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Are Solar Panels Worth It in Portland? (Buyer’s Guide & FAQs)

Mike Powers
Written by Mike Powers Last Updated: June 17, 2022

As renewable energy becomes more popular, people are wondering if solar panels are worth it.

Installing solar panels can provide plenty of benefits, including reducing your carbon footprint and saving you money on your energy bill.

And if you’re living in Portland, you may think that the rainy city doesn’t get much sun.

Since Portland has many cloudy days throughout the year, are solar panels worth it? Let’s find out below.

Table of Contents

Are solar panels worth it in Portland?

The average cost of installing solar panels in Portland is about $15,000. However, you may be able to get a rebate from the state of Oregon, which could cover up to $6,000 of the cost. Over time, the savings from your utility bills will more than offset the cost of installing solar panels in Portland.

Solar panels can help you save money on your energy bill. In Portland, the average monthly electricity bill is about $100. However, if you have solar panels installed, you could see an average savings of about $20 per month.

Solar panels can also help you reduce your carbon footprint. Solar panels produce clean, renewable energy that doesn’t produce harmful emissions. If you have a typical 5-kilowatt solar panel system, it could offset about 8,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

In addition, solar panels can raise the value of your home. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar panels typically sold for 4.1% more than homes without solar panels on average.

Not only will you save money on your energy bills, but you’ll also make money when you sell your home.

The history of solar power in Oregon

Solar power has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it started to become a more common form of energy. In Oregon, the first large-scale solar power plant was built in 1982.

Today, there are many solar power plants in Oregon, and solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular way to generate electricity. Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy, and it is an important part of Oregon’s effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

What to Look Out For When Considering Solar in Oregon?

There are quite a few things to look out for when considering solar in Oregon.

Weather & Climate in Oregon

Solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity, so it stands to reason that Oregon, with its notoriously rainy weather, might not be the best place for solar panels. However, there are several reasons why Oregon is a great place for solar power.

Oregon gets a lot of sunlight during the summer months when electricity demand is typically highest. For example, in July, the state averages about 5.5 hours of sunlight per day. In December, the state averages about 4.5 hours of sunlight per day.

While Oregon might not be the sunniest state in the country, it still gets a decent amount of sunlight during the summer months when electricity demand is highest.

Secondly, many homes in Oregon have south-facing roofs, which are ideal for solar panels. This means that solar panels can be installed in a way that maximizes their exposure to sunlight.

Companies pushing solar leases or PPAs

You should always consider companies pushing solar leases or PPAs when considering solar in Oregon because they make it easy and affordable for you to go solar with little to no money down.

In most cases, you will only have to pay for the electricity that your system produces, which will save you money on your monthly electric bill. And if you ever need to move or sell your home, the company will remove the system for free.

Plus, there are many tax incentives and rebates available for going solar in Oregon, which can further offset the cost of your system. We’ll cover these more in detail below.

Upfront Fees

When you are considering solar in Oregon, you should consider the fees upfront. This is because the fees can range from $6,000 to $10,000. The average person pays about $8,000 upfront for their system.

But depending on your system size and where you live, that number can be lower or higher.

Also, the price of installation has come down a lot in recent years, so it is worth doing your research to get the best deal. There are also some tax rebates available for solar installations, so that can help to offset the cost as well.

In general, though, you should expect to pay some upfront costs when you go solar in Oregon.

Net Metering Policies in Oregon

Net metering is a billing system that allows customers who generate their electricity from renewable sources to “roll back” their meter whenever they produce more power than they consume.

In other words, if a customer produces 100 kilowatts of power but only uses 70 kilowatts, the customer will be credited for the 30 kilowatts of power that were “exported” to the grid. This credit offsets the customer’s future electric bills.

In Oregon, all investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are required to offer net metering to their customers. However, there are limits on the total amount of generation capacity that can participate in net metering.

For example, as of January 2019, Portland General Electric (PGE) and PacifiCorp have a limit of 500 megawatts (MW) and 1,500 MW, respectively.

There are also time-of-use (TOU) rates for some IOUs in Oregon. TOU rates vary the price of electricity depending on when it is used. For example, PGE has four TOU periods: off-peak, shoulder, peak and super peak.

Off-peak is the cheapest, while super peak is the most expensive.

If you have solar panels, you will want to generate as much electricity as possible during the off-peak period and use it during the more expensive peak periods. This can help you save money on your electric bill.

Pending policies & changes to incentives

There are also several pending policies and changes to these incentives that potential solar customers should be aware of before making the switch in Portland.

For example, the state is currently considering a change to the way it values solar credits, which could result in a decrease in payments for solar customers.

