Oregon Solar Rebate Homeowner Program Gets $10,000,000 Increase
This is the latest on Oregon solar programs. Take a read and check out the details below.
Oregon’s small-scale solar developers found good news in the Legislature’s “Christmas tree” funding bill passed as the 2021 session wrapped up last week.
It was festooned with $10 million for the Solar + Storage Rebate Program for the 2021-23 biennium that begins on Friday. That’s five times what lawmakers had earmarked for rebates when they created the program in 2019.
“Legislators recognized that this is an extremely popular program that has run without a hitch,” Angela Crowley-Koch, executive director of the Oregon Solar + Storage Industry Association, said.
Still, heading into the session it didn’t look good for the program. The solar trade group was lobbying for $3 million as it and lawmakers anticipated fiscal belt-tightening due to the pandemic.
But federal assistance loosened more dollars for the state. They didn’t make it to solar rebates through the Department of Energy’s budget bill that passed in early June, but were included in the sprawling late-session bill that makes funding allocations for specific programs and projects.
Solar is growing fast in Oregon. The state ranked seventh in the country in newly installed capacity in the first half of 2021 with 156 megawatts, according to the national trade group Solar Energy Industries Association.
But federal government data indicates most of that capacity was in the form of utility-scale projects. Less than 10% was small-scale, rooftop solar, the sort the Oregon rebate targets.
The program provides rebates up to $5,000 for home solar systems and $30,000 for providers of social services to people with low incomes. Energy storage systems can boost the home rebate by $2,500 and the service-provider rebate by $15,000.
Storage is gaining favor, Crowley-Koch said, as the threat of outages from fires and extreme weather grows.
A quarter of the total rebate funds are reserved for lower-income residential households and low-income service providers. The cap on the rebate amount is higher for lower-income households, as well, 60% of the system cost instead of 40%.