First is the wattage rating of the panel. Most residential solar panels are rated between 250 and 400 watts, which indicates how much energy they will produce under perfect laboratory conditions. However, conditions will never be perfect in real-world applications, so you can realistically expect a panel to produce up to about 90% of the wattage rating.

    The other big factor is, of course, the extent to which environmental conditions affect a panel’s output. Things like weather, amount of daily sun hours, air pollution levels, shading, the cleanliness of the panels, the angle at which they are mounted, and the tilt can impact the overall production of energy.

    Example

    To understand what this means in terms of your home, let’s look at an example. The average American household consumes about 10,680 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.  To completely cancel out that amount of consumption you’d be looking at a system size of about 9 kilowatts (kW).  Again, this depends on the home’s exposure and shading, but that 9 kW system should be able to produce about 10,700 kWh per year, completely canceling out the electrical usage for that home.  Now, a 9 kW system would require about 20-25 panels depending on the wattage of the panels, which would require about 350-450 square feet of roof space.  Do you have that much space?  

    Is Solar Worth it in Portland?

    Solar for homes in Portland can certainly be worth it. In fact, homeowners who invest in solar typically enjoy a 25-year savings of $20,000! The average payback period is 10-12 years, which means in that time span, you can save as much money on your energy bills as you spent on the system itself. You can recoup your investment in less than 12 years and then continue to enjoy free energy for the remainder of your panels’ lifespan – often 30-50 years in total.

    The average price for solar in Portland, OR cost per watt in Portland is $3.50/w, so our typical 9 kilowatt system would cost around $16,500. However, keep in mind that there are several solar incentives that can drop the initial cost of a solar panel system quite dramatically.

    Oregon Solar Incentives for 2024

    These incentives include the following offers:

    • Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) – The PCEF provides dedicated funding for climate action that advances racial and social justice. In 2018, measure #23-201 was passed with overwhelming community support and is predicted to bring $44 – $61 million in new annual revenue for green jobs, healthy homes, and a climate-friendly Portland. Read More: What is the PCEF?
    • Federal Tax Credits – This solar tax credit allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of installing your solar energy system from your federal tax liability amount. For the average 9 kilowatt system, this can be a savings of nearly $4,300!
    • Energy Trust of Oregon Solar Incentives – Customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power are eligible for their cash-rebates program of between $0.20 and $0.25 per watt when they install a solar electric system. This requires an Energy Trust Trade Ally to install your grid-tied system.
    • Salem Solar Incentives – Salem Electric offers a $600 rebate for the first 3 kilowatts and $300 for each additional kilowatt. The City of Ashland offers a rebate of $0.50 per watt and the Eugene Water and Electric Board offers $0.40 per watt. These rebates can knock anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 off the price of a 5-kilowatt system!
    • Oregon Net Metering – With net metering, you’ll receive credit on your utility bill for the extra energy that your solar energy system produces that isn’t used immediately in your home. This way, you can ‘bank’ unused power in the grid and use it later at no cost. Net metering helps keep your electricity bills low throughout the year, as credits can be rolled over to the winter months.

    Read More: All Incentives Available in Oregon

    Why Choose Power Northwest?

    At Power Northwest, our reputation speaks for itself – just take a quick look at what our previous customers have to say in our online reviews. Our customers are our top priority and we always treat them as such. Additionally, we are a local solar company so we are very familiar with local regulations and permitting processes.

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