Oregon Utility Commission Offers 15 Year Solar Incentives Plan

Oregon may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of solar power, but the Beaver State has been making some big moves on solar energy recently, including the Northwest’s largest rooftop solar project, what is believed to be the world’s largest solar-powered highway illumination system, and even a solar hot water system at a prison in eastern Oregon. Now, the Oregon Public Utility Commission has announced that it will be offering incentive payments to residents who install a solar energy system after July 1st, 2010.

These payments–which do not include state tax rebates or Energy Trust of Oregon incentives [Editor’s Note: updated based upon information provided in comments below]–will pay Portland General Electric, PacificCorp and Idaho Power customers a guaranteed amount for 15 years, providing an opportunity to cover the cost of the solar energy system. Rates will be set at a fixed rate for small to medium-sized projects, with rates for large projects determined through a competitive bidding process.

OR_Solar_Highway

image via City of West Linn

These incentives are being offered as part of a pilot program aimed at creating more distributed solar energy systems in residential and commercial buildings throughout the service regions defined by the Commission, up to 2500 kW; the state legislature approved the pilot program to run for four years.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • bob valdez

      The article indicated that the recently-approved Solar Incentive program presumably could be used with Energy Trust incentives and/or state credits. This is NOT the case. They cannot be used with either. The program is designed to help pay down the cost of installing solar panels for residences and businesses soley with incentive rates for solar generation.

      I hope this helps. You can find links to the rules and more details at http://www.puc.state.or.us/

      thanks for your interest