* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
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.
The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Oregon is currently $10,517 after claiming the 30% 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.
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Prices based on a 6.3kW system, after 30% federal tax credit
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2022 they also remain subsidized by the 30% 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.
(forecast avg Oregon electric rates over the next 25 years)
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.
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.
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.
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!
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
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.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2023 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which 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.
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
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 2023.
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.
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.
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.