Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy and Related Incentives

Rural Renewable Energy Development Zones—A three- to five-year exemption from property taxes on new investments in solar energy farms, geothermal power generation, biofuel production facilities and other eligible projects in a designated county.

Fee in Lieu of Property Taxes PDF—Pursuant to executing an agreement with the county (and city, if inside one), any solar project may be exempt for up to 20 years, contingent on annual payment to the county/city of a fee equal to $7,000 per megawatt of the project's nameplate capacity, and provided that the project is or was not subject to any other exemption.

State Energy Loan Program (SELP)—for renewable energy, including manufacturing facilities. Loans range from 5 to 20 years and $20,000 to $20 million, depending on the borrower's need and financial situation. The Oregon Department of Energy finances these low-interest loans through the issuance of state general obligation bonds.

Renewable Energy Development Grants—Competitive for energy production systems that produce energy from renewable sources.

Biomass Producer or Collector Tax Credits—Income tax credit available to agricultural producers and biomass collectors for the production or collection of biomass for use in Oregon as biofuel or to produce biofuel. The credit is based on the amount of biomass transferred to a biofuel producer during the tax year. This credit may be transferred to another Oregon taxpayer.

Energy Conservation Tax Credit—Transferable income tax credit based on 35% of the business investment to achieve substantial energy efficiencies. Two programs: Small Premium Projects (under $20,000) and Competitively Selected Projects (more than $20,000).

Alternative Energy Systems (ORS 307.175)—This abatement exempts the additional taxable value of equipping a property with net metering or with alternative systems for onsite electricity or climate control as compared to a conventional system until 2017.

Renewable Energy Policies

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)—Oregon has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in the nation. This standard requires that electric utilities must meet at least 25% of their Oregon load with renewable energy by the year 2025. Virtually all of Oregon's electric load growth will therefore come largely from new renewable energy. The standard also provides a goal that at least 1/3 of these targets be met by resources smaller than 25 megawatts in size. Solar energy counts double towards meeting the targets.

Feed-in Tariff—In 2009, Oregon enacted one of the first Feed-in Tariffs in the U.S. for photovoltaic systems. The law establishes a pilot feed-in tariff for each investor-owned utility in the state. Under this pilot program, each qualifying system may be up to 0.5 megawatts in size, with a maximum of 27.5 megawatts in total statewide capacity.

By 2020, investor-owned utilities need to also have at least 20 megawatts in total capacity for solar photovoltaics from projects between 0.5 and 5 megawatts in size.

Energy Trust of Oregon—With more than 12 years of experience, the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon provides information, technical assistance and up to $500,000 in cash incentives to help commercial, industrial and agricultural businesses around the state maximize energy savings and produce renewable energy.

Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC)—This income tax credit for homeowners and renters is for renewable energy or premium-efficiency systems installed at Oregon residences.