Good Energy for Oregonians

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Make it real +save 80%

There’s never been a better time to go solar for your home or business. It makes energy sense.

  • Reduce project costs by up to 80% with incentives and tax credits
  • Access affordable financing with GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank
  • Enjoy free, reliable energy
  • Be an energy leader

We make it easy

Four Oregon organizations have teamed up to help Oregonians learn about and install solar energy systems:

Solar Oregon – solar workshops, tours, and education

Oregon Department of Energy – state tax credits and list of tax credit-certified contractors

Energy Trust of Oregon – financial incentives, quality assurance and referral to qualified solar trade ally contractors

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability – customer service, information and resources for City of Portland residents

The Solar Now! campaign sponsors—Solar Oregon, Oregon Department of Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon and City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability—do not install solar energy systems or equipment. This work is done by independent businesses that are solely responsible for the quality and performance of their installations.

Easy Steps to Solar

  • Get educated! Attend a free solar workshop.
  • Consider your budget, roof life and sun exposure.
  • Get bids from several solar contractors.
  • Select a contractor.
  • Sign a contract with your contractor.
  • Choose your incentives
    • For solar water or pool heating, you are eligible for an Energy Trust incentive*, state and federal tax credit.
    • For solar electric, you are eligible for a federal tax credit plus either a) an Energy Trust incentive and state tax credit or b) a feed-in-tariff payment for 15 years.
    • Your contractor will submit the application to Energy Trust or your utility to secure your cash incentive or feed-in-tariff reservation.
  • If installing solar electric, sign a net-metering agreement with your electric utility. Your contractor will provide the form.
  • Your contractor installs your system.
    • From the time you select your contractor to installation completion usually ranges from two weeks to two months.
  • If applicable, complete and submit the application for your Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit. Your contractor will provide the form and assist you.
    • Oregon Department of Energy will provide you with a tax credit certificate for your files.
  • Complete IRS Residential Energy Credit Form 5695 to submit with your federal tax return.

Paying for Solar

A typical solar water heating system costs $6,500–$10,000, before incentives and tax credits. Solar pool systems typically range from $3,000-$9,000. For a solar electric system, the cost depends on the size of the system and the ease of installation, with an average cost range of $6,000–$8,000 for each kilowatt (kW) of capacity, with an average size of 3 kW. However, incentives and tax credits can cover up to 80% of the cost.

Energy tax credits are available for residential taxpayers through Oregon Department of Energy and the federal government. In addition, cash incentives are available from Energy Trust of Oregon for eligible Oregonians. Water heating incentives are available to Oregon customers who heat their water with electricity from Portland General Electric or Pacific Power or gas from NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas. Solar electric incentives are available to Oregon customers of PGE and Pacific Power.

New in 2010, Oregon customers of Pacific Power, Portland General Electric and Idaho Power may opt to use an incentive called the feed-in-tariff, in lieu of an Energy Trust incentive and state energy tax credit.

If you are located in an area not served by any of the utilities mentioned above, cash incentives, rebates and financing may still be available to you. Go to Solar Oregon’s incentives page to learn more.

Financing
If the upfront cost of solar seems daunting, consider turning that into monthly payments with affordable financing. Check out GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank (an Equal Housing Lender). GreenStreet Lending offers preferred loan rates with no fees, no closing costs and flexible terms when you work with an Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor.

3rd Party Owned Options
Some companies may offer to install a solar electric system on your property and lease it to you or sell you the solar power it generates. This gives you option to enter into a lease or solar power purchase agreement in lieu of purchasing a solar electric system outright. Any additional energy you need that isn’t provided by the solar panels, you purchase from your electric utility as usual.

Depending on the company, you may pay nothing or a small fee upfront to have the system installed. Because the solar company pays for the equipment and installation, the company owns the system and receives any incentives or tax benefits the system may be eligible for.

Cost examples
The following treatment of tax incentives does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid IRS penalties. The prices listed below are examples only.

