Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy provides multiple advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.
- Lowered energy bills: You can skip the expensive cost of grid-tied power by generating some electricity right where you use it.
- Better energy independence: Solar panels can keep your home functioning through blackouts and emergencies. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery storage.
- Reduced carbon footprint: Solar is a highly abundant clean energy source, meaning you can minimize or conquer your home's dependence on non-renewable sources.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Portland Homeowners?
Oregon homeowners who choose solar could qualify for reimbursements, tax credits, special financing and rebates. Here are just a few of the area's incentive programs.
Incentive Type: Rebate ProgramWebsite: portlandgeneral.com
Heat Pump Instant Discount: $200
Efficient Heat Pumps: $700
Heat Pump Controls: $250
Ductless Heat Pump: $800
Smart Thermostat: $50-$100
Heat Pump Water Heaters: $500 (special pricing available at certain retailers as well)
Incentive Type: Rebate ProgramWebsite: insider.energytrust.org
Varies based on performance above code and the particular energy efficient measures installed; can range from $600 to $4,680
Solar ready incentive: up to $200
Incentive Type: Personal Tax CreditWebsite: ecowatch.com
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.
How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Portland
Choosing a company is the first step toward a well-oiled and cost-efficient solar array. Make your choice based on the following vital factors.
Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels cost the most but perform the best. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but they're worth it if you want a traditional panel style without the high cost. Thin-film panels aren't the best for large residential installations, but they are excellent accessories for non-traditional roofs.
Additional accessories, such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery storage, will raise your overall investment. These upgrades extend your system's efficiency while adding more conveniences to your home. Not every solar installer offers these add-ons, so look for an installer that has them if it's essential for you.
Licensing and Training
Solar installers in Oregon must be licensed and bonded by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. For PV installations, each standard journeyman on the job will have at least 8,000 hours of hands-on experience and be subject to continuing education requirements. Installers of solar thermal systems must be either a licensed solar heating installer and a plumbing journeyman. Check for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), among the solar industry's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.
There are a plethora of ways to pay for a new solar system, and the right one will minimize your overhead. A few of the most common options include power purchase agreements (PPAs), cash payments, loans, and leases. Most solar experts recommend a cash payment or using a solar loan. Cash payments require a large up-front sum, but they help you avoid paying interest, grant you system ownership, and qualify you for cost-saving incentives. Solar loans have the same benefits, though you'll pay more in total due to interest and fees. Much like a auto or home loan, you'll pay a set monthly rate with as little as $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate based only on the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. We generally don't recommend these two options because you won't own the solar system and are disqualified from using solar incentives. Ask each installer you're evaluating about the payment plans it offers. A consultant can help you determine the best option for your budget.
Expert Tips By
This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.
Portland Solar FAQ
How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?
Most Portland homeowners spend about $1,340 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $1,051.08 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.
Is solar energy readily available in Portland?
Yes, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Portland. 20,500 homes use solar power, backed by a state solar economy with 3,750 job opportunities and counting.
Should I expect a boost in my property value after switching to solar energy?
Yes, new solar systems mean higher property values according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.) Homeowners could project a $20 property value increase for each dollar they save on energy. Therefore, $600 in energy savings could boost your property value by $12,000.
What is the average payback period for Portland solar panels?
The average payback period for a Portland solar loan is 9.7 years. By paying off extra principal each month, you can shorten the payback period and own your system faster.
What can I do to assess my home's solar potential?
To determine your home's solar readiness, nothing substitutes for a comprehensive estimate from a local solar provider. However, you can use the PVWatts tool for a simple solar viability estimate based on public data, including tree cover, local weather and topography, panel efficiency, and system size.
How long does the solar installation process last?
Your solar job's duration will depend on its complexity and size, as well as Portland's permit and inspection procedures. It could take several weeks to two months on average.
How can I boost my solar array's performance?
To enhance your solar system's performance, you can use the following strategies:
- use energy-efficient appliances ,
- regularly clean your solar panels ,
- optimize the panels' position with your solar installer ,
- upgrade to a more efficient inverter trim or cut down trees in the way of your panels
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.