Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Oregon
The state of Oregon has some strong incentives in place for the uptake of renewable technology for residential, commercial and municipal installations. The region benefits greatly from a large proportion of its energy coming from hydroelectric but it also has huge potential for exploiting geothermal. With over 400 electric vehicle charging stations across the state, Oregon has certainly made the effort to go green over the last couple of decades.
With so much hydroelectric power, Oregon is the third largest renewable energy state in the US with 27 plants currently operating. The two largest are the John Day Dam and the Dalles Dam, both situated on the Columbia River and producing a capacity of 2,160 MW. The state also has a good number of wind farms the largest of which is the Klondike Wind Farm in Sherman County producing 399 MW of capacity. Compared to other states Oregon also has made some investment in biomass power including the Roseburg Project with a capacity of 39 MW.
Solar lags behind other renewable sources in Oregon and the biggest single installation is Outback Solar in Lake County that has a capacity of just 5 MW. 114 MW of capacity are currently installed across the state and there are nearly 150 solar companies employing over 3,000 workers. With wide ranging incentives for solar available, the next decade could see a big growth in farm and residential installations across Oregon.
Solar PV Incentives in Oregon
All solar PV installations immediately benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate of 30% and there is a Performance Based Incentive for commercial, agricultural, municipal and industrial services that produce between 2 and 10 MW. For residential and non-residential solar PV installations an additional Solar Electric Program Rebate is available for small systems up to 25 kW. All in all, there is plenty from the federal and state government as well as local utilities to make choosing solar panels worthwhile.
Solar PV Case Study in Oregon
Oregon allows leasing so you can choose this option, where you get free installation in exchange for handing over your incentives, or buy outright through savings or a loan. The average cost of a 5 kW system after the Energy Trust Rebate is fairly low at 15,450 to which you can apply the Federal and state tax rebate. This means you should pay off your initial loan by the end of 14 years. This will give you a net profit over the 25-year lifetime of the array of around $13,000 and that doesn’t take into account the sale value added to your home.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Oregon
Solar thermal is important as a renewable resource for heating hot water and is generally cheaper than solar PV. Installations benefit from a range of tax credits and low cost loans including the Community Renewable Energy Feasibility Fund Program and the Renewable Energy Systems Exemption.
Small Hydro Incentives in Oregon
With so much of the state’s electricity obtained from hydroelectricity, last year Oregon also expanded the opportunity for small hydro particularly for agricultural irrigation pipelines. There are a number of grant programs available and property tax exemptions as well as utility run rebates such as the Central Lincoln People's Utility District Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs.
Geothermal Incentives in Oregon
Geothermal is playing a small but important part in Oregon’s energy mix. The state has two power plants at Neal Hot Springs and Klamath Falls producing a combined capacity of nearly 32 MW. Ground source heat pumps are also proving popular for homes that have the right insulation and enough exterior space to handle the pipe network. Incentives are available through utility rebates such as Midstate Electric Cooperative Residential Conservation Rebates.
Biomass Incentives in Oregon
The state has 9 biomass power plants producing nearly 130 MW capacity with the possibility of adding more in the future. Residential and commercial biomass boilers are being promoted using incentives such as the Federal Tax Rebate and the Green Power Purchasing Goal for Federal Government as well as the local state energy loan program.
Wind Power Incentives in Oregon
With large agricultural spaces, Oregon has a good capacity for more wind power either as large scale projects or small installations for farms and remote communities. For the farming industry it can provide valuable additional revenue and contribute to the total renewable energy mix for the state. Incentives come through the Federal Tax Rebate and the sizeable personal tax credit offered by the state. There is also the Small Wind Incentive Program that delivers $5 per kW hours for systems that produce under 9,500 kWh a year.
Oregon pretty much covers all the bases when it comes to clean energy. While the solar industry has yet to gain much ground, the next decade should see a substantial increase because of the incentives available. Wind, both small and large scale, are set to increase as is geothermal and small hydro. In fact, it’s difficult to find a renewable energy technology for which there isn’t a good incentive in Oregon.
If you want to find out about all the renewable energy incentives available for residential, commercial, industrial and municipal installations in the state of Oregon, visit the DSIRE website.