Get Started: Solar Panel Costs, Incentives & Benefits

PGE proudly supports solar as an important part of Oregon’s clean energy future.

Many people are discovering the benefits that come from adding solar panels onto their property – and you can too! It's easier than you might think.

What you need to know before installing solar

Whether you’re looking to install solar panels on your home or your business – we can help. We’ll answer some of the most common questions about solar costs, incentives and benefits. And we can provide you with important resources that'll arm you with the knowledge and information you need to talk to solar contractors with ease. Not sure you’re ready just yet? We can help with that, too. Learn about the many benefits of solar.

Are you a solar installer? Visit our Renewable Energy Installers section for helpful tips and resources.

Three things to consider before installing solar in Oregon

Don’t let Oregon’s weather cloud your opinion of solar. We may not be known for our sunshine, but we do get more of it than Germany, which is the world leader in solar energy generation. Whether you’re thinking of installing solar panels on your rooftop or a ground mount solar system, your solar contractor can help you decide which method is best for your home or business. Here are some additional tips you should consider:

Location matters for solar

Southern exposure provides maximum output, although east or west orientation may work also. There should be little or no shading year-round for optimal performance. This applies now and in the future, so consider surrounding trees or nearby construction before installing. Talk to your solar contractor for more details.

Connecting your panels to the grid

Most PGE lines can easily support new solar projects, however some areas have limited capacity to connect solar without significant changes to the feeder or the substation. Small residential and business projects can usually be accommodated, but they may require design changes to protect grid safety and reliability.

Check your address here.

Sizing your solar system based on your needs

Your PGE bill shows how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you use both monthly and daily. You and your solar contractor can use this information to determine what size solar system will meet your electrical needs. Be sure to consider any purchases you’re planning like an EV or heat pump. Note, the output of a solar system varies depending on weather, season, and time of day. This early planning stage is also a great time to consider battery storage for backup power and resiliency.

How much do solar panels cost and what incentives are available?

While, there are a lot of expenses associated with a new solar power system, you can cut your net costs by thousands with incentives and federal tax credits PGE. Additionally, Net Metering rewards you with ongoing bill credits for the power you generate. Apply for Net Metering online PowerClerk prior to starting your installation project.

Calculate the cost of solar

Use the Energy Trust of Oregon solar cost calculator PGE to see how installing a solar system might impact your budget.

Solar incentives and tax credits

Participants in the PGE Net Metering program are eligible for tax credits and incentives. Learn more about tax credits PGE from the Department of Energy and incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon PGE.

Net Metering credit

When enrolled in our Net Metering program, PGE handles both your regular PGE bill and the credit you get for the extra power your solar panels contribute to the grid. The power you use from PGE is offset by the excess power you send back to PGE. 

Work with an approved solar contractor

You’ll want the job done right, but it’s also important to note that Energy Trust of Oregon incentives require installation by approved contractors. There are also certain requirements that may need to be met for credits and incentives to apply. Be sure to ask your contractor for details.

How to choose a solar installer

PGE doesn’t partner directly with solar contractors. We recommend hiring a qualified contractor to design and build your system and assist with the Net Metering application process.

We recommend that you:

  • Research contractors online and read reviews of them

  • Get at least three bids

  • Ask contractors for examples of their past work

  • Verify with third parties that the contractor is legitimate

Get an accurate estimate from the solar installer

Make sure any estimate you get from your contractor is based on a realistic projection of your current and future electricity prices.

For example, if you’re thinking of getting an EV, adding a heat pump or electrifying your home, you’ll need to account for the energy those appliances will use.

Questions to ask before installing solar

How do I find a solar installer?

Visit Energy Trust of Oregon to find a qualified trade ally contractor. Remember, only Energy Trust qualified contractors can be used to receive the incentives provided by Energy Trust of Oregon. PGE does not partner with any specific solar contractor and it's important to get multiple bids and do your research before signing any contracts.

How much energy will your solar panels generate? How will this compare with the energy you consume?

These are just a couple of the many questions a qualified installer will map out for you at your specific location.

How much does it cost to own the solar panels? Is financing available for solar?

Purchasing a solar system outright will give you the quickest payback and the highest return on investment. There are other options too. Be sure to check with your bank about available financing. Also, some installers offer financing and/or leasing options.

What incentives are there to help with solar costs?

Here are some great resources to help you reduce the upfront costs of your solar system:

Energy Trust of Oregon incentives are available when you use a trade ally contractor.

Federal Incentive tax credit

  • Solar systems installed between 2022-2032 are eligible for a 30% tax credit. Consult the Department of Energy for more information on tax credits.

  • Expenses that are included to claim the tax credit are: solar panels/modules, contractor labor and costs, balance of system equipment (i.e. wiring, inverters, and mounting equipment).

Oregon rebates for solar with storage

  • Under the HB2618, solar systems combined with storage (batteries) can qualify for a rebate. Rebates are on a first come, first served basis for complete applications.

  • The maximum rebate that can be claimed for solar + storage is $5,000 for the solar portion and maximum of $2,500 for the energy storage portion

Learn more: attend a free webinar on solar in Oregon

Solar Oregon, a solar education non-profit, offers Solar Basics workshops and an easy overview of How to Go Solar.

Get even more out of your solar panels – with battery storage

When you combine solar with a battery storage system you gain efficiency and peace of mind. How does it work? Simply put - when your solar system generates excess electricity, the battery stores it for later use. When your solar system isn’t producing enough electricity, it draws from your battery and/or the grid to meet the electrical needs of your home or business. A battery also allows your solar panels to power your home during an outage. (Solar alone can’t power your home in an outage.) So when you add battery storage to your solar system, you are more prepared for emergencies and severe weather. Similar to installing just a solar system, adding solar with a battery storage system can qualify for incentives and tax credits too. Learn more about the benefit of Solar + Storage and how to get started from Energy Trust of Oregon.

PGE also offers a Smart Battery Pilot program that rewards you to help add even more renewable energy to the grid – another win!

If solar doesn't work for your home, try these options.

If generating your own power isn’t a good fit for you, consider PGE’s renewable power options: Green Future Choice or Green Future Blockor Oregon's Community Solar program which brings small, and often more affordable, solar projects to communities throughout Oregon.

More resources to help you understand your solar options