  • Solar Electric System
  • Solar Water Heating

Solar electric system—3,000 watts
Portland General Electric customer

$20,250
Total installed cost*
– $5,250
Energy Trust incentive ($1.75/wattDC)
$15,000
Amount homeowner pays to contractor
– $4,500
Federal tax credit (30% of $15,000)
– $6,000
Oregon tax credit ($2.10/wattDC, up to $6,000)
$4,500
Final cost to homeowner

* Solar electric system costs vary and depend on size. Typical systems range from $6,000–$8,000 per kilowatt installed.

Solar water heating system—saves 2,200 kWh/year
Pacific Power customer

$8,500
Total installed cost*
–  $880
Energy Trust incentive ($0.40/kWh)
$7,620
Amount homeowner pays contractor
– $2,286
Federal tax credit (30% of $7,620)
$5,334
Net system cost
– $1,320
Oregon tax credit ($0.60/kWh)
$4,014
Final cost to homeowner

*Prices for solar water heating systems typically range from $6,500–$10,000.

Tax credits, incentives and financing
Oregon and federal tax credits and Energy Trust incentives are subject to change. Please visit each organization’s Web site to learn the most up-to-date information.

  • Solar Electric
  • Solar Water
    Heating
  • Solar Pool
    Heating
Solar electric

Tax credits
Oregon: $2.10 per wattDC, capped at $6,000 ($1,500 claimed per year over 4 years).
Federal: 30% of installed cost less cash incentives Cash incentives and rebates
Energy Trust incentive
Up to $20,000, based on size of the solar electric system
PGE customers: $1.75 per wattDC
Pacific Power customers: $1.50 per wattDC
Other utility incentives: vary by utility

Feed-in-Tariff
PGE customers: Oregon Solar Payment Option
Pacific Power customers: Oregon Solar Incentive Program

Financing
Take advantage of low-interest rate, no-fee financing with GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank (an Equal Housing Lender).

Solar water heating

Tax credits
Oregon: $0.60 per kWh, capped at $1,500 or 50% of net system cost, whichever is less. Net system cost is the installed cost less cash incentives and federal tax credit.
Federal: 30% of installed cost less cash incentives

Cash incentives and rebates
Energy Trust incentive
Up to $1,500, based on rated annual energy savings
Electric hot water: $0.40/kWh (PGE/Pacific Power customers)
Gas hot water: $0.30/kWh (NW Natural/Cascade Natural Gas customers)
Other utility incentives: vary by utility

Financing
Take advantage of low-interest rate, no-fee financing with GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank (an Equal Housing Lender).

Solar pool heating

Tax credits
Oregon: $0.15 per kWh, capped at $1,500 or 50% of net system cost, whichever is less. Net system cost is the installed cost less cash incentives.
Federal: No federal tax credit available for pools

Cash incentives and rebates
Energy Trust incentive
Up to $1,500, depending on the energy savings and back-up fuel source.
Gas from NW Natural/Cascade Natural Gas: $0.10 per kWh
Electric from PGE of Pacific Power: $0.07 per kWh
Other utility incentives: vary by utility

Financing
Take advantage of low-interest rate, no-fee financing with GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank (an Equal Housing Lender).

Choosing a Solar Contractor

Many reputable solar contractors provide services in Oregon. Energy Trust maintains a list of licensed solar trade ally contractors, which is available at www.energytrust.org. Oregon Department of Energy maintains a list of tax credit-certified solar technicians at www.oregon.gov/ENERGY. Many state-certified solar technicians are also Energy Trust trade ally contractors. Energy Trust solar trade ally contractors can offer low-interest rate financing with GreenStreet Lending.

Tips for evaluating bids

Make sure the bids you receive are based on the same criteria. Where the system will be installed, the hardware used and warranties can all affect price. Solar water heating system bids should estimate the energy the system will save annually in kilowatt hours or therms. Solar electric system bids should state system size in watts or kilowatts, and estimate the electricity the system will produce yearly. Both should include all costs associated with the project, including hardware, installation, permitting and warranties.

1The contractors on these lists are trained to meet program requirements and complete incentive and tax credit applications, but neither Energy Trust nor the State of Oregon endorse or guarantee their performance. It is your responsibility to interview and select your contractor carefully.

2Get bids from several solar contractors contractors (they must be listed with Energy Trust if applying for cash incentives or GreenStreet Lending financing and with Oregon Department of Energy if applying for tax credits).