2019 Guide to Energy Trust of Oregon Solar Incentives

Official logo for being a Solar Trade Ally.

Official logo for being a Solar Trade Ally.

Getting Started With ETO Solar Incentives

So you’re interested in cash incentives to save money and energy today? Then let’s talk about the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) solar cash-incentives and other Oregon solar tax credits. For people planning to carry out new home construction or any major renovations in the Portland, Oregon area, there are commercial and residential incentives for you being offered by ETO.

In most of the state of Oregon, solar cash-incentives for solar panel systems are provided by the Energy Trust of Oregon. They are also the state's largest provider when it comes to incentives. Unfortunately, these incentives are not available to every Oregonian. Only homeowners and business owners that are customers to Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power are eligible.

How Is It Funded?

The reason why only customers of PGE and Pacific power are able to get these cash-incentives is because these utilities fund the Energy Trust via a charge meant for a public purpose that is imposed on the monthly electric bills of ratepayers.

The money happens to be disbursed only when there is qualified renewable energy. If you are a customer of PGE and Pacific Power, you will qualify to receive a cash-based incentive as soon as you have the solar panel system installed.

Read More: Does my roof get enough sun to qualify?


Go Solar With A Certified ETO Installer

A complete solar installation at an Oregon vineyard.

A complete solar installation at an Oregon vineyard.

Before any construction activities can take place, you need to submit an application for the Energy Trust of Oregon solar incentives or have In order to qualify for the incentives, there are four requirements which your solar installation has to conform with –

  • At least, 10 years worth of roof life left before a replacement is needed.

  • Possess a TRSF of about 75% or more (What is TSRF?)

  • Installations must be carried out by an ETO certified Trade Ally (We are.)

  • Must be a Pacific Power or PGE customer.

If you meet all these requirements you are eligible to receive all available Oregon solar incentives. Whether you want to install solar panels on your home or business will now be the only factor to what you receive.


Energy Trust of Oregon Residential Solar Incentives

These incentives are basically available to residential PGE, as well as, Pacific Power clients alone. The Energy Trust of Oregon solar incentive amount that you get is basically dependent on two factors which are –

  1. Your system’s size

  2. Your electric utility

The larger the system will get you a higher cash-incentive compared to a smaller one. And depending on which utility you are a customer to will depend on the maximum and per kilowatt amount. Below we have the current rates and some examples:


Pacific Power

The maximum amount of cash-incentives you are able to get to switch to solar at Pacific Power is $400 for every kilowatt up to $3,200. To calculate this, you simple multiple the size of the system the solar company quoted you (4.6 kilowatts) and multiply it by $400.

For example, the 4.6 kilowatt system for your home will get back $1,840 in cash-incentives through the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Over time, the Energy Trust will decrease this incentive when a certain amount of homeowners switch to solar power. It doesn’t happen quickly, but it does happen and without warning.

So while it might be beneficial to wait until prices to drop more, this certain Oregon solar incentive is now at the highest it will be and will only continue to decrease when more and more homes switch to clean, renewable solar energy.


Portland General Electric

If you are a customer to Portland General Electric (PGE), how much you will get in solar incentives back is the same as what a customer of Pacific Power will get. Most times they are different, but some times they are the same depending on how much solar has been installed in each utilities’ territory.

For every kilowatt of solar power installed you will get $400 up to $3200 in cash-incentives. And just like the other utility, this incentive will decrease over time once more homes switch to solar.


2019 Cash Incentives for Commercial Buildings

These incentives are available to commercial Portland General Electric (PGE), as well as, Pacific Power business clients. The Energy Trust of Oregon solar incentive amount that you get is dependent on three factors which are –

  1. Your system’s size - How many kilowatts (kW) will you install?

  2. Your electric utility - PGE or Pacific Power?

  3. How much sunlight your property gets - this is done with on-site analysis

The other caveat is the installation must be done by a Solar Trade Ally of Oregon. Every Trade Ally is rated by the ETO each quarter on how 1) quality of installations and 2) how well the paperwork was submitted. The maximum stars you can earn are 3 stars.

We here at Sunbridge Solar are proud to say the Energy Trust has determined that our workmanship in both the field and in the office give us the honor to say we are top-tier Oregon solar installer with a rating of 3 stars.


