Solar Panel Cost in Oregon (2022 Local Savings Guide)
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Oregon:
- Average Cost Per Watt: $2.60
- Cost of Average System: $18,278*
- Cost of Energy Without Solar: $40,348
- Payback Period: 14 Years**
- Lifetime Savings of Going Solar: $15,648
*Average system size is calculated using data from the Energy Information Administration. This price is after tax credit.
**Payback period is calculated assuming the system is purchased in cash.
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Cost of Solar Panels in Oregon
Solar panel systems in Oregon usually cost around $2.60 per watt. The average system in the area is about 9.5 kilowatts, which would cost an average of $24,700 before the federal solar tax credit or $18,278 after the credit. Although the typical per-watt price is below average, this total cost is above the national average because a larger system is needed in Oregon than in most other areas throughout the country.
Solar Panel System Installation Cost in Oregon
Solar panel systems are priced primarily on the system size required to offset your energy costs. Although residents enjoy relatively low electricity rates, most homeowners in Oregon have higher energy needs than average — around 916 kW per month — so a larger system will be required. A 9.5-kW system is typical throughout Oregon, but the table below provides estimated pricing of other common system sizes before and after the federal tax credit.
|Size of Solar Panel System||Oregon Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
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What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Oregon?
As seen in the chart above, the cost of solar panels in Oregon is mostly dependent on the size of the solar system. Because Oregonians have higher-than-average energy needs, a bigger system — around 9.5 kW — is typically needed to power a household.
Fortunately, the cost of solar is lower in Oregon compared to most states, which may soften the blow of needing a bigger system. But other factors will determine the total cost of your renewable energy system in Oregon, which we’ll discuss in detail below.
Because Oregon only sees 143 of sunshine a year, high-efficiency solar panels are needed to take full advantage of sunny conditions. That makes top-name solar panels and batteries like Maxeon and Tesla Powerwall more attractive in the Beaver State.
While they’ll cost more upfront, they’ll produce more energy long-term and come with more comprehensive warranty coverage than the average panel, giving you the most protection and energy savings over time.
All home solar energy systems come with panels and inverters, but many installers provide access to add-on products like solar batteries to provide power through outages, electric vehicle (EV) chargers and solar roofing. These additional options will increase the value of your solar project but also the upfront cost.
Solar Financing in Oregon
The average solar panel system in Oregon costs about $24,700 before the federal solar tax credit or $18,278 after the credit, which is still no small expense. Although the most cost-effective option is to pay for your solar panels upfront in cash, we know this isn’t feasible for every homeowner.
While Oregon has many solar rebate incentives (which we’ll discuss in the next section), many of the Department of Energy’s loan and grant programs have ended. However, below you’ll find a list of local solar lenders that can help you finance your solar project.
- Clean Energy Credit Union: Fixed interest rate loans for solar and storage homeowners.
- GreenSavers: Home energy loans available to homeowners in Portland and Bend through lenders Craft3 or Mid Oregon.
- Oregon On-Bill Loan Repayment: Loan up to $10,000 with up to 10 year repayment period for qualifying projects.
- Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union: Rates as low as 4.49% for qualifying solar projects.
- Savings Within Reach: Loans for energy-efficient upgrades up to $10,000 with 10 year repayment period
- Umpqua Bank: Offers various home construction loans to homeowners looking to add renewable energy or make energy-efficient upgrades.
- USDA REAP: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that extends to Oregon agricultural producers. If more than 50% of your gross annual income comes from agriculture, you may qualify for a grant of up to 25% of your total system cost or a loan to cover up to 75%.
Your solar installer should also be able to help answer any questions about solar financing and may even have an in-house program to help pay for your solar system.
Oregon Solar Installation Company
Each solar company will likely offer a different installation quote even for the same size project, as companies base their quotes based on labor and materials expenses, solar equipment brands they carry, warranty coverage, availability and more.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are 55 solar installation companies in Oregon.1 We’ve vetted the majority of these companies and found the best solar installers servicing Oregon to be Sunlight Solar, SunPower, Purelight Power, Blue Raven Solar and Tesla.
SunPower is a bit more expensive, but its Maxeon solar panels are the most efficient on the market, which — as mentioned — is important in a state like Oregon that has a less-than-average amount of sunny days per year. Plus, the company offers many different financing options to make solar more accessible.
On the other hand, Blue Raven Solar offers more affordable options and great financing plans, but the brands it carries may not be as top-notch compared to SunPower or Tesla. However, Blue Raven might be a good choice for homeowners in Southern Oregon who get more average sunshine than their neighbors to the north.
We always recommend getting quotes from several installers to find the best deal for you.
Additional Considerations and Costs in Oregon
We’ve discussed the main factors that will affect the total cost of your home solar panel system, but there are a few other things you should consider before going solar in Oregon.
- Permits: A national study found that local permitting can raise the cost of residential solar by 15 to 20%.2 Solar permitting laws (and costs associated) vary depending on where you live within Oregon. For example, the City of Hillsboro exempts renewable energy devices from permit fees and Clackamas County charges a fee that’s based on the total value of the project, excluding the cost of the solar panels and inverters.3 Often solar companies will take care of permit fees and add them to your installation bill.
- Licenses: As of July 2022, Oregon doesn’t have any solar installation requirements.
- Warranties: Most solar panel systems come with a warranty, which is great, considering you’ll be spending thousands on your system. Typically, longer and more comprehensive warranties — like the one from SunPower — are better. But be mindful, better warranty coverage tends to mean higher upfront costs.
