Solar panels Oregon:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg OR solar panel cost:

$10,013 - $12,238*

Avg 25 year savings:

$16,289 - $19,909

Avg payback period:

10.5 - 12.9 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Oregon solar panels guide 2020

Updated November 3, 2020

Despite having subpar sun exposure and low-cost electric rates, Oregon is still a great place to install solar. There are plenty of solar incentives here, thanks to the state’s strong net metering policy, incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon, and the federal solar tax credit. Homeowners have the potential to save big when they install solar in The Beaver State.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Oregon

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Oregon is currently $11,118 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.50 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.

Cost range of local prices

$10,013-$12,238

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$16,289-$19,909

Payback period

10.5-12.9 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

6.3kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 6.3kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Oregon

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

8¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

25¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Oregon electric rates over the next 25 years)

OR solar panel cost calculator

Oregon solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses in Oregon is the federal solar tax credit. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will decrease from 26% to 22% of the cost of the solar installation. 

Because home and business owners want to get the largest incentive amount possible, solar panel installation companies will likely be flooded with new projects before year’s end. In order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Oregon is now.

 

Net metering

Oregon’s net metering policy requires all electric providers to compensate customers when their solar PV system produces more electricity than they use. Investor-owned utilities, like Portland General Electric, have to provide 1-to1 credit equal to the retail rate of electricity for each excess kWh produced with your solar panels. These credits will then be applied to future bills to offset the cost of any energy used from the grid in future months.

Municipal utilities, cooperatives, and utility districts are also required to credit excess energy, however, it only has to be credited at the avoided cost rate. The avoided cost rate is significantly lower than the retail rate, so the savings through this type of net metering are not as significant as net metering that reimburses through kWh credits or the retail rate of electricity.

 

Utility incentives

Energy Trust of Oregon offers an upfront, one-time incentive to customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. Through this program, customers are paid $0.40 per watt of solar installed on their home, up to $3,200. This makes installing a residential solar system more attainable for many homeowners. 

But what if you’re not a customer of Portland General Electric or Pacific Power? Don’t worry, other utilities in the state offer similar programs. For example, Lane Electric Cooperative will pay you $0.50 per watt installed, up to $1,000.

 

Property tax exemption

When a solar system is installed on a home, the value of the property goes up, and so do the property taxes. Oregon law exempts 100% of the assessed cost of a solar system from being added to your property taxes. 

However, the property tax exemption only lasts until 2023. The time to install solar is now - while the exemption is still available!

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Rebate Program

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Top models of solar panel installed in Oregon 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Oregon by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $10,952 $11,719
5kW $13,105 $14,022
6kW $15,024 $16,076
7kW $17,339 $18,553
8kW $20,000 $21,400
9kW $21,807 $23,333
10kW $23,960 $25,637

Find city information in Oregon

 

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Oregon

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Oregon in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Oregon will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Oregon?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 34-degree pitch roof Oregon will generate 1,160kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the Portland area.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Oregon?

The advantages of installing solar panels in Oregon are that there are several utility-based incentives and a net metering law, which are key to making solar a worthwhile investment. Pair those incentives with the federal tax credit and you have the potential for excellent savings.

The main disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Oregon is that there is less overall sunshine in the state per year, meaning a solar system produces less here than it would in some other states. 

Also, the cost of grid power is cheap in Oregon, which means you get less money back for excess generation than you might in a state with higher electric prices. Despite these, incentives in Oregon still make solar an excellent choice for a home or business owner.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Oregon solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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