Read More: See how the ETO rates us by quarter.


Pacific Power Commercial Solar Incentives

Businesses paying Pacific Power a monthly electric bill are eligible to receive a maximum of $25,000 back in cash-incentives. How much you get back depends using a sliding-scale on how much solar panels your install.

For commercial properties that decide to install 15 kilowatts (kWs) or less will get back at $350 per kilowatt. If installing more solar panels makes sense to your budget, you will are eligible to receive on a non-linear sliding-scale $350 to $200 for every kilowatt installed after the 15th kW with a project cap of 250 kilowatts.

Because these incentives are subject to funding availability and may change at any time, feel free to check what the latest rates are by sending us a message using our web form for the latest rates or call us at (360)313-7190.

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Portland General Electric Solar Incentives

For Portland General Electric (PGE) customers, the incentive rate is a litter higher. The maximum you can receive is $40,000 per solar panel system installed.

The rate is also on a sliding scale. From up to 15 kilowatts worth of solar panels, you will get back $500 per kilowatt. From 15.1 kilowatts to 200 kilowatts the amount you get back is determined with a linear sliding scale.

The incentives mentioned above are influenced by the availability of funding and can be altered at any point in time.

Feel free to reach out to us today for a free ball-park estimate with the current incentives rates. It doesn’t hurt to know a little bit more.


How Much Sun Do I Need to Qualify?

A home showing total solar resource fraction (TSRF).

A home showing total solar resource fraction (TSRF).


The conditions, however, stipulate that you need to confirm, at least, a 75% solar window, called Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF), on the property in which the solar panels will be installed. Anything less will disqualify you despite being a customer of either PGE or Pacific Power.

Is there any way around it?

Yes! If the only thing shading your home is a tree, you may opt-in to have the tree cut-down. Before any cutting, we can show you a report on what your roof will look like before and after the tree cutting.

This way, we help by informing you how much you have to trim the tree back or if it needs to be removed entirely.


Federal Solar Tax Credit is Decreasing End of 2019

Do you have any tax liability or pay federal taxes? If yes, start saving money and lower your taxes with this federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

How it works is for every 1 dollar you spend to install solar on your home or business, the government will give you back $0.30 or 30% for every dollar spent. This includes parts and labor to build the solar electric system. This does not include:

  1. Tree removal

  2. Reroof

Keep in mind that this program will not last forever and is bound to close soon. See below!


The Solar Investment Tax Credit is Decreasing

For you to be eligible to receive the full 30%, it is required that you make solar installations before the 1st day of January in 2020. Below is a list of scheduled changes expected to take place and you should put them into consideration while planning to invest in solar.

  • 2016 – 2019: The tax credit remains at 30 percent of the cost of the system.

  • 2020: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system from their federal tax liability.

  • 2021: Owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 22 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes.

  • 2022 onwards: Owners of new commercial solar energy systems can deduct just 10 percent of the cost of the system from their taxes. There is no federal credit for residential solar energy systems.

(Source: EnergySage.com)


Net Metering in Oregon and Why It’s Important

In the parts of Oregon where it rains, a solar energy system is still very active. Basically, this is down to an innovative solar incentive that is referred to as net metering, and it is legal.

If you take part in the agreement for net metering, you'll be allowed to use the solar power that is needed for your first. If you happen to generate more than the usual power, your account will be credited by your utility company.

Example of how Oregon Net Metering works.

Example of how Oregon Net Metering works.

This happens to be one reason why solar energy is very perfect in Oregon since the summer days provide an excellent time to generate lots of power. So, house owners basically get to generate excess power when the summer season is on. The extra credits which are earned for the excess generation of power are used during winter.


Happens All Automatically

Your utility manages solar credits in an automated manner which implies that you do not need to put in any additional effort than usual. Then again, as opposed to the generally held notion, the solar panels that are installed on your house we work even if you experience cloudy skies. Although the power that you generate may not be as normal, the winter electricity generation in your will be boosted whenever a little sunshine occurs.


Is Right Right For You? Find Out Today!

You should take advantage of the Energy Trust of Oregon solar incentives today! Get started by calling us at (360) 313-7190 or by signing up for a free in-home consultation.

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