Updated Jan 10, 2023
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Although some states are more solar-friendly than others, each offers different solar incentives for homes and businesses. This guide covers the specific solar incentives provided in the state of Oregon. Read on to learn more about the incentives and tax rebates available to those who install solar panels on their homes and to find out if going solar makes sense for you.
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.
Solar panel installation is 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 your solar system’s extra electricity as credits to future utility bills with net metering.
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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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.
|Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC)||Oregon residents receive the Federal Solar Tax Credit and up to 30% provided back in their next federal tax return. If the solar system costs $20,000, you get a federal credit for $6,000 when you file your taxes. But, you have the total cost (minus other state rebates) upfront.||December 31st, 2032|
|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 go up when installing 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.
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 30% of the cost of your solar installation back. However, you must pay for the upfront cost of the solar system, and the rebate 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.
Though the ITC had been set to expire in 2024, a provision of the Inflation Reduction Act extended this 30% rebate through the end of 2032.
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.
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).
Along with its great rebates, Oregon has a fantastic net metering policy. 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.
The ODOE (Oregon Department of Energy) provides solar rebates for installing solar panel systems and battery storage systems to residents and business owners. The company that installs your solar panels can get this rebate and provide you with savings. The full rebate 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.
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. To qualify for the rebate, you must pay for the solar system installation with cash or a solar loan (not a solar lease).
The Solar Within Reach program in Oregon helps low-income to moderate-income residents access 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.
Businesses in Oregon have plenty of solar incentives and rebates that they can access. Often, it is even easier for them to get subsidies. Since solar and other energy efficiency improvements, like geothermal, are so costly, it leaves room for savings.
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.
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. In order to receive assistance with loan financing, the Oregon business must provide its contact information to the USDA.
REAP provides resources for farmers and 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 funding. All they need to do is submit their solar project plan to the USDA, which will apply all the available grants.
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. All non-tax-exempt businesses are now eligible for this rebate through the end of 2032.
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).
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.
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 energy costs.
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%.
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 after state and federal rebates and incentives have been applied.
No. While solar incentives in Oregon make solar systems more affordable, no program 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).
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.
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.
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.
The state of Oregon does not have any tax write-offs for solar system installation. However, you can claim a 30% credit on your federal tax for the total price of your solar energy system through the end of 2032.
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