Cost of Solar Panels in Oregon
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in Oregon?
Solar panels in Oregon cost an average of around $2.50-$2.60 per watt. This is on the low end of average compared to the rest of the United States, which is a great sign up front.
Most solar panels are sold in 250 watt sizes, meaning an average solar panel is going to cost something like $600-$650. You are likely going to require something between 20 and 28 solar panels to be completely energy self-sufficient from the grid, meaning your cost for solar panels is going to be somewhere between $12,000 and $18,000. And yes, this is a lot of money, but never fear- there are various incentives, rebates and tax credits available out there that can bring down your costs significantly, long before you even start generating electricity.
What are the benefits of going solar?
The state of Oregon is one of the most forward-thinking states in the Union when it comes to green or renewable energy sources such as solar panels. They offer a variety of benefits for people looking to go solar, and here are a few:
- Renewable Portfolio Standards: The state of Oregon has mandated that 25% of all its energy must be produced by renewable energy sources by the year 2025. That means utility companies will be looking to encourage customers to go solar before that date hits, because they will have to meet this mandate or pay stiff fines. It will be far less headache and probably cheaper for them if they just find a way to get their customers to install renewable energy systems, like solar panels.
- Oregon’s net metering laws are a huge perk for consumers installing solar systems in their home. I’ll explain more about net metering later, but just know for now that you want strong net metering when it comes to measuring your system’s electrical output.
- Oregon interconnection standards make it far easier to hook your solar system up to the grid, which will help your system start producing free green energy that much faster. Furthermore your solar installer will have an easier time doing it and will likely be able to do it cheaper than they would otherwise.
- State energy rebates are handled through the Oregon Incentive Trust program. Residents who install renewable energy systems like solar panels have the option of receiving a rebate in one lump sum or having their installer take that amount off the cost of your installation. In other words, the state will help pay for your solar installation if you want it to.
- Performance-Based Incentives (PBIs) are another huge bonus for Oregon residents to go solar. Also available are “Solar Power Performance Payments”. Both these incentives are based on the power system you use. Depending on how much power and the number of kilowatt hours your system generates, you will receive a number of solar energy renewable credits equal to the energy you feed back into the grid. In plain English, you will get credits toward future energy bills based on unused electricity produced by your solar panels.
- Oregon residents are exempt from property tax reassessments based on your installation of a solar panel system. Simply put, your taxes will not go up because you install solar panels.
- The federal government offers all taxpayers a credit on your tax liability of 26% of the total cost of your system and installation. If your system costs $20,000, then that’s a credit of over $5,000, which is a huge savings to you.
- SELP (Small scale Energy Loan Program) loans offer low interest help to Oregonians who want to install renewable energy projects, such as solar panels. For more information, see oregon.gov/energy/Incentives/Pages/Energy-Loan-Program.aspx
How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?
One great thing about solar panels is that it is a well known fact among realtors that homes with solar panels tend to sell faster than homes without them. Furthermore, solar panels can be counted on to increase the value of your home anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. Your realtor can tell you more about how to decide how much your home value has increased due to the addition of your solar panels.
What are the Effects of Net Metering on a Solar System?
Net metering is what allows your solar system to feed power back into “the grid” and get you credit for it. States with strong net metering laws, such as Oregon, gives consumers a huge incentive for going solar, because every kilowatt hour of energy you feed back into the system will get you credits toward future electric bills- essentially, not only are you getting free electricity to use right now, you’re also getting free electricity in the future for months when your solar panels do not produce enough to fit your needs.
How much solar power do I need to power my home?
Every home is going to be different, and every person in every home is different. Two people living in the exact same home are going to use a different amount of electricity, so it’s impossible to say exactly how much an individual will need without looking at past electric bills. Most American homes needs between 6 and 8 kilowatts of solar panels to be completely energy self-sufficient. Your solar installer will be able to look at your history of energy usage on your electric bills and give you a better idea of how much you will need your installed system to produce to fit your needs.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in Oregon?
It is currently estimated that your solar panels will pay for themselves in between 7 and 9 years- which is very fast. What this means is that after rebates, incentives, credits, etc, your solar panels will have produced as much monetary value as they actually cost you within the first 10 years of you having them. This is a really fast turnaround, and the best part is that they will continue to produce monetary value in the form of free electricity and solar renewable energy credits for another 10-20 years after they have paid for themselves- meaning they will produce 3 times as much monetary value as they cost in their lifetime. So if for no reason other than this, you can expect to get more than your money’s worth out of your solar panels before they need replacing.
How long do solar panels last?
Most solar panels are warrantied for 20-25 years by their manufacturer, and most solar installers offer a similar warranty on their work. This means that you can expect your solar panels to be fully functional for at least this long barring catastrophe, and you will likely have them for several years afterward.
