Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

News Release
Commission Approves Residential and Business Solar Incentives
May 28, 2010 (2010-011) (UM-1452 & AR-538)
Contacts:  Ray Baum, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Susan Ackerman, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR.  The Oregon Public Utility Commission issued much-anticipated rules today aimed at encouraging Oregonians to consider installing solar panels to harness the sun to power their homes and businesses. 
“While Oregon may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think about solar, I believe this state has a lot of potential and these pilot projects will show us if we can encourage the use of this renewable resource in a cost effective way,” said Commission Chairman Ray Baum.
The pilot project will allow customers to receive incentive payments for new solar systems installed after July 1, 2010. The pilot project does not rely on state tax credits or Energy Trust of Oregon incentives.
Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp and Idaho Power will pay residents who install solar systems a guaranteed amount for 15 years, providing an opportunity to cover the cost of the system.  Rates will be set at a fixed rate for small-scale and medium-scale systems.  Rates will be determined through a competitive bidding process for large-scale systems.
 “We are trying to strike a balance between providing an incentive for solar development while at the same time keeping an eye on controlling utility costs. If the initial rate is set too low, customers may be reluctant to sign up,” added Chairman Baum.
The Commission will reexamine the fixed incentive rate every six months and decide whether it needs adjusting. The initial incentive rate will differ from region to region. The incentive rate will be slightly less in sunnier regions that have more potential for solar generation.
The pilot project will be available to Portland General Electric (PGE), PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power customers. The three utilities combined serve roughly 75 percent of Oregon’s electric users.
The size of the pilot program is limited to 2500 kW (25 megawatts).  This solar generation will provide enough energy to serve roughly 2500 homes.
Further limits include:
  • A small-scale installation is limited to 10 kilowatts (kW) or less.
  • A medium-scale commercial system must be greater than 10 kW but not exceed 100 kW.
  •  A large system must be greater than 100kW but not exceed 500 kW.
The rules implement HB 3039. The 2009 Legislature approved this bill to establish a four-year pilot program to test the use and effectiveness of incentive rates for the installation of solar systems on homes and small businesses.

Electric Companies
Small-Scale Systems (≤10kW)
Medium-Scale Systems (>10kW and ≤100kW)
Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill
Pacific Power and PGE
0.55/ kWh
Coos, Douglas, and Hood River
Pacific Power and PGE
0.60/ kWh
0.55/ kWh
Gilliam, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa, and Wasco
Pacific Power
0.60/ kWh
0.55/ kWh
Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, and Harney
Pacific Power and Idaho Power
0.55/ kWh
0.55/ kWh
Link to order UM-1452

Link to order AR-538