In solar they trust: Energy Trust boosts business incentives
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
As solar industry businesses struggle to make a go of it, Oregon's renewable energy advocate wants to give the industry a gentle nudge.
The Energy Trust of Oregon nonprofit is increasing cash incentives for solar electric systems installed in businesses. It's also raising the size limit of systems eligible for incentives.
All told, the incentives amount to $3.1 million, which is available to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.
“While market momentum for residential solar installations has remained strong, demand for solar by businesses has waned,” said Peter West, Energy Trust's director of energy programs.
That's likely because incentives and federal and state tax benefits for businesses have declined more rapidly than prices of solar electric equipment have dropped.
“We determined that our incentives were insufficient to motivate customers given the current business conditions,” said West.
The new solar incentives run the gamut depending on the utility.
For Portland General Electric customers, the incentive rises to $1.20 per watt of installed capacity for systems up to 35 kilowatts, up from $1 per watt. The incentive for systems 36-200 kW starts at $1.20 per watt and declines to 60 cents per watt as the system's size increases. The maximum incentive for a single customer is $120,000 while the maximum system size eligible for incentives is 1,000 kW
For Pacific Power customers in Oregon, the incentive rises to $1.10 per watt of installed capacity for systems up to 35 kilowatts, up from 75 cents per watt. The incentive for systems between 36 and 200 kW starts at $1.10 per watt and drops to 50 cents per watt as the system increases. The maximum incentive for a single customer is $100,000 while the maximum system size eligible for funding is 1,000 kW.
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