Save up to $7,500 on home solar panels in Oregon with utility rebates
In addition to the 30% federal tax credit, Oregon residents can get additional savings on home solar from their local utility company.
There are numerous utility companies in Oregon, and many of them are offering substantial rebates on the installation of a home solar photovoltaic system. Here’s a complete list:
Ashland Electric Utility
If you live in the City of Ashland, the muncipal utility company will offer a rebate of $0.50 per watt to residential customers and $0.75 per watt to commercial customers for the installation of a photovoltaic system, up to a maximum rebate of $7,500.
This is a very substantial rebate, but does come with an important requirement. The proposed system must have a Total Solar Resource Fraction of 75% and no shading by a tree between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
TSRF is a measurement of how efficient a photovoltaic system captures the solar energy available to the site. Basically, it’s a measurement of shading. A system with zero shading would have a TSRF of 100%, while shaded systems would have lower values, depending on the severity.
If you’re wondering whether it’s smart to cut down branches or trees to improve your solar energy harvest, read our article on the subject.
Central Lincoln PUD
The Central Lincoln People's Utility District (PUD), which serves Coos, Douglas, Lane, and Lincoln counties, offers its customers a rebate of $500 per kilowatt (DC) of installed home solar, up to a maximum rebate of $2,000.
Columbia River People's Utility District (PUD)
Columbia River PUD offers a flat rebate of $1,000 to customers who install a home solar system. It’s a flat rebate because the value of the rebate doesn’t depend on the size of the system installed. Instead, any PV system installation will qualify for the $1,000 offer.
Eugene Water & Electric Board
The EWEB Solar Electric Program from the Eugene Water & Electric Board offers a rebate of $0.40 per watt (AC) on a home solar installation, up to a maximum rebate of $2,500.
Forest Grove Light & Power
Customers of Forest Grove Light & Power can get a rebate of $500 per kilowatt of installed home solar. The maximum rebate depends on the type of fuel you use for home heating. If you use an electric heat pump, the maximum rebate is $1,500. For other types of heating, the maximum is $1,000.
Customers of Lane Electric can get a rebate on a home solar photovoltaic system of $0.50 per watt (DC) up to a $1,000 maximum rebate.
Pacific Power also partners with EnergyTrust of Oregon to offer a rebate of $0.35 per watt to homeowners who install solar photovoltaic systems. The maximum rebate is $2,800.
Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric is partnering with EnergyTrust of Oregon to offer a rebate of $0.35 per watt to homeowners who install solar photovoltaic systems. The maximum rebate is $2,800.
Salem Electric, which serves Kaizer and Salem, gives its customers a rebate of $300 per kilowatt of installed solar, up to a maximum of $1,500. There is a caveat that rebates cannot exceed 50% of the total project cost, but realistically this limit would never be reached because the gross cost of any home solar system is going to be quite a bit higher than $3,000.
Umatilla Electric Cooperative
UEC gives a substantial rebate of $500 per kilowatt of home solar installed, up to a maximum rebate of $5,000.
General guidelines for solar photovoltaic rebates in Oregon
There are some great solar rebates from utility companies in Oregon. Not only are they worth thousands of dollars, but these rebates are on top of the generous 30% federal tax incentive. This means that now is a great time to go solar in Oregon.
Each utility company will have its own rules and regulations, so you must check with your utility company before starting work, or else you’ll risk not qualifying for rebates. However, the following general guidelines apply to all utlities:
- Notify your utility company before starting work. Your utility company must approve of the installation before you can start work. This will require an application to be filled out and a technical schematic of the proposed system.
- Work with a licensed contractor. The contractor who does the installation must be a qualified electrician. There will be inspections required, and work by a non-licensed professional will not pass. Self-installed systems will not qualify for rebates.
- Systems must be net metered. Fortunately, Oregon has a statewide net metering law. To qualify for rebates, systems must be interconnected with the grid. In other words, off-grid PV systems don’t qualify.
- Maximum system size is 25 kw. The average photovoltaic system is around 6 kw, so a 25 kw home solar system would be massive.
- Check for rebate enrollment limits. Most of these utility rebate program have limited budgets each year, and will stop offering rebates once the limit has been reached. None of the programs listed here have run out of their budgets yet, but check with your utility for the latest status.
Again, this is just a list of the few requirements that are common. Check with your local utility company for further details.
AC vs DC
Some of the rebates here specify the wattage ratings as AC or DC. For example, the Eugene Water & Electric Board rebate is $0.40 per watt AC, while Lane Electric has a rebate of $0.50 per watt DC. What’s the difference?
Solar panels generate electricity as direct current. So, when you see a solar panel advertised as 350 watts, that’s a DC rating.
However, the electricity your home uses is alternating current (AC). It’s the job of an inverter to convert the DC power from the solar panels into AC power that your house can use. Some electricity is lost in that conversion process because no inverter is 100% efficient.
Inverters do get awfully close, however. Most inverters that you see on the market range in efficiency from 95-99%. This means that if your utility company lists the rebate in AC watts, you can use the DC rating as a ballpark estimate. Once you have a proposal from your contractor that lists the specific model of inverter you’ll be using, you can look up the datasheet to find out its efficiency. If you’re not sure, you can simply deduct a couple percent off the DC rating to get a good enough estimate of the AC rating.
Use our calculator to figure out your incentives
The Solar Nerd calculator will ask you to select your Oregon utility company, and automatically calculate your solar incentives from the federal tax credit and your utility. This will give you a quick estimate of your financial payback period.
For a more comprehensive analysis, work with qualified Oregon solar installers to get detailed proposals. You can use our service to get quotes from up to three Oregon installers.