If solar energy is what you believe in and you live in Oregon, this year may be your year. Under HB 2618, the new Oregon Solar and Storage Tax Rebate Program solar electric systems are now paired with solar storage for residential and low-income service providers. HB 2618 will begin issuing rebates in January of 2020.
The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) now has $2 million for program administration and rebates. The rebates will be paid to contractors who install the solar and storage systems. Customers will be able to get a rebate as part of the savings they receive on the net cost of the system.
Oregon’s not alone in valuing solar energy and storage. The federal government offers the solar investment tax credit (ITC). ITC lowers the financial burden for residential and commercial building owners who want to install solar energy systems.
ITC gives you a 30% tax credit for the cost of your solar system. You can include solar panels and any other equipment for the solar system as part of your installation cost. This is a tax credit that discounts from any taxes you owe.
Read on to discover more informational facts about the new Oregon solar and storage tax rebate program, as well as its criteria to determine if it applies to you.
In the fall and winter of 2019, Oregon is writing conduct rulemaking to align with the January 2020 program start of HB 2618.
The rulemaking will include things like the application process and detailed information on the eligibility requirements. It will also include rebate disbursements schedules and compliance through the rules and regulations.
HB 2618 is detailed and specific, but there is some open interpretation not yet fully explained in a couple of areas.
Right now, Oregon solar and storage rebate program under HB 2618 includes:
- Low-income ratepayers or low-income service providers receive 25% of the program as a set-aside
- You can receive up to $5,000 or 60% of the project, or whatever’s less and it’s for any residential low-income projects
- There’s about $1.5 – 2 million dollars of rebates available to be disbursed over two years
- If you pair a low-income solar project with a storage project you can get up to $2,500 or 60% of the storage system cost – again it will be for whatever is less
Also, if you’re a commercial low-income service provider, you can receive $30,000 or 50% of the cost of your system, whichever is less. If you’re a commercial solar project and you pair with storage, the project can get 60% of the cost of the storage system or $15,000, again for whatever is less. Some other residential projects can apply to the program and can access rebates.
There are some detailed consumer protection provisions in the bill, so it’s best if you review the specifics with a tax attorney.
Oregon Solar Incentives
If the new Oregon solar and storage rebate program HB 2618 doesn’t provide you with enough incentive to try it out or you don’t qualify based on the criteria above, there are other options.
The Energy Trust of Oregon for PGE and Pacific Power customers only provide cash incentives if you install solar on your house or property. PGE and Pacific Power offer up to .45 cents/watt or a total of up to $3600.
Energy Trust of Oregon
You must be a customer of PGE or Pacific Power, and you have to confirm you have 75% or more solar windows at your home. You also must work with an Energy Trust Trade recommended contractor. Once you confirm your solar energy windows, you will have a free site visit.
The technician goes through your home and analyzes the direction of your roof, any shading you have, and other solar energy factors. It’s then the technician can figure out and give you your total solar resource fraction or TSRF. There are other program factors involved with this program, but the largest one is the incentive amounts were decreased for this tax year.
Five Steps to Going Solar
There are usually five steps when anyone in Oregon wants to go solar. The steps include:
- You want to contact the solar company ODOE, or Energy Trust Trade recommends, if applicable. That will start the consultation process.
- During the consultation process, you’ll want to ask any solar questions you want to be addressed about your property. You can also have them explain the available incentive you may qualify for.
- A site assessment has to be done, and this is when a solar technician walks around your home to assess where the best placement will be for your solar energy system. Every roof or site must be analyzed for the percentage of available sun energy it receives. There’s an examination of your electrical service, how old your roof is, and what condition your roof is in.
- You receive a project proposal that goes over the costs and any Oregon tax credit or incentives you may be eligible for. You’ll also get an estimate of how much you’ll save in your energy costs.
- The final step is the installation of the solar equipment, panels, or system. Most residences take about two days to a week. Commercial installation takes a bit longer, but it depends on the size and scope of the solar energy system is installed.
For 2019-2020 ODOE also still has energy programs that provide grants, tax credits, tax incentives, or rebates. The programs are in renewable energy grants, small energy loan programs, and renewable energy service programs. There’s also a program for grid modernization and an energy preparedness program that dovetails with Hanford cleanup oversight.
Your Next Step in Obtaining the Oregon Solar and Storage Tax Rebate
There’s no greater step than the first one, no matter what the project. Your first step, if you decide to proceed with the Oregon solar programs, incentives, or rebate program, is to contact a tax attorney versed and experienced in dealing with federal and Oregon energy initiatives. A tax attorney notices every detail.
Experienced tax attorneys can weigh the words in any solar incentive bill. They determine how much your solar project can bring you in incentives, or rebates. When you’re ready to move forward with helping the state of Oregon by using renewable solar energy reach out to Silver Tax Group.
Silver Tax Group’s holistic legal and financial approach gives you the tax information you need with the incentives you want.