Oregon Solar Incentives: Tax Credits & Rebates Guide (2022)

By Jon Jachura

Although some states are more solar-friendly than others, each offers different solar incentives for homes and businesses. In this guide, we cover the specific solar incentives provided in the state of Oregon. These include:

  • Why a solar system installation makes sense
  • Rebates that will save you money on your solar energy system
  • Tax incentives that help make a solar system more affordable

For the most part, Oregon is very solar friendly, and combining its incentives with federal ones puts a new solar system in closer financial reach for Oregon residents.

Why Go Solar in Oregon?

Solar panel installation has higher than the average cost in the United States. While the cost per watt is lower, the total price is higher because Oregon gets less sun and thus needs more panels to produce the same amount of energy as states with more sunshine. Typically the cost for an Oregon solar system ranges from $18,000 to $34,000, making it difficult for many homeowners to afford.

However, Oregon offers immediate rebates, incentive programs, and tax exemptions that can make a solar system much more affordable. In addition, the large Federal Solar Tax Credit makes it even more financially viable.

Besides the energy savings and lower electric bills, solar is a great way to go green and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you can use the extra electricity your solar system makes as credits to future utility bills with net metering.

Oregon Solar Cost

The Beaver State does not get much sunshine throughout the year, averaging just 159 sunny days each year. This means Oregon residents must get more panels to collect enough energy. As such, solar system costs are also a bit higher, ranging from $18,000 to $34,000, depending on size and energy requirements.

However, since Oregon is so solar-friendly, the state has plenty of rebates, like the Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program, and other incentives to help offset these costs and make it more affordable. Combined with the Federal Solar Tax Credit, Oregonians can save over $10,000 on the cost of a new solar system.

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How Much Can You Save on Solar in Oregon?

Many residents in Oregon are saving several thousand dollars to over ten thousand on a new solar energy system, thanks to the state’s generous rebates and the Federal Solar Tax Credit. Along with these two significant incentives, there are several more initiatives that Oregonians can use to further reduce the cost of their solar system.

The Best Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, & Rebates in Oregon

Incentive Summary End Date
Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) Oregon residents receive the Federal Solar Tax Credit and up to 26% provided back in their next federal tax return. If the solar system costs $20,000, you get a federal credit for $5,200 when you file your taxes. But, you have the total cost (minus other state rebates) upfront. December 31st, 2023 (reduces to 22%, expires in 2024)
Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program A rebate from the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) of up to 40% of the total solar system cost (capped at $7,500). None
Solar Within Reach A rebate for low-income residents of $1.40 per watt (capped at $8,400) or $0.70 per watt (capped at $4,200) for PGE and Pacific Power utility companies, respectively. None
Solar Electric Incentive Program A local rebate the PGE and Pacific Power electric companies offer – $1,200 and $900, respectively. None
Net Metering Net metering allows homeowners to use excess solar energy as a credit on their next power bill. All Oregon power companies provide net metering. None
Oregon Property Tax Incentive Your property taxes do go up when you install a solar energy system. Instead, your property taxes are based on the previous value of your home. None

Before you purchase an alternative energy system, do thorough research first. Some rebates and incentives require small but essential steps to ensure you get the total reduced price and savings. Always follow the requirements to a T to get the full incentives and rebates.

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

All 50 states, including Oregon, are eligible for the Federal Solar Investment Tax credit, which gives you a discount on your solar system purchase on your next federal tax return. The program’s current maximum tax credit allows you to receive up to 26% of the cost of your solar installation back. However, you must pay for the upfront cost of the solar system, and the 26% savings will come back to you as part of your tax return. This means you will have to come up with significant cash upfront, but it will be returned within a year or so.

Oregon residents should know that the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) is dropping from 26% to 22% a the end of 2023. Then, the bill will completely expire in 2024 unless the federal government votes to extend it. The incentive reduction and subsequent expiration is a good reason to install a solar system before then. Remember, you can always combine the ITC with other incentives to keep your costs as low as possible.

Oregon Solar Sales Tax Exemption

As most Oregon residents know, the state has no sales tax. This means solar customers in Oregon are at an advantage, as they will not have to pay sales tax on their new solar energy systems.

Oregon Solar Property Tax Exemption

Solar panels will increase the value of your Oregon home. And since property taxes are based on a small percentage of your property’s value, they would normally go up too. However, since Oregon has a tax exemption on solar systems, you will not owe extra property taxes. For example, suppose the value of your home was $450,000 before and $475,000 after the solar panel installation. In that case, your county will calculate your property taxes using $450,000 (not $475,000).

Oregon Net Metering

Along with its great rebates, Oregon has a fantastic net metering policy too. Net metering helps Oregon residents reduce or in some cases, eliminate their electricity bills. Even if you have the most efficient solar panels, they won’t provide you with enough energy on cloudy days or at night. That’s where net metering comes into play – the excess energy you produce on sunny days is banked with your power company. Then, this banked energy is credited to your electric bill at the end of the month. And unlike many states, Oregon provides credit for the extra energy at the full retail rate.

Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program

The ODOE (Oregon Department of Energy) provides solar rebates to residents and business owners for the installation of solar panel systems and solar battery storage systems. The company that installs your solar panels can get this rebate and provide you with the savings. The full rebate amount is 40% of the total cost, up to $7,500. Most solar installations are eligible for the entire $7,500, given the average cost is higher than $18,760.

