If you are a resident of Oregon and want to switch to renewable sources of energy and save money on your electric bill, you can take advantage of rebates offered by Oregon utility companies for installing a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity or a solar water heater. These rebates, along with federal and state tax credits, can help to offset part of the installation cost.
Solar photovoltaic systems
Customers of the Ashland Electric Utility who install a solar photovoltaic system can claim a rebate of $2.25 per watt for a residential system or $1 per watt for a commercial system, up to a maximum rebate of $10,000 per site. The City of Ashland will also buy back up to 1,000 kW per month of excess electricity generated by a solar photovoltaic or wind energy system located within the city limits at full retail price.
Consumers Power, Inc. offers its residential customers a $500 rebate per kW for installing a solar photovoltaic system. The system must be installed by a contractor certified in Oregon and must qualify for the Oregon tax credit. Under the net metering program you can sell the electricity you don’t use back to the utility company. You should call Consumers Power, Inc. at 541-929-3124 for more information on how to apply for the rebate.
The Eugene Water and Electric Board offers two different incentives for solar photovoltaic systems. If your system is net-metered you can claim a refund of $2.00 per watt AC for a residential system and $1.00 per watt AC for a commercial system. The maximum incentive is $10,000 for a residential solar system and $25,000 for a commercial system. Under this rebate system for net metering, you retain ownership of the renewable energy credits for the electricity you generate with solar power.
If you choose not to net meter, your system has a capacity of more than 10 kW, and you feed all the electricity directly into the grid (you don’t use any of the electricity) you can earn a production incentive of $0.12 per kilowatt hour generated. This production incentive is payable for 10 years subject to an annual review. Under this direct generation system, the Eugene Water and Electric Board owns the renewable energy credits.
To qualify for the rebate or production incentive, you will need a building permit and your system will have to be inspected by city or county building officials and by the Eugene Water and Electric Board. You can find more information and the application forms on the Eugene Water and Electric Board website.
Solar water heaters
Through “The Bright Way to Heat Water Program” the City of Ashland offers residential customers a cash rebate or a zero-interest loan for installing a solar water heater. The cash rebate is up to $1,000 and is calculated as $0.40 per estimated annual kWh in savings.
The Central Electric Cooperative also has “The Bright Way to Heat Water Program” and residential customers who replace an electric water heater with a solar water heater can receive a cash rebate of up to $500, depending on the orientation and tilt of the solar collector. You could also apply for a low-interest loan with The Bank of the Cascades. The system must be OG-300 certified, must be over 31 square feet, and must be installed by a contractor approved by the Central Electric Cooperative. You can find more information, a list of approved contractors and the application form on the Central Electric Cooperative website.
Consumers Power Inc. offers its residential customers a $500 rebate for installing a solar water heater with a collection area greater than 31 square feet. The system must be installed by a contractor certified in Oregon and must qualify for the Oregon tax credit. Solar systems used for hot tubs or swimming pools are not eligible for the rebate.
Residential customers of the Douglas Electric Cooperative can claim a $500 rebate for a solar water heater. The system must meet the “Bright Way” program specifications and must be installed by a technician certified by the Oregon Department of Energy. You can find an application form on their website.
The Emerald People’s Utility District will pay a $600 incentive for switching from an electric water heater to a solar water heater. You could also take out a 0% loan for up to $7,500 payable over five years through a local credit union. You should call them at 746-1583 for more information and to apply.
The Eugene Water and Electric Board offers up to a $600 rebate for a solar water heater and up to $1,100 for a solar pool heater. The actual amount of the rebate depends on the energy savings and the rebate is paid to the contractor after final inspection of the system. There is also a loan program at 0% interest for up to $4,000 payable in up to five years. The system must be installed by an eligible contractor. You should call the utility company at 541-484-1125 for more information and a list of eligible contractors.
Customers of Salem Electric who replace an electric water heater with a solar heater can claim a $600 rebate through their Bright Way program. You could also qualify for a low-interest loan. The system must be OG-300 certified and must be installed by a contractor certified to participate in Oregon’s state tax credit program. You can find a list of these technicians at 2009 Tax-Credit Certified Solar Technicians. Salem Electric will inspect the installation.