Incentives for Going Solar

Small house with solar panels

Solarize Northwest allows homeowners and businesses to tap into lowered upfront costs through program participation. Combining government incentives and the Solarize group discount, many program participants are able to recoup approximately 50% of their cost within one year!  Here’s how it breaks down:

Available in both Washington and Oregon:

The Solarize Discount: group purchase brings down the cost of a solar system

By participating in Solarize Northwest, solar installers are able to offer significant group discounts on the purchase and installation of solar systems through the program’s focus on participant education, outreach, and economies of scale. Solarize discounts average between 10-15%.

Federal Tax Credit: 30% off total system cost

The federal government provides a tax credit to cover 30% of the total installed cost of your solar system. If you do not have the tax appetite to take the entire 30% credit in the first year, the remaining credit can be rolled over to your next tax return. This incentive begins to phase out after December 31, 2019.

Net Metering: retail value for the energy you send into the grid

Receive credit on your utility bill for excess electricity produced by your system. In Washington, credits carry forward month to month for a year. In Oregon, the policy depends on the utility. This billing arrangement does not expire.

Available in Washington:

Washington State Sales Tax Exemption: no sales tax on purchase + installation of solar system

When you purchase a solar system sized below 10 kilowatts (most residential systems), your purchase is exempt from state sales tax.  This incentive expires September 30, 2017.

Washington State Production Incentive: Up to $0.54 per kilowatt-hour produced by your solar system

Washington state has established an annual production incentive that pays you for every kilowatt-hour of energy your solar system produces through June 30, 2020. The amount varies depending on where the equipment is made. Some utilities may reach a cap on the state funds they can pay out, affecting payments to existing and new customers. On July 7, 2017, the legislature replaced this incentive program with a new one. The new incentive will pay up to $0.21 per kilowatt-hour for 8 years, or up to 50% of the price paid, whichever occurs first. Customers installing systems between now and September 30 can choose between the new program and the previous one.

Available in Oregon:

Renewable Energy Tax Credit: $1.30 per watt installed

You can get a credit on your Oregon income taxes for adding a solar system to your home. The credit is currently $1.30 per watt of installed capacity up to $6,000 per residence taken over four years ($1,500 per year) limited to 50 percent of the cost of the system. This incentive expires January 1, 2018.

Utility Incentives

Many Oregon utilities have solar incentives. Most of these incentives are cash payments based on system size that are paid once your system is installed. Find more information about some of these incentives below.

Additional Resource

Solar Incentive Database: The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) provides comprehensive information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that support solar energy.