Solar Electric Incentive Program

The Solar Electric Incentive Program is a local rebate the two major power companies offer. Customers of Portland General Electric (PGE) can get a $1,200 rebate, and Pacific Power provides a $900 one. In both cases, you must pay for the solar system installation with cash or a solar loan (not a solar lease) to qualify for the rebate.

Solar Within Reach

The Solar Within Reach program in Oregon helps low-income to moderate-income residents gain access to solar power. The program provides energy credits to PGE customers of $1.40 per watt (up to $8,400) and Pacific Power customers of $0.70 per watt (up to $4,200) for qualifying customers.

Commercial Oregon Solar Incentives

Businesses in Oregon have plenty of solar incentives and rebates that they can access too. Often, it is even easier for them to get subsidies. Since solar and other energy efficiency improvements, like geothermal, are so costly, it leaves a lot of room for savings.

Solar Incentives for Nonprofits and Businesses in Oregon

There aren’t any specific solar incentives for nonprofits in Oregon. However, several government and commercial saving plans are around to help nonprofit organizations afford solar. Plus, nonprofits and businesses have eligibility with ITC and the Oregon state cash incentives to lower their solar installation and interconnection cost.

USDA REAP Grant

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) assists agricultural producers in their switch to renewable energy. It aids them in obtaining loans for clean energy systems, such as solar. To receive assistance with loan financing, the Oregon business must provide its contact information to the USDA.

REAP provides resources not just for farmers but also for small businesses in rural areas that want to install or upgrade renewable energy sources. And the best part is that these businesses don’t have to find or negotiate their own funding. All they need to do is submit their solar project plan to the USDA, which will apply all the available grants.

Federal Solar Tax Credit for Businesses in Oregon

Businesses in Oregon are eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit. They receive a 30% tax credit toward the cost of installing a new solar energy system. And given that businesses generally require larger PV systems, these savings can equate to tens of thousands of dollars.

While the Federal Solar Tax Credit is a fantastic way to save money on solar energy, it won’t be around forever. The rate will drop from 30% to 10% in 2023 and expire entirely in 2024. If you’re an Oregon business owner, the best take to take advantage of this rebate is now.

Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program

Oregon homeowners aren’t the only ones that qualify for Oregon’s Solar + Storage rebate program. Oregon-based businesses that purchase a new solar electric system can also access the 40% credit (capped at $7,500).

Key Takeaways: The Best Oregon Solar Incentives

Oregon provides many state-level solar incentives that its residents can use to reduce the cost of their new renewable energy systems. Since installing a photovoltaic system is a major financial decision, the state’s incentives paired with the ITC make it an easier choice. Solar should continue to become more affordable as time goes on. But with the federal incentives lowering and expiring in a few years, now is the best time to take full advantage of the rebates to get the best net cost.

Oregon Solar FAQ

Is solar worth it in Oregon?

Yes, solar is an excellent investment in Oregon. The state offers a rebate program that credits you 40% of your total system cost (up to $7,500), plus you receive 26% of your solar system’s cost back on your next federal tax return. Additionally, solar systems increase the value of your home, and you will not have to pay extra property taxes as a result. Besides incentives, installation savings, and additional rebates for residential customers, a solar system greatly reduces your energy costs.

How much will my electricity bill go down with solar in Oregon?

The amount your solar system offsets on your electric bill depends on the size of your solar array and how much electricity you use. However, the average solar customer in Oregon reduces their energy bill by 60% to 80%.

How much does it cost for solar panels in Oregon?

Solar panel prices have fallen over the past decade and are now more affordable than ever. The average solar customer in Oregon spends $18,000 on their solar energy system. However, with solar incentives, the cost is much lower. After solar rebates and tax credits, the average Oregon solar customer pays around $6,000 total after state and federal rebates and incentives.

Can you get solar panels for free in Oregon?

No. While solar incentives in Oregon make solar systems more affordable, there is no program that provides solar panels for free. Some solar leasing programs may appear to be free, but in reality, you are just paying for the solar panels through your solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA).

What solar rebates are available in Oregon?

Oregon solar customers are eligible for a solar rebate that covers 40% of their solar system cost (up to $7,500). This rebate is available through the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE). The major Oregon electric utility companies, Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power, offer a $1,200 and $900 rebate, respectively.

Additionally, for low-income families, the Solar Within Reach program provides a $1.40 per watt (up to $8,400) and $0.70 per watt  (up to $4,200) rebate for PGE and Pacific Power customers, respectively.

Lastly, Oregon residents can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit too – 26% off their purchase price when they file their taxes.

How many homes in Oregon have solar panels?

As of 2022, there are over 20,000 solar installations in Oregon, which seem small compared to other states. However, with Oregon’s great rebates and the price of solar systems falling, the number of solar installations will continue to climb.

Do solar panels increase property taxes in Oregon?

No, solar panels don’t affect property taxes. In Oregon, solar panels are considered “green energy improvements” and thus increase the value of your home without increasing your property taxes.

How much can you write off for solar panels on taxes in Oregon?

The state of Oregon does not have any tax write-offs for solar system installation. However, you can claim a 26% credit on your federal tax for the total price of your solar energy system.

House Method’s Solar Companies Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.

Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its own solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.

Trust (10): What do customers say after their solar panels are installed? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.

Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.

Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.

Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.

Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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