Solar feed-in tariff rules approved
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
The Oregon Public Utilities Commission approved Friday the rules for a feed-in tariff incentive for solar energy projects that's being called one of the most ambitious in the nation.
Under the rules, which are scheduled to go into effect on July 1st, a pilot program will pay solar project owners, including homeowners and small-business owners, as much as 65 cents per kilowatt-hour for as long as 15 years to produce solar electricity, regardless of whether they use the electricity themselves or it is sent back into the grid.
The incentive is available to customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power, with a limited total capacity amount covered by the program allocated to each utility. To qualify for the tariff, projects must reserve capacity in advance, which is expected to create a rush when the program opens in July. The rules provide for a regular reviews of the solar projects to make sure they are performing as expected as well as a review of the pay-out rate for the project to make sure it is appropriate given market conditions.
"While Oregon may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think about solar, I believe this state has a lot of potential and these pilot projects will show us if we can encourage the use of this renewable resource in a cost-effective way," said Ray Baum, chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission, in a news release.
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