Frequently Asked Questions

solar installation

A new program, called the Oregon Solar Incentive Program, created by the Oregon Legislature rolled out July 1, 2010. The capacity available for the first enrollment period was quickly reserved. The next enrollment period is April 1, 2014.

It’s designed to encourage the development of solar energy projects in the state.

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What is the Oregon Solar Incentive Program?

The Oregon Solar Incentive Program is a policy mechanism designed to encourage the development of solar energy projects by requiring participating utilities to buy solar electricity at a premium price from customers. A contract between the customer and Pacific Power sets the price over 15 years to help customers cover the costs of purchasing and installing the system.

How did this program come about?

The 2009 Oregon legislature passed House Bill 3039 and the 2010 Oregon legislature pass House Bill 3690 which established a volumetric incentive rate program to encourage solar installations.

What is the difference between this new program and Pacific Power’s existing Net Metering program?

The new Oregon Solar Incentive Program is an alternative to our Net Metering service. Customers participating in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program will not qualify for Oregon solar energy tax credits or Energy Trust incentives. Participants are still eligible for federal tax credits. Instead of receiving kilowatt-hour credits like Net Metering customers, Oregon Solar Incentive Program customers receive payments from Pacific Power for the electricity generated by their qualifying solar installations. Pacific Power receives the associated Renewable Energy Credits for the customers participating in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program, which means you could help Pacific Power meet Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standards of 25 percent renewable power by 2025.

Who is eligible to participate in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program?

To participate in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program you must be a Pacific Power customer who is receiving electric service at the property where the solar photovoltaic energy system will be installed.

Can any Pacific Power customer participate?

Yes, Pacific Power residential and business customers can participate on a lottery basis, as long as there is room in the program. The program allows for the installation of 25 megawatts of capacity statewide. There will be a dedicated capacity reserved for each category of small, medium and large systems. Only new installations will be eligible for the program. A customer can be enrolled in Net Metering or the Oregon Solar Incentive Program, but not both. Customers already enrolled in Net Metering cannot convert an existing solar installation from Net Metering to Oregon Solar Incentive Program.

What are the rates for Pacific Power customers?
Counties
Small-Scale Systems
(> 5 kW and less than or equal to 10 kW)
Medium-Scale Systems
(>10 kW and less than or equal to 100 kW)
Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill
$0.390/ kWh
$0.175/kWh
Coos, Douglas and Hood River
$0.252/ kWh
$0.16/kWh
Gilliam, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa and Wasco
$0.252/ kWh
$0.16/kWh
Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur and Harney $0.23/kWh $0.16/kWh
Rates are for the April 1, 2014 allocation period.
 
When did the program start?

The Oregon Solar Incentive Program began July 1, 2010. The capacity available for the first enrollment period was quickly reserved.

What utilities are participating in Oregon?

Pacific Power, Portland General Electric and Idaho Power.

How can I participate in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program?

If you are interested in participating in the program, your first step should be to contact an Energy Trust of Oregon trade ally solar installer. You would arrange for all solar project installations, cover all projects costs and retain ownership of the photovoltaic systems. A qualified installer can guide you through the steps, including the necessary applications to Pacific Power to participate in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program.

What capacity is available during the April 2014 enrollment period?

Since this is a pilot program there is a limited amount of capacity available for the Oregon Solar Incentive Program. This capacity will be distributed through a lottery application process which begins April 1, 2014 at 8 a.m. PDT.

The amount of available capacity for the April 1, 2014 allocation period:

Capacity Reservation 
April 1, 2014 Allocation Period
Small-scale 1,220 kW
Medium-scale 639 kW

Capacity allocation amounts subject to Commission approval.

What is Market-Based Rate Authority?
Facilities selected to participate in the Volumetric Bid Option of the Oregon Solar Incentive Program must certify that they are eligible to make wholesale sales of energy at market-based rates, per OAR 860-084-0240(2)(c). This authority is granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 
 
Facilities that have previously registered as a Qualifying Facility are prohibited from participating in the Volumetric Bid portion.
How do I secure a reservation to participate in the Oregon Solar Incentive Program?

At 8 a.m. PDT on April 1, 2014, an Online Capacity Reservation Application will become available from our program Web page (pacificpower.net/oregonsolar). This Online Capacity Reservation Application will gather your account information, the anticipated system size and provide you with preliminary confirmation that the application was successfully submitted. Within three business days of completing the Online Capacity Reservation Application, you will receive an email of the results. If you are successful you will be required to pay the deposit within three business days. Unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list. Keep in mind that available capacity will be distributed by Oregon Administrative Rule on a lottery basis.

What will I need to apply for a reservation at 8 a.m. on April 1, 2014?

To complete your online Capacity Reservation Application to reserve your place in the Pacific Power Oregon Solar Incentive Program, you will need the following:

  • Name, phone number and email address
  • Pacific Power account number
  • Meter number
  • Solar installation site address
  • Anticipated date when the solar installation will go online
  • Nameplate capacity in kWdc
  • Anticipated level of interconnection:
    • Level 1 is 25 kW or smaller
    • Level 2 is larger than 25 kW
    • Level 3 is for special circumstances
  • County
  • System Installer (must be an Energy Trust of Oregon trade ally): name of Company, contact person, phone number and email address (use “same” if installer is currently unknown)
  • If selected, a deposit of $500 or $20/per kWdc  nameplate capacity, whichever is greater, will be required (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Paypal accepted).

Solar contractors and customers note: Please coordinate your submittals. Multiple applications for the same site will result in a forfeit of any subsequent applications.

Where can I find more information?

The Oregon Public Utility Commission updated the rules on the program at the beginning of September 2011.

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