A Solar-Friendly Utility
If you live in PGE’s service area, you may want to consider taking advantage of Portland General Electric solar incentives program. They offer some excellent rebates for taking the leap into solar energy, whether you own a home or not.
We’ll go more in depth with how each of these three methods work in the next section of the article. Basically, once you choose which options are right for you, PGE will come to your home and install a special meter that measures power going through in both directions, so you are properly credited or paid for the energy your solar system produces.
3 Portland General Electric Solar Incentives
There are three Portland General Electric solar incentives that offer different methods of incentivizing solar energy:
- net metering,
- selling power to PGE (commercial-scale solar), and
- eligibility for cash-rebates.
Net metering allows you to deduct your excess energy production from your PGE bill. This unused energy will be measured by a special two-way meter that PGE will install upon your enrollment, and you will receive credit on your PGE account for excess energy produced.
If you use more energy than you produce over the course of the month, you will only pay for the net amount, which is the total amount used minus the amount you generated.
If you produce more energy than you use in the whole month, you will not be charged for the month and you will have a credit on your account which can then be used towards later months’ bills where your energy production isn’t as high.
This is particularly helpful in Portland since you can accumulate credit during the long summer days and apply the credits in the winter months, when the days are short and energy production is lower. Additionally, any credits that are not used by the end of the annual billing cycle will be donated to customers in low-income assistance programs. This is not only a great way to cut down on your power bill significantly but you can also help those in need.
Direct Cash Rebates (Residential)
This is a direct cash incentive paid to the Oregon solar installer. It does not go to the homeowner. Per project, you’ll receive a flat rebate of $500. This incentive is administered and inspected by the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Selling Power To Portland General (Commercial)
This system is slightly different from net metering in that you are producing energy only for the purpose of selling it to PGE, and you must still pay the current utility price for all energy used. You must meet federal requirements to be a qualifying energy production facility and all the relevant equipment must meet or exceed standards designated by PGE, local electrical and building codes, and the state of Oregon.
The price you will be paid for the energy you produce is slightly lower than the retail rate at which net metering customers are credited, but you will receive a check each month instead of just a credit on your energy bill.
Solar Energy Grants For Nonprofits In Oregon
There is also an opportunity for Oregon nonprofits to install solar 100% paid for by Portland General Electric through the PGE Renewable Development Fund. To learn more contact us or visit PGE’s website about the solar grant.
There are many benefits of going solar.
First of all, it reduces your carbon footprint since you are creating local green energy with no emissions. You can also greatly reduce your energy costs in the long run. Obviously it can be a larger upfront investment than usual, but as we mentioned above, you can reduce the cost by up to 50% by strategically taking advantage of incentives and the PGE solar program.
Installing a solar energy system often has a payback period of about 10-12 years, but the system will have a lifespan of about 25 years. So, once the system has paid itself off, you can enjoy more than a decade of very inexpensive, clean renewable energy.
Switching to Solar
As we’ve covered above, installing a solar energy system at your home provides all kinds of attractive benefits – not just at the time of installation but for years to come. Solar energy systems require very little maintenance and you can reap the benefits for up to 25 years without having to replace the panels. During that entire time, you will enjoy greatly reduced or even free clean energy.
Factors To Consider
However, you will need to consider some questions to determine if your home is eligible and practical for solar energy. To be eligible, the area the panels will be installed is required to have a Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF) of greater than 75%. (What is TSRF?)
The biggest factor here is the location of your home – whether you have roof surfaces that face south/southwest and how shaded the area is, both now and in the future. Some other basic considerations include whether you will own the property long enough to actually take advantage of the financial benefits, what size of system your property can support, and how much energy you regularly use.
PGE recommends that you hire a qualified solar energy contractor in Portland, OR to perform the installation, for a safe and painless process. They recommend choosing a contractor with a proven track record of excellent work, one that is verified by third parties if possible, and one that has plenty of positive online reviews. At Sunbridge Solar, our team of experts is dedicated to providing the best possible service at the most reasonable prices, and we let our reputation of excellence speak for itself.
What If I Don’t Own A Home?
If you don’t own a home and can’t install a solar energy system, you can still benefit from and support renewable energy in Oregon through several ways:
PGE Green Source
The PGE Green Source program allows you to get all of your electricity solely from renewable energy sources, for the very nominal fee of $0.008 per kWh more than the standard service, which works out to about $6 per month for the average customer.
Clean Wind Program
The Clean Wind program specifically allows you to purchase blocks of wind-generated power. For $2.50 per 200 kWh block more than your standard service costs, you can support the wind power industry and reduce your carbon footprint.
Green Future Solar
This program is similar to the Clean Wind program, except that it involves blocks of solar energy, which cost an additional $5 per 1 kW. This program turned out to be so popular that it actually sold out in 2016, less than a year after its inception. However, there may be new installments of Green Future Solar coming soon and you can sign up to be notified as soon as that happens.
This is a supplemental program that’s available when you sign up for any of the three previous programs. The additional fee of $2.50 per month goes straight to The Nature Conservancy where they dedicate it to restoring the local fish habitat.
Considering Solar In The Portland Area?
If you are considering installing a solar energy system on your Portland-area home, now is the time to do it. The federal tax credit will only be lessened as time goes on and eventually will go away altogether, and other incentives may also become less compelling as more and more people add solar energy.
Switching to solar power in Portland, OR is certainly is worth it. Despite the Pacific Northwest’s reputation for rain. We enjoy long, sunny summer days that are not so hot as to require constant air conditioning, and you can generate more power than you might expect even during the winter. We also don’t receive a significant amount of snow, which can make solar panel maintenance difficult and dangerous.