The complete list of Oregon solar incentives and tax credits for 2023
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Oregon gets about the average amount of sunshine in the U.S., but its solar incentives are far from average. The state offers its own rebates, with some cities and utilities also offering thousands of dollars to homeowners who go solar.
There’s also no sales tax in Oregon, a property tax exemption for solar, and generous net metering rules.
No wonder Oregon shines when it comes to installed solar capacity! Homeowners in the Beaver State were especially industrious in 2021, installing almost 50 megawatts of rooftop arrays, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
|Solar rebates in Oregon||Oregon state, some cities and utilities provide rebates of up to $7,800 for home solar and storage installations|
|State sales tax exemption||Oregon has no state sales tax and the exemption applies to solar arrays|
|Oregon property tax exemption||Oregon offers a property tax exemption for value added to a home by renewable energy systems such as solar panels. This exemption is set to expire in mid-2023, however|
|Net metering in Oregon||Oregon mandates that all utilities offer net metering and pay full retail rate for excess energy exported to the grid|
|For Eugene, OR residents||The City of Eugene offers an additional solar incentive through the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB). This program provides qualifying customers with a rebate of $0.40/watt up to a maximum of $2,500|
Solar rebates in Oregon
The Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program gives rebates for solar electric systems and paired solar and storage systems. The rebate is issued to contractors, who pass on the savings to residential customers and low-income service providers. 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.
Low- or moderate-income homeowners receive rebates of $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 but who are eligible for an electric utility incentive receive a rebate of $0.20 per watt (DC) of installed capacity, up to 40% of the net cost or $5,000, whichever is less.
Homeowners who aren’t considered low- or moderate-income but who can’t also claim a utility rebate can claim a state rebate of $0.50 per watt (DC) of installed capacity, up to 40% of the net cost or $5,000, whichever is less.
Rebates are paid directly to your solar contractor, meaning they charge you less for your installation overall. Your contractor must be approved by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), however, and must reserve the rebate before starting construction or installation.
Note, too, that to be eligible for the solar and storage rebate, you must have both installed at the same time by the same ODOE-approved contractor. If you add on storage after, this won’t be eligible for the rebate.
Utility rebates for solar in Oregon
Oregon utilities also offer a Solar Within Reach program where low-income families can receive rebates from PGE and Pacific Power when they install solar. To qualify for this program, homeowners must meet the following income thresholds:
|Household size||Gross annual maximum income|
The rebates from PGE are $1.30/watt to a maximum of $7,800 per home. The rebate used to be $1.40, to a maximum of $8,400, demonstrating the step-down of this solar rebate program in 2022.
For Pacific Power customers, the rebate remains $1.00/watt, up to a $6,000 maximum per home.
City solar rebates in Oregon
The City of Eugene offers an additional solar incentive through the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB). This program provides qualifying customers with a rebate of $0.40/watt up to a maximum of $2,500.
The fund was oversubscribed in 2022 and EWEB added funding on June 2, 2022, to extend the program. However, the budget of $225,000 was once again fully allocated as of August 9, 2022, meaning no further rebates are available through this program this year.
SRECs in Oregon
Oregon enacted its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2007. At that time, the state only produced 2% of its electricity from renewable sources. In March 2016, the state’s legislators passed Senate Bill 1547, which increased the RPS requirement to 50% from renewables by 2040.
While this sounds like it should create a great market for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) in Oregon, there’s actually no solar carve-out in the RPS. As such, utilities continue to use mainly hydropower and wind to meet their RPS requirements. In fact, in some utility territories, more than 90% of consumer electricity comes from hydropower. Statewide, Oregon gets more than 40% of its electricity from hydropower.
State sales tax exemptions in Oregon
There is no state sales tax in Oregon, so no need to exempt solar installations from such a tax. This helps Oregonians save a chunk of money upfront on the cost of installing residential solar.
State property tax exemptions in Oregon
Oregon offers a property tax exemption for value added to a home by renewable energy systems such as solar panels. This exemption is set to expire in mid-2023, however.
Homeowners must apply for the exemption through their county assessor on or before December 31 of the year in which they installed solar. You’ll need to list the nameplate capacity of your installation and confirm that your array is intended to offset your onsite electricity consumption.
Oregon also offers a program where those installing solar for a community project or other offsite use (such as a farmer investing in agrivoltaics) can pay a fee in lieu of property taxes. This is charged at $7,000 per megawatt. For a 50 kW array, this amounts to about $350 annually in additional taxes.
Net metering in Oregon
Net metering is mandated by law in Oregon, with utilities required to pay retail rate for excess energy exported to the grid.
Despite the name, Idaho Power offers net metering options for customers in Oregon. This utility operates under different rules to other Oregon utilities, though, as it serves eastern Oregon.
Portland General Electric offers net metering, as does Pacific Power. Both credit excess energy at full retail rate. As per Oregon Public Utility Commission rules, any excess credits remaining at the end of the annual billing period are allocated to the company’s low-income assistance program.
Final thoughts on state solar incentives in Oregon
Oregon is a fantastic place to go solar. Homeowners can still enjoy massive rebates from both the state and utility companies, as well as no sales tax. Both help to lower the upfront cost of going solar in Oregon by thousands of dollars. Add the federal tax credit for solar, a state property tax exemption, and net metering and you’ve got a recipe for serious savings from a rooftop array.
Even with the low cost of electricity in Oregon, homeowners can expect a relatively short payback period for solar. Why? Because the financial incentives for rooftop solar in the state are so robust. Don’t dilly dally, though. Those solar rebates are already stepping down and are fully subscribed every year, and the property tax exemption is also set to sunset in mid-2023.