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Oregon Incentives

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30% Federal Tax Credit

The federal government has put forth an incredible incentive for those considering solar power. 30% of the eligible costs related to your solar project can be taken as a federal tax credit. As long as you or your business pays federal income taxes you can take advantage of this incentive.

Keep in mind this is not merely a tax deduction. Tax deductions only reduce the income on which you pay taxes. Tax credits reduce your tax which means that every dollar of the tax credit is a dollar in your pocket.

Here’s a tax deduction example:
Supposed your annual gross income is $50,000 and you have $6,000 in tax deductions (mortgage interest, health insurance premiums, etc) leaving you with $44,000 in taxable income. Furthermore, suppose that your tax rate is 25%. In this example you would pay $11,000 in taxes on $44,000 of income. Without the $6,000 in deductions, you would pay $12,500 in taxes on all $50,000 of income. The $6,000 in tax deductions saved you from paying $1,500 in actual tax dollars.

Here’s a tax credit example:
Supposed you still make $50,000 annually and you still have $6,000 tax deductions, making your taxable income $44,000. Your tax rate is still 25% which means your total tax liability is $11,000. Now let’s say you had solar installed this year and the total system cost was $35,000. The federal tax credit on a $35,000 system would be $10,500 ($35,000 x 30%). Once the $10,500 solar tax credit is applied to your $11,000 tax liability, you’ll now only have $500 in tax liability.

Be sure and talk to your tax preparer to make sure a federal tax credit can benefit you.


Energy Trust of Oregon Incentive

Customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power are able to take advantage of this excellent cash incentive. The Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) will pay a substantial portion of the cost of your solar installation as long as your home or business meets their site requirements. We’ll determine your eligibility during our site assessment.

If your site qualifies for an ETO incentive, we are required to give you that incentive at the signing of the installation agreement, out of our pocket, in the form of an immediate reduction of your project cost. Once the system has been installed and has passed all inspections and verifications, we are reimbursed by the ETO. If you’re a commercial customer you can choose to pay the full project cost and receive the cash incentive directly from the ETO.

Homeowner (Owning)
If you’re a homeowner and you own your solar system the ETO will pay as follows:

I’m a customer of: Incentive per Watt Maximum Incentive
Pacific Power $0.30 per watt $1,800
Portland General Electric $0.30 per watt $2,100

Business Owner
If you’re a business owner and you own your system the ETO will pay as follows:

I’m a customer of: Incentive per Watt Maximum Incentive
Pacific Power  $0.45 – $0.25/W

Annual customer cap: $25,000

Maximum eligible project size: 100 kW

$25,000 (at 100 kW)
Portland General Electric $0.55 – $0.30/W

Annual customer cap: $45,000

Maximum eligible project size: 250 kW

$45,000 (at 150 kW)

Click here for more details about the Energy Trust of Oregon solar incentive program.


Residential Energy Tax Credit

The Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) is another great incentive to encourage homeowners to move forward with solar. Owned systems may qualify for the RETC as long as the projects are deemed eligible. We’ll determine your project’s eligibility during our site assessment. The current tax credit is $1.70 per watt with a $6,000 maximum. The credit is taken in $1500 increments each year for four years. Certain other conditions apply to this tax credit and we’ll be happy to explain everything over the phone or during your site assessment.

Learn more about Portland, OR solar installation. You can also go to the Oregon Department of Energy website to learn more.


Net Metering

Not only will you be selling the electricity your solar panels generate but you’ll also avoid having to buy that electricity from your power company. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, your home or business may generate more electricity than is used during daylight hours. With net metering, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the electricity use exceeds the solar system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy consumption.

Understanding solar
Solar array converts energy from sunlight into electricity.
Solar converts sun to electricity
The inverter converts the electricity produced by the solar array from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for use in your home, school, or business and measures the energy produced by the solar array.
Energy used in your home or business
The energy is used in your home, school, or business.
Understanding solar
The Bidirectional Meter indicates energy usage and excess energy produced.

Just as the electricity coming from your power company goes to your electrical panel (breaker box) for you to use, the electricity from your solar system will also go to your electrical panel. You’ll use the solar electricity first, then you’ll use your power company for any additional electricity needs you may have.

Let’s say for example that your home typically uses 20,000 kWh of electricity each year, without solar. Now suppose you have a solar system installed that generates 9,000 kWh of electricity each year. Instead of having to buy all 20,000 kWh of electricity from your power company each year, you’ll only have to buy 11,000 because your solar panels will provide the rest.