What Can Solar do for You?
Solar energy is booming in Oregon… but what’s the reason for the solar surge? Outlined below is a run down of what makes this rising technology a great option for homes and businesses alike.
Solar is a cost effective power generation
Due to the plummeting costs of solar over the last 10 years, solar has become cost competitive with fossil fuel options in many places in the US.
Offsets volatile utility rates with steady, predictable rates.
Since a solar installation requires no fuel input, there’s no volatility when it comes to the electricity bill. Whether you buy a system yourself, or sign up with a solar developer, energy costs with solar are far more predictable than relying on conventional sources.
Helps negate transmission and distribution charges.
When power is produced in a distant power plant, ratepayers have to pay the cost of transmitting the electricity. When power is produced locally, there is less energy lost in distribution and less effort to get the power where it needs to be.
Produces electricity with no emissions
Most conventional power plants use combustive fuels like coal to heat water, create steam, and drive turbines. These fossil fuel sources have toxic emissions that can be harmful to the health of the people in surrounding communities. Solar provides electricity generation with zero emissions.
Frees up water resources in your community
Speaking of water, conventional power plants use a whole lot of it to produce power. With more renewable generation from wind and solar, we can free up more of that water for use within the community.
Creates local jobs
A large chunk of the cost of any solar system goes towards the design and installation of the system. That’s money that creates jobs on a local level, which stimulates the local economy.
Let’s be honest. When most of us close our eyes and think about a modern house or building, solar panels are often part of the picture. Renewable energy is the future, and a solar system on your home or business lets everyone know you’re on board.
How is my solar performance measured?
When a home or business goes solar in Oregon, they almost always remain tied to the electricity grid. Net metering is used to calculate how much energy you send to the local electric utility and power you purchase from them. The NET of these two numbers is what you will pay.
Net Metering is used in Oregon for two reasons.
The first is so that the house can continue to receive power from the utility when the solar system is not producing (every night, for example).
The second reason is so that the solar customer can export some of the solar energy they produce during the day. This allows the solar customer to build up credits with the utility, which they can exchange for power they draw at night. This process is called “net metering” and it’s essential in making solar energy cost effective.
How much does the average solar system cost?
According to Solar Oregon, the average cost per kW in Oregon is $3,600 per watt. Residential systems range from 3kW to 30kW, while commercial systems can be anywhere from 30kW up to 150kW.
Purchasing Your System With Cash (or Loan)
Since a solar system requires no fuel input, all the power your system generates will be yours for free. Owning the system outright makes it easier if you want to sell your home or business, since there needn’t be any contract transfer. You will also get to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit.
Are there any state or federal solar incentives available in Oregon?
Yes, both the federal and state governments offer financial incentives, but they’re fading!
30% Federal solar tax credit
This tax credit is available for all residential solar and commercial projects. However, there’s not much time left to take advantage of the 30% tax credit. In 2020 the ITC steps down to 26%, then 20% in 2021.
Energy Trust of Oregon Cash-Incentive
Customers of PGE or Pacific power also qualify for the Energy Trust Incentive of $0.64 per watt. This incentive decreases over time as more people install solar for their home or business.
More Detail Reading on Available Financial Incentives
When is the best time to go solar?
There’s no time like right now. Cost decreases are not likely to continue the sharp trajectory we’ve seen in the past 10 years, as the market absorbs the loss of the decreasing federal solar tax credits. For this reason, those looking for maximum payout from their solar system should act as soon as possible.
How do I get started?
Whether you are a business or homeowner looking to save money, you will first need a solar company to perform a property analysis. At Sunbridge Solar, we start by assigning you a consultant to discuss costs and savings. To get started, simply schedule your free solar analysis, call us at (360) 313-7190, or email us your questions.