Pro-Solar Bills Moves Forward in Oregon
On March 11, 2021, the Limited Renewable Energy Technician (LRT) update bill (SB 338) was passed in the Senate with a unanimous vote. Now it will need to pass in the House of Representatives in a public hearing, which will likely happen in April.
More Good News for Solar Energy
Additionally, progress is being made with the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) bill, SB 154. All parties have agreed up a new fee level of between $5,500 and $7,000 for future projects, which is a positive step. Unfortunately, support was not secured for community solar, but other policies were rejected that would have potentially made it more difficult to finance solar projects. The next work session regarding this bill will take place on March 23.
In other positive news, the American Rescue Plan has been passed by Congress and signed into law by Biden, which means that Oregon will soon be receiving funding to help manage the state’s budget crisis. With this crisis alleviated, solar programs like the Solar + Storage rebate and the Community Energy Resilience Grant fund are more likely to receive the requested state funding. The Oregon budget update will be released in mid-May with more information about this point.
HB 2021, which addresses moving Oregon to 100% clean electricity, will have two hearings in mid-March. One will be an informational hearing about the proposed bill that looks at what other states are doing in this regard. The second will be a public hearing and the Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association (OSSIA) will be testifying with pros and cons of the proposed bill.
OSSIA also recently testified to support a proposed bill that would create a Disaster Recovery Authority for the state of Oregon. This type of authority would be a key way for Oregon to plan for future power outages and solve them with more solar energy production and storage of that energy.