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Oregon solar incentives, tax credits & rebates

Resources for going solar in 2023

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After the federal tax credit, the average solar panel system costs $17,290 in Oregon. Compared with other states, Oregon does a great job incentivizing residents to go solar — both the initial cost and cost per watt are a little cheaper than the national average.

Key insights

  • In Oregon, the average federal tax credit value is $5,187.
  • You can take advantage of local solar tax breaks, rebates and loan programs.
  • It’s possible to nearly eliminate your power bill with net metering.

Solar incentives in Oregon

Oregon has statewide and local financial incentives, but the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is still the biggest factor in reducing your overall costs going solar.

By using the ITC, you can deduct 30% of the system's total cost — including equipment, labor and permits — from your federal income taxes. For example, for a $20,000 system, you can get a $6,000 credit when you file your taxes.

The ITC drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

The solar tax credit is not a rebate or refund — you must claim it when you file federal taxes in the year your solar panel system becomes operational. To do this, you have to complete Form 5695. The credit is also nonrefundable, so it's applied to future years if your credit exceeds the amount you owe in federal taxes.

If you're with Portland General Electric or Pacific Power, you can get an upfront rebate of $1,200 or $900, respectively (as long as you partnered with an approved contractor and own your solar system).

Depending on where you live, you can take advantage of more incentives from NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas or Avista, plus city-level programs.

For example, the Eugene Water and Electric Board offers a rebate based on your system’s output (40 cents a watt) with a max rebate of $2,500. Salem Electric customers receive a rebate equal to $300 per kilowatt (kW) installed — up to $1,500 (or 50% of your project costs, whichever is less).

Karla in Talent took advantage of financial incentives when she went solar a couple of years ago.

“They weren’t huge, but they certainly helped out,” she said. “And then tax deductions, we’ve gotten those for this year, and we’ll probably get more of a tax deduction next year, and then it will probably be used up.”

Residential solar incentives in Oregon

Oregon’s Solar + Storage Rebate Program is the biggest statewide solar incentive right now. The state previously had a tax credit that covered a part of the cost of solar panels installed before the end of 2017, but the program has expired. Similarly, the Oregon Department of Energy’s small-scale energy loan Program has been on hiatus since 2015.

Confirm that you actually qualify for all the financial incentives you’re expecting. Marge in Ashland told us she was “quoted a price for our solar that included a generous credit from the City for installing solar. However, the City has decided that only two of our 23 panels count for the credit.”

This isn’t the solar installation company’s fault directly. Still, Marge said the rep “should not have quoted that much of a credit.”

Incentive typeIncentive amountAdministratorAvailability
Solar + Storage Rebate Program Rebate program Varies Oregon Department of Energy Statewide
Solar Within Reach Rebate program Up to $5,400-$6,000 per home Oregon Department of Energy PGE and Pacific Power customers
Custom Renewable Energy Projects Grant program Varies Energy Trust of Oregon PGE and Pacific Power customers
Solar Electric Incentives Program Rebate program Varies Energy Trust of Oregon PGE and Pacific Power customers
New Homes Incentive Program Rebate program $1,123-$4,085 Energy Trust of Oregon PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista customers
New Buildings Program Rebate program Varies Energy Trust of Oregon PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista customers
Home Energy Solutions for Existing Homes Rebate program $400-$500 per solar project Energy Trust of Oregon PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista customers
Ashland Electric Utility PV Rebate Program Rebate program $0.25/watt, up to $5,000 Ashland Electric Utilities Department Ashland residents
City of Ashland New Construction Incentive Rebate program Varies City of Ashland Ashland residents
EWEB Solar Electric Program Rebate program Up to $2,000 Eugene Water & Electric Board Eugene residents
Salem Electric PV Program Rebate program 50% of project cost or $1,500 Salem Electric Salem residents
Central Lincoln People's Utility District Renewable Energy Incentive Rebate program $500/kW-DC, up to $2,000 Central Lincoln People's Utility District Central Lincoln residents

» GREENEST STATES: Oregon ranks No. 3

Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program

The OSSRP program seeks to make solar more accessible, especially for low- and moderate-income residents. You get these rebates as discounts on the system's net cost. Rebates are given to approved contractors by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) after installation.

Residential customers can save up to $5,000 on solar and $2,500 on battery storage paired with solar. Low-income residents can save up to $30,000 on solar and $15,000 for paired storage. At least 25% of the rebate funds are reserved for low-income groups each year.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) rebates

  • Residents eligible for utility incentives: $0.20 per watt direct current (DC) (up to $5,000 or 40% of net costs, whichever is less)
  • Residents not eligible for utility incentives: $0.50 per watt DC (up to $5,000 or 40% of net costs, whichever is less)
  • Low- or moderate-income residents: $1.80 per watt DC (up to $5,000 or 60% of net costs, whichever is less)
  • Low-income service provider: $0.75 per watt DC (up to $30,000 or 50% of net costs, whichever is less)

Energy storage rebates

  • Residents: $300 per kWh of installed energy storage capacity (up to $2,500 or 40% of net cost, whichever is less)
  • Low-income residents: $300 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of installed energy storage capacity (up to $2,500 or 60% of net costs, whichever is less)
  • Low-income service providers: $300 per kWh of installed energy storage capacity (up to $15,000 or 60% of net costs, whichever is less)

What to know about net metering in Oregon

In Oregon, if your solar panels produce extra power, you get full credit for it on your bills. This "extra" power can be used later — the state’s net metering law lets you earn credit for the excess electricity your system sends back to the grid. This helps offset some of the costs over time.

