The state of Oregon has taken a very aggressive approach to supporting conversion to solar energy, and this is reflected in its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The state has mandated that large utility companies must source at least 25% of their energy production from renewable sources by the year 2025, with medium-sized companies required to source 10% by that time, and smaller-sized companies responsible for just 5% at the target date. This is both a sensible approach, and a strong indication to public utilities that solar power and renewable energy sources are a big part of Oregon’s future.
How homeowners can go solar in Oregon
If you would prefer to pay a monthly fee for lower electricity sourced from solar energy, you can lease a new solar system from either the utility company or a third party provider. Your monthly payment will also include an installment payment covering the cost of the equipment and all setup costs, and over time this will still be a lower charge than if you had paid for electricity on the grid that entire time.
The biggest return on investment however will come from the outright purchase of a solar panel system, despite the fairly high cost of the equipment and installation. That’s because after the installation costs, there are very few ongoing costs associated with the system, so you will easily recover your investment by not having to pay exorbitant electricity bills for 20 or 25 years. If you don’t have a big cash payment on hand for installation, you may be able to take out a home equity loan that will allow you to take advantage of the savings.
Oregon rebates and incentives for going solar
The Oregon Energy Trust works with several state utility providers to offer substantial rebates to homeowners installing solar panel systems. The amount of these rebates varies between $2,000 and $8,000, depending on which of the companies does the install for you. The only downside to accepting this awesome rebate is that the utility company would then own your Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which are essentially proofs of solar energy generation that can be used to show compliance with the state’s RPS mandate.
If you don’t accept a rebate, you retain rights to the SRECs and would be entitled to sell them to a utility company each year as your solar panel system generates electricity. Before you accept any rebate, make sure you determine whether it is more to your advantage than retaining the SREC credits yourself.
Oregon also offers homeowners a $6,000 tax credit on the installation of solar panel systems, although it breaks down the payments to you in $1,500 increments over four successive years.