Be sure to do your research on any current or recent changes in policy.

Payback period

In Portland, the average payback period is 7-9 years. This means that if you spend $10,000 on a solar system, you would save about $1,300 per year on your electric bill.

After 7-9 years, you would have saved enough money to pay for the system. Solar is a great way to save money and help the environment!

Oregon solar panels cost

In Oregon, the average cost of a solar panel is about $3.70 per watt. This means that a typical Oregonian would need to spend about $11,000 on a new solar panel system.

Yet there are many ways to save money on your solar panel purchase. For example, you may be eligible for state or federal tax credits, which can reduce the cost of your system by up to 30%.

Many utility companies will also offer rebates for customers who install solar panels.

Oregon solar incentives or rebates

You may not know this, but Oregon offers some of the best solar incentives and rebates in the country. If you’re thinking about going solar in Portland, now is a great time to do it.

Here are just a few of the solar incentives and rebates that Oregon offers:

  • The Residential Energy Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $1,500 for solar energy systems installed on your primary residence.
  • The Business Energy Tax Credit allows businesses to claim up to $10,000 for solar energy systems installed at their business location.
  • The Solar Access Program provides low-interest loans for solar energy systems installed on residences and businesses. Loans are available for up to 100% of the cost of the system, with terms of up to 10 years.
  • The Solar Energy Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for solar energy systems installed on residences and businesses.

There are many more, so be sure to do your research before going solar.

Oregon solar power companies

In Oregon, many solar power companies provide services and products to help people take advantage of this technology. Some of these companies include:

  • SolarWorld manufactures solar panels and other solar equipment
  • Solar Oregon provides training and education on solar power;
  • SunPower produces solar panels and provides installation services.

There are also many smaller companies that provide products and services related to solar power.

Picking an installer

Picking a solar panel installer in Portland, Oregon can be a daunting task. But there are a few key things to keep in mind that will help make the process a bit easier.

First, it is important to find an experienced and reputable company. There are many solar panel installers in Portland, and not all of them are created equal. Make sure to do some research and read online reviews before making a final decision.

Second, it is important to get multiple quotes before deciding on an installer. Solar panels are a significant investment, so you want to make sure you are getting the best possible price.

Finally, make sure the company you choose has a good warranty policy in place. This will protect your investment in case anything goes wrong down the road.

By keeping these things in mind, you can be confident that you will find the right solar panel installer in Portland, Oregon for your needs.

Benefits of Solar Energy in Oregon

Let’s go over some of the key benefits of solar energy in Oregon.

Home resale value increases

Solar energy systems can increase the resale value of your home. In fact, studies have shown that homes with solar panels sell for about 4% more than homes without them.

This is because solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular, and buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home that has them.

Electricity bill savings

Solar energy can also save you money on your electricity bills. In Oregon, the average home uses about 940 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month.

If you were to install a 5-kilowatt (kW) solar panel system, it would offset about 18% of your monthly electricity usage.

At current electricity rates, that would save you about $10 per month, or $120 per year.

Clean, renewable energy

Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy. That means it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions, and it can be generated without harming the environment.

Tax incentives

As we mentioned earlier, Oregon offers some of the best solar incentives and rebates in the country. These incentives make solar even more affordable, and they are available to both homeowners and businesses.

Connecting to the grid in Oregon

The state of Oregon is served by numerous electric power companies. The Bonneville Power Administration is a federal agency that markets hydroelectric power from 31 federally owned dams in the Columbia River Basin. The agency also provides power to public utilities in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

PacifiCorp is another major electric company that serves customers in Oregon. It is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Other electric companies serving Oregon include Portland General Electric and Eugene Water & Electric Board.

As of 2016, about 79% of the electricity generated in Oregon came from renewable sources. Hydroelectric power accounted for about 54% of Oregon’s total electricity generation, while wind power accounted for about 23%.

Solar power, biomass, and geothermal energy made up the remainder of Oregon’s renewable energy mix. Non-renewable sources such as coal and natural gas accounted for the remaining 21% of Oregon’s electricity generation.

As you can see, Oregon is already a leader in renewable energy, and solar power plays a significant role in the state’s electricity mix. Therefore, it shouldn’t be difficult to connect to the grid.

Final Thoughts

Solar panels are definitely worth it in Portland. Not only will they save you money on your electricity bills, but they will also increase the resale value of your home.

Of course, this also depends on your needs and wants. But in the long-term, you’re most likely going to save money, typically around 7-9 years after installation.

Not only that, but solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy, and Oregon offers some of the best solar incentives and rebates in the country.

So, if you’re thinking about installing solar panels, Portland is a great place to do it.


Mike Powers
Mike Powers

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