How net metering works

Once your solar system is installed, your local utility company replaces the current meter with a bidirectional net meter. The new meter records both power taken from the utility and power fed back into the grid.

» LEARN: What are grid-tied solar systems?

Once connected, you’ll pay only for the net difference between the electricity you use and what you generate. If you produce more power than you consume in a month, you won’t see any kilowatt-hour charges on your bill — just the basic utility service fee, which is usually around $12.

For instance, let’s say your solar panels generate 200 kWh of energy in a month. Here are three scenarios that might be measured by a net meter.

Scenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3
Energy consumed 200 kWh 100 kWh 500 kWh
Net meter reading 0 kWh sourced from the grid 100 kWh credited to your account 300 kWh sourced from the grid
You pay for electricity

In Scenario 1, you essentially “break even,” so there’s no charge for power. In Scenario 2, you generated more than you used, so you get a credit toward your next bills. In Scenario 3, you needed more power than you generated, so you buy the difference from your local utility (e.g., PGE or Pacific Power).

Turning sunshine into savings

Excess energy turns into kilowatt-hour credits on your future bills (like in Scenario 2 above). These credits can accumulate and be applied during less sunny periods, like Oregon’s colder months.

It’s a great program to take advantage of, Karla in Talent told us. “I don’t worry about using the energy that I have,” she said. “And we make more than the energy our house uses. So, that gets banked, and then we can use that in the winter.”

Solar resources in Oregon

Below are some additional resources that can guide you through transitioning to solar in Oregon.

State resources

More local incentives

» GUIDE: Solar panel installation guide

Find solar companies in Oregon

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    Can I get free solar panels in Oregon?

    You can lease or enter a power purchase agreement with little to no upfront costs. Still, neither is totally free. Solar leases generally require a flat monthly fee; PPAs make you pay per unit of electricity.

    » MORE: Solar lease vs. PPA

    How can I pay for solar panels?

    You can pay cash, but most people finance solar panels. A solar loan works a lot like any other type of loan — there’s an application and approval process, and you pay it back over time (with interest). If you’re considering a solar loan, lease or PPA (power purchase agreement), always ask:

    • Is there a down payment?
    • How much will I pay per month?
    • When will monthly payments increase, and by how much?
    Are there any programs for low-income residents to go solar in Oregon?

    In addition to the Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program, Oregon has the Solar Within Reach program, which is another rebate program specifically designed for low-income residents. It’s available to PGE and Pacific Power customers with a gross annual income below a specific threshold ($58,688 to $155,746, depending on how many residents live in the household).

    Solar Within Reach incentive amounts

    • Pacific Power: $1.00/W, up to $6,000 per home
    • PGE: $0.90/W, up to $5,400 per home

    To qualify, your panels must be new, certified and have a minimum 20-year warranty; inverters require a minimum five-year warranty.

    How much can I save with solar panels in Oregon?

    The average lifetime savings is $23,058 with solar panels in Oregon if you pay cash, and the cost of energy without solar adds up to $40,348. Considering the average monthly electric bill is $106.49, if you get enough panels, you can save almost $100 per month.

    What utilities participate in net metering in Oregon?

    State law requires all utilities to offer net metering in compliance with Oregon Revised Statutes 757.300.

    What are RECs?

    Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) represent the environmental benefits of generating electricity from renewable sources like solar. RECs are different from net metering credits. Also known as “green tags,” RECs can be thought of as proof that utilities and businesses have met renewable energy goals.

    You earn one REC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours (or 1 megawatt-hour) of electricity your solar produces. Each REC is typically worth around $1. If you sell your home or business, the new owner inherits the solar system and its associated RECs.

    Are there any disadvantages to going solar?

    Some solar customers in Oregon have told us about post-installation issues, either with the city or their utility company.

    For example, Zeferino in Eugene said their installation was great, but it’s been a struggle getting the system turned on.

    “It's nothing against Sunrun. It’s PGE,” Zeferino said, adding that they’ve been paying for both the loan and full electric bills while waiting for the system to be turned on. “I just wished they would tell you upfront how long the process for PGE is.”

    Gary in Corbett encountered a similar problem.

    “All the PV panels on my roof are off-line,” Gary told us last year, and Generac Power Systems hasn’t been helpful in fixing the problem.

    » MORE: Solar energy pros and cons

    Bottom line: How much are solar panels in Oregon?

    Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 to $30,000 or more, though individual costs vary significantly. The ConsumerAffairs research team conducted an in-depth analysis to determine how much it costs to go solar in Oregon and average solar costs in other states.

    Oregon solar costs vs. nearby states

    Initial cost*ITC value (30%)Average cost per wattPayback period*25-year savings
    Oregon $17,290 $5,187 $2.60 14 years $15,648
    Washington $26,900 $8,070 $2.69 16 years $10,846
    Idaho $18,200 $5,460 $2.60 14 years $11,478
    California $16,380 $4,914 $2.73 8 years $30,000
    *After ITC, when you pay cash

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), “Oregon Programs.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023
    2. EcoWatch, “Solar Panel Cost in Oregon.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023
    3. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Summary of Inflation Reduction Act provisions related to renewable energy.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    4. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Oregon Solar.” Accessed Aug. 7, 2023.
    5. Oregon Department of Energy, “Energy Loan Program.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    6. Oregon Department of Energy, “​​Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    7. Energy Trust of Oregon, “Solar for Your Home.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    8. Energy Trust of Oregon, “Net Metering.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    9. Energy Trust of Oregon, “Understanding RECs.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
    10. Energy Information Administration, “Average Monthly Bill-Residential.” Accessed Aug. 8, 2023.
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