Energy Trust of Oregon Increases Solar Incentives for Businesses

Oregon SolarEnergy Trust of Oregon, an independent non-profit organization under the authorization of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC), has been effecting change toward energy efficiency since its inception in 2002. It was announced last month that solar incentives, which have created market momentum for residential solar installations, have now increased for businesses in Oregon.

Solar energy system eligibility and cash incentives for businesses have both recently been increased, which Peter West, director of energy programs for Energy Trust, points out needed to be done. West said that incentives have simply been insufficient to encourage business owners to participate, particularly given current business conditions. He also provided assurances that the available incentive funds will be allocated in a way which allows the greatest number of customers to participate in the solar program.

West says that solar electric generation is an important resource in the state’s renewable energy portfolio and is a good investment for utility ratepayers and for businesses.

Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association Executive Director Glenn Montgomery says that Energy Trust is a primary reason for the thriving solar economy in Oregon and that for the solar industry to be stable, both business and residential sectors must be strong.

Montgomery pointed out that a dramatic increase in the adoption of solar among homeowners was no doubt spurred by the cash incentives and technical assistance provided by Energy Trust, and he commended Energy Trust for finding ways to bolster solar usage among businesses.

Under the new initiative for Portland General Electric customers, the incentive is increased by $0.20 to $1.20 per watt of installed capacity, applicable for systems up to 35 kilowatts. For systems from 36 to 200 kilowatts, the incentive starts at $1.20 per watt and declines as the system increases in size, to $0.60 per watt. For a single customer, the maximum incentive is $120,000. The maximum size for a system that is eligible for incentives is 1,000 kilowatts.

For customers of Pacific Power in Oregon, incentives for systems up to 35 kilowatts rise from $0.76 per watt to $1.10 per watt of installed capacity. For systems 36-200 kilowatts, the incentive starts at $1.10 per watt and, as the system increases in size, declines to $0.50 per watt. For a single customer, the maximum incentive is $100,000. The maximum size for a system that is eligible for incentives is 1,000 kilowatts.

Some facts and figures about Energy Trust:

  • Utility customers participating in Energy Trust’s programs have had savings of more than $1 billion on
    Oregon Solar Businesses

    Energy Trust of Oregon has found ways to bolster solar usage among businesses.

    their  energy bills.

  • The work at Energy Trust helps to keep energy costs as low as they can be, across the board. The utilities rely on Energy Trust savings from efficiency to accommodate future customer needs at a cost far less than building new fossil fuel-powered plants.
  • One of the long-term savings provided by Energy Trust is that $1.57 billion in investments will not have to be made by utility companies, which means savings for customers – the savings are related to storage, fuel, generation, and transportation of more expensive energy that won’t be required.
  • Since 2002, Energy Trust has helped the people of Oregon to avoid emitting almost 7 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of having 1.2 million fewer cars on our roads for an entire year.
Oregon has many different incentive programs for businesses and residential solar applications.
Learn more on the Oregon Page on the DSIRE website at:
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