- HOAs: Oregon passed the Solar Easements and Rights Law in 1979, which prevents homeowners associations (HOAs) from trying to restrict the installation of solar panel systems on a residential property.4
- Environmental zoning: Similar to permits, zoning laws will also depend on your local jurisdiction within Oregon. For example in Portland, solar panels may be no higher than five feet above the current highest point of a flat roof and no more than 12 inches from the surface of any pitched, hipped or gambrel roofs.5
Oregon Solar Incentives
For many homeowners, the idea of spending an average of $24,700 to install a solar panel system is unrealistic. Thankfully, the local and federal governments provide Oregon homeowners with a number of solar tax incentives and rebates to bring down those costs. Below are the most appealing nationwide and local incentives available to Oregon residents.
Federal Solar Tax Credit For Oregon Homeowners
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is available to homeowners across the country, including those in Oregon. This credit comes off of the federal taxes you owe. While it’s not an instant credit, it is one of the most substantial incentives. The credit is for a massive 26% of your entire system cost. In Oregon, where the average system costs around $24,700, that’s a credit of $6,422!
Homeowners looking to capitalize on the federal tax credit should plan on completing their solar conversion in 2022. The credit is scheduled to dip to 22% in 2023 and, as of right now, will no longer be available in 2024.
Net Metering Policies in Oregon
Net metering is a billing option offered by countless electric companies and mandated by many states throughout the country. It allows energy to flow back and forth between your solar power system and the grid. When you don’t produce enough energy for what you’re consuming, the grid makes up the difference. When you overproduce energy, you send the excess to the grid and get credited for anything you don’t need back to cover usage.
Essentially, you’ll be able to overproduce and use the excess energy to bring down your energy costs if you ever underproduce — like at night or on cloudy days.
Oregon state law requires that all utility companies offer net metering pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes 757.300. Your particular net metering arrangement will depend on your energy company, as the requirements are different for the state’s primary investor-owner utilities (PGE and PacifiCorp), municipal utilities, electric cooperatives and people’s utility districts. Make sure to check with your electricity provider before committing to solar and a net metering arrangement.
Local Solar Rebates in Oregon
In addition to the federal solar investment tax credit and the positive net metering policies in Oregon, the state government provides some additional incentives to entice homeowners to convert to solar.
First, the Solar + Storage Rebate Program is provided by the state in an effort to reduce the costs of installing solar panels and solar batteries. Homeowners can apply to receive the credit, which is based on system size and cost. This rebate could total $7,500 if you qualify and install both panels and an energy storage system.
The Renewable Energy Systems Exemption is a property tax exemption offered by the State of Oregon. In most cases, a property improvement will cause your property taxes to increase. The tax exemption states that your taxes won’t go up because of your solar conversion. Even though your panels will increase the value of your home, your taxes won’t go up as a result. Over time, this could save you thousands of dollars.
There are also some utility-specific rebates available for customers of a particular electric provider. For example, the Solar Within Reach is available for customers of Pacific Power and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). It aims to reduce the cost of going solar for low-income households.
It’s best to check for additional utility-specific rebates, as these are quite common in Oregon. You can look for others on the DSIRE database before going solar.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Oregon
Like with any other product, brand name matters for solar equipment, and the name can have a significant impact on your total system cost. Typically, higher-quality panels with better warranties cost more on a per-watt basis compared to lower-efficiency brands with less coverage.
Below you’ll find relative pricing for the top solar panel brands in Oregon so you can get a better idea of which brand may best fit your budget.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Ready to see how much solar panels would cost for your Oregon home? You can get a free, no-obligation quote based on your household’s energy needs by selecting one of our preferred providers below.
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FAQs: Solar Panel Cost Oregon
The EcoWatch team is thrilled to get questions regularly from Oregon homeowners, signifying that the interest in solar power is only increasing in the Pacific Northwest. Below are some of the questions we get asked most frequently, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at email@example.com.
The average cost to install a solar panel system in Oregon is $24,700 before the federal tax credit or $18,278 after. These figures are based on the average cost per watt in the area — $2.60 — and the fact that a 9.5-kW system is usually needed to offset the relatively high energy consumption in OR.
With that being said, every system will vary in size and cost, so your best option is to get a customized quote from a reputable solar installer in your area.
Based on data from Zillow, a solar panel system will increase your property value by an average of 4.1%. Given the average home price in Oregon of $492,101, that comes out to an average value increase of $20,176! This benefit alone entirely makes up for the average cost of going solar after the federal tax credit in OR.
It’s crucial to understand that only buying your panels outright or financing them will provide this benefit. Solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) will not bump up your home value.
In almost every situation, buying your solar panels with cash or solar financing is a better option than leasing. Leasing doesn’t give you access to the same incentives and benefits.
For example, your home value won’t increase if you lease your system, which means you’ll be passing up a bump in the value of around $20,176, on average in Oregon. You also won’t have access to the federal tax credit if you lease, which is another $6,422 you’re passing up by leasing. The other state incentives mentioned above will also be off the table if you lease.
Leasing can be helpful for some customers whose credit scores are too low to secure financing, but in most cases, solar loans are a better option, and many financing options often have similar no-money-down perks to leases.
No, solar panels are not free in Oregon. Some less reputable companies use “free panels” as a marketing tactic to get you to sign a lease or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). These options are far less beneficial than purchasing or financing your panels, so it’s best to stay away, as enticing as “free panels” sound.
Yes, absolutely. Although the energy needs are higher in Oregon than in many other areas throughout the country, it’s still possible to offset your utility bills entirely by going solar. Provided your roof can support the system size you need, the net metering program can help you bring your electric bills down to $0.