Solar for Your Home – Energy Trust of Oregon

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Solar for Your Home

These incentives apply to solar electric systems owned by the homeowner.

Energy Trust keeps a portion of the Renewable Energy Certificates produced by projects that receive an incentive. Read this fact sheet for more information on Renewable Energy Certificates.

Incentive offers are subject to funding availability and may change at any time. Check with your contractor.

Note: Energy Trust provides technical assistance and financial incentives but does not develop, sell or install energy systems or equipment. This work is done by independent businesses that are solely responsible for the quality and performance of their installations.

Tax credits

A tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the income tax you owe. Both federal and state income tax credits are non-refundable, which means you must pay taxes in order to claim the credit(s).

Consult your tax professional to learn how tax credits and rules may apply to you. This information does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties.

Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit: Up to $6,000 per residence for installing a solar electric system. The credit is applied over four years—up to $1,500 per year—and limited to 50 percent of the cost of the system. If you receive an Energy Trust incentive, your trade ally will also complete your application for an Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit. View the requirements .

Federal Energy Tax Credit: Covers 30 percent of the cost of a solar electric system installed by December 31, 2019. You must claim this credit yourself. View requirements and information on how to claim the tax credit .

Home solar financing: weighing your solar financing options

There are several financing options available to help make installing solar electric systems more affordable.

Cash and loans

If you have the savings available, paying for your solar installation with cash will typically provide the highest return on investment and the quickest payback. A solar contractor can provide you a proposal with specific figures.

Many homeowners use a loan to pay for some or all of their solar project. The loan could come from your existing bank, a financial institution that offers solar-specific loans, your solar contractor or even from the equipment manufacturer. Some lenders will allow you to pay down your loan principal when you receive your tax credits. With a loan, you benefit from significantly reduced utility costs and own the system outright at the end of the loan term.

This list of regional lenders for home solar projects may be helpful as you consider your options. All the lenders are independent financial institutions, and Energy Trust does not make or influence lending decisions. We recommend exploring multiple financing options to find the solution that best fits your needs and budget.

Leases and Power Purchase Agreements

With a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA), you pay little or nothing upfront and the system is installed, owned and maintained by a solar service provider. You make lease payments or purchase the electricity produced by the system on a monthly basis.

The rate you pay for the solar electricity may or may not be less than your current electricity rate. When your agreement ends, usually after 20 years, you have the option to remove the system, renew the agreement or purchase the system. If you move, there are usually options for buying out the system or transferring the agreement to the new homebuyer.

If you choose a lease or PPA, Energy Trust will pay the incentive to your solar service provider. You see the benefit as a more affordable lease or power purchase price.

The solar service provider and Energy Trust will share ownership of the Renewable Energy Certificates produced by your solar electric system. Read this fact sheet for more information on Renewable Energy Certificates.

Read this Guide to solar leases and loans for more information about your financing options.

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