Going Solar in 2020

New pots of money mean growing opportunities for solar access

In 2020, just about everything we knew about solar incentives has been shaken up. Here’s a quick overview of what is happening on the solar coaster this year.

Oregon Solar and Solar + Storage Rebate Program

HB 2618​ (2019) created a new solar and solar plus storage rebate program at the Oregon Department of Energy which launched in 2020. The program issues rebates for solar electric systems and paired solar + storage systems for residential customers and low-income service providers in Oregon.​

There are three separate tracks for this program: residential, low-moderate income residential, and low-income service providers. See below for definitions.

Rebate Amount
  1. Residential Projects
    • Up to 40% of the net cost, capped at $5,000 for solar, and $2,500 for energy storage
  2. Residential Low-Moderate Income Projects
    • Up to 60% of net cost, capped at $5,000 and $2,500 for energy storage.
  3. Low-Income Service Providers
    • Low-income service providers: Up to 50% of net cost, capped at $30,000 for solar, and $15,000 for energy storage
To Qualify
  1. Installed on real property in Oregon
  2. Installed by an ODOE-approved contractor
  3. Solar + storage systems must be purchased together by the same approved contractor
  4. Total Solar Resource Fraction of 75% or greater (your contractor will approve this)

Residential Low-Moderate Income Projects: The owner of the property is eligible for one or more income-limited programs offered by state or local public agencies or nonprofit organization’s. ODOE will verify eligibility with the administering agencies upon receipt of the application

Low-Income Service Providers. Organizations eligible as “low-income service providers” include:

  1. Developers/owners of affordable multifamily housing that are eligible for public assistance administered by Oregon Housing & Community Services;
  2. A community service organization (public, tribal, or a 501(c) nonprofit) whose primary purpose is to offer health, dental, social, financial, energy conservation, or other assistive services to households below 100% of the state median income by household size;
  3. A tribal or local government entity, such as a city, county, or school district that uses public buildings to provide services to low- or moderate-income individuals, or to provide emergency shelter and/or communications in disaster situations.

Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon provides a cash incentive through qualified trade allies to utility customers of Pacific Power and PGE. There are two separate tracks for Energy Trust incentives.

Cash incentive amount
  1. Standard
    • $0.30/W up to $2,400
  2. Solar Within Reach
    • $1.50/W up to $9,000
To Qualify
  1. Installed by an Energy Trust of Oregon Trade Ally
  2. Total Solar Resource Fraction of 75% or greater
  3. See below for Solar Within Reach eligibility criteria

Solar Within Reach: You must own a single-family home, manufactured home, floating home, condo or multifamily residence that is either an attached side-by-side unit or a duplex, triplex or fourplex. You must also meet Energy Trust’s income qualifications listed below.

Federal Tax Credit

Also known as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

Tax Credit Amount
  • 26% of the net cost (after ETO and state rebate, if applicable)
To Qualify
  • You must have a federal tax liability
  • System must be installed by December 31st, 2020 (then it drops to 22%)

What does this mean for a low-moderate-income household?

+ Up to $5,000 incentive from state rebate

+ Up to $9,000 cash incentive from Energy Trust of Oregon

$14,000 off a solar installation (+Federal Tax Credit, if applicable)