Types of Solar Panels & inverters
There are currently two major types of solar panels used in home installations- Monocrystailline and Polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels tend to be smaller and more efficient, allowing you to fit more panels on your roof, and they work with less direct sunlight. They also tend to last longer, though they are more expensive.
Polycrystalline panels on the other hand are bigger and need more space for installation. They require more direct sunlight and need to have very little shade over them. They don’t last as long as monocrystalline panels, but they are cheaper.
Inverters are the devices that actually turn your captured sunlight into electricity, and there are three basic kinds that are used by most solar installation companies- String inverters, Micro-Inverters and Power Optimizers.
String inverters are your standard inverters you normally find in home installations. They need direct sunlight and need all your solar panels facing the same way, but they are usually the least expensive option
Micro Inverters on the other hand can work with less direct sunlight and work well with panels that are facing different directions. However, they cost more than string inverters.
Power optimizers are the most efficient inverters and are less expensive than micro-inverters. They also require more direct sunlight however, and do not do well with shade.
How does weather affect solar panels?
Before making a decision on solar panels, it is a good idea to consider your local climate.
* Fog / Cloud cover- Can cause your panels to only function at 10-30% their normal capacity on an overcast day
* Rain- Aside from the associated cloud cover, rain is actually beneficial to solar panels, as it helps clean off the grime that might collect on them over time.
* Snow- Accumulation of snow on solar panels is a big negative, as it blocks them from producing.
* Temperature- Despite popular belief, solar panels actually perform better in cooler temperatures. Any temperature above 77 degrees faerenheit actually decreases their efficiency.
How do I get solar panels installed in Oregon?
The state of Oregon has quite a few reputable solar installers to choose from, and depending on your area of the state you might even be able to call on one just across the border in a neighboring state. For the purposes of this article however, we will focus strictly on those installers to be found within the borders of Oregon.
Company: Zamp Solar
Address: 63255 Jamison St, Bend, OR 97703
Years in Business: 11
Reviews: 4.5 / 5 Facebook (23 reviews), 4.7 / 5 Birdeye (37 reviews)
Business Quote: “Our roots at Zamp Solar® came from humble beginnings where we sold off-grid solar kits from a small garage in 2010… Today, Zamp Solar® is the premier manufacturer and innovator of off-grid solar solutions in America.’’
The Good: No complaints with the BBB, 11 years in business
The Bad: Not BBB accredited
Summary: Heartwarming story from their “About us” page. Looks like a very solid company, I can’t find anything to dislike about them. If you are in their service area, definitely give them a look.
Company: Sunlight Solar Energy
Address: 50 SE Scott St, Bend, OR 97702
Years in Business: 23
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (4 reviews), 4 / 5 Yelp (3 reviews),
Business Quote: “Sunlight Solar provides system design and turn-key installation of grid-tied solar electric systems for homes and businesses throughout Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. With over 30 years of experience, we offer premium designs and competitive pricing for solar electric systems backed by industry-leading warranties and equipment.“
The Good: No complaints from the BBB, good reviews, 23 years in the business
The Bad: Not BBB accredited, limited web presence, not many reviews
Summary: Another very solid looking company, I can’t find any major red flags, but they do have a fairly limited web presence and a small number of reviews available to go on. Doesn’t mean the company isn’t good, just means you won’t have a lot of outside opinions to judge them by. But again, with 23 years in the business there is no reason not to give this company a chance.
Company: True South Solar
Address: 125 Clear Creek Dr, Ashland, OR 97520
Years in Business: 11
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (17 reviews), 5 / 5 Sunpower (3 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (5 Yelp), 4.8 / 5 Birdeye (57 reviews)
Business Quote: “True South Solar is the leading installer of residential and commercial solar electric systems in Southern Oregon. From tax credit assistance to easy financing, our experienced team of pros makes it easy to add solar to your home or business. Get your free quote today!”
The Good: 11 years in business, lots of good reviews
The Bad: Not BBB accredited
Summary: So the trend I’m noticing for these Oregonian solar companies is that they tend to have very good reviews and not be BBB accredited. I’m not sure what that’s about. Either way, here is another nice looking company that says all the right things on their website and social media. The thing that may set them apart from the previous two I’ve reviewed however is that they have a ton of reviews out there (almost all of which are good). This might be the best looking one I’ve seen in Oregon so far, so if you find yourself in their service area, make sure to consider them for your installation.
So as we’ve shown, Oregon is a state primed and ready for solar power. The state itself is a motivated seller- it has put out lots and lots of incentives to encourage citizens and businesses to consider switching to solar or renewable energy, and has set some lofty goals for how much of the state’s total power should be generated by green energy sources. We looked at just a small handful of the many, many solar installers in the state of Oregon that are ready, willing and able to get your home hooked up as soon as possible. So in the end, it comes down to whether or not you are financially able and committed to getting your home off the grid. If you are, then Oregon is a great place to do it.