Skip Navigation

The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are! The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Solar Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in the summer of 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new DSIRE and are unfortunately only able to make minimal updates to the DSIRE website at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for using DSIRE.

US Department Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
IREC North Carolina Solar Center
Home Glossary Links FAQs Contact About Twitter    Facebook
Oregon

Oregon

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Solar Volumetric Incentive and Payments Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 06/18/2013
Program Overview:
State: Oregon
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Amount:Varies, depending on system size and geographic zone
Terms:Incentive rate will be set at time of enrollment and payment will be made for kilowatt-hours generated over 15 years
Eligible System Size:Systems must be 500 kW or less
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:RECs transfer to utility and are associated with the energy provided by the contracted systems.
Start Date:7/1/2010
Expiration Date:3/31/2016, or when program cap is reached
Web Site: http://www.oregon.gov/puc/pages/solar/index.aspx
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
OR PUC Order No. 11-339
9/1/2011
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 12-325
8/14/2012
8/14/2012
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
H.B. 2893
05/28/2013
05/28/2013
Authority 4:
Date Effective:
ORS ยง 757.365
2009
Authority 5:
Date Effective:
Or. Admin. R. 860-084-0100 et. seq.
6/1/2010
Authority 6:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 10-198
5/28/2010, subsequently amended
5/28/2010
Authority 7:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 10-200
5/28/2010
5/28/2010
Summary:

NOTE: Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power are now accepting applications for the volumetric incentive program.  Subsequent re-openings will take place every six months until the capacity for the program is full. The rates listed below are for the round beginning April 1, 2013. New rates will be set for the subsequent round beginning October 1, 2013.

Legislation enacted in May 2013 made changes to the volumetric incentive and payment program. Some of these changes will require the PUC to develop new rules for the program going forward.


In June 2009, Oregon established a pilot solar volumetric incentive rate and payment program* with legislation. Under this incentive program, systems are paid for the kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated over a 15 year period, at a rate set at the time a system is initially enrolled in the program. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) was left with the discretion to establish rates and rules by July 1, 2010. The PUC established rates and rules in May 2010. This program must be offered by the three investor-owned utilities in Oregon and will be administered by the utilities, though the PUC will periodically re-evaluate rates. The program costs are recoverable in utility rates and utility-owned systems are not allowed to receive the incentive.

The pilot program installation cap is limited to an aggregate cap of 25 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics (PV), with a maximum system size cap of 500 kilowatts (kW). The aggregate program cap will be spread equally over four years, with 6.25 MW of capacity being eligible to receive the incentive each year. The aggregate cap is divided up by utility based on 2008 retail sales revenue. PGE has a cap of 14.9 MW, Pacific Power has a cap of 9.8 MW, and Idaho Power has a cap of 0.4 MW. Idaho Power's program is limited to residential installations that are smaller than 10 kW. Rates differ by system size and geographic zone. Small- and medium-scale systems participate in a program that is modeled after net metering and medium and larger-scale systems participate in a competitive bidding program. The net metering based program has a lottery-based method of reserving capacity for small and medium-scale systems.  Participating PV systems must be grid-connected, metered and meet all applicable codes and regulations. Systems must be "permanently installed" and must remain in service for the entire useful life.

Systems sized 100 kW or less can participate in the portion of the program based on net metering. Generating capacity of 20 MW of the aggregate cap is reserved for the net metering portion, with 12 MW available for residential and 8 MW available for small commercial systems. Capacity for medium-scale systems is divided equally between the net metering portion and competitive bidding portion of the program, with the process alternating between reservation periods.  These residential and small commercial systems are paid for the amount of electricity generated, up to the amount of electricity consumed. In essence, customers are paid for the amount of utility electric load consumption that is offset by on-site solar photovoltaic generation. Unlike typical feed-in tariffs, customers can consume the electricity generated on-site and receive a production incentive - or a volumetric incentive payment - for the amount of electricity generated and consumed. To remove a perverse incentive to increase electricity consumption to receive a greater payment, the system must be appropriately sized to meet average electricity consumption. The rates are determined by the PUC and are based on annual system cost and annual energy output, differentiated by geographic zones. The cost estimates are based on installation data from Energy Trust. The volumetric incentive rates are not the actual rates paid to the customer-generator; the actual rate paid to small-scale systems will be the volumetric incentive rate listed minus the retail rate, as these systems are participating in the net metering option and are being paid for offsetting consumption. 

In June 2009, Oregon established a pilot solar volumetric incentive rate and payment program.* Under this incentive program, systems of up to 500 kilowatts (kW) are paid for the kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated over a 15 year period, at a rate set at the time a system is initially enrolled in the program. The PUC established rates and rules in May 2010. This program must be offered by the three investor-owned utilities in Oregon and will be administered by the utilities, though the PUC will periodically re-evaluate rates. The program costs are recoverable in utility rates and utility-owned systems are not allowed to receive the incentive.


In May 2013, the cap was increased from 25 MW to 27.5 MW, and the deadline for the program was extended to March 31, 2016. The PUC must determine how this additional capacity will be allocated throughout the extended deadline. Before May 2013, the capacity was allocated as follows: The original aggregate program cap of 25 MW was to be spread equally over four years, with 6.25 MW of capacity being eligible to receive the incentive each year. The aggregate cap is divided up by utility based on 2008 retail sales revenue. PGE has a cap of 14.9 MW, Pacific Power has a cap of 9.8 MW, and Idaho Power has a cap of 0.4 MW. The PUC must determine how the additional 2.5 MW capacity will be allocated throughout the extended deadline.

Idaho Power's program is limited to residential installations that are smaller than 10 kW. Rates differ by system size and geographic zone. Small- and medium-scale systems participate in a program that is modeled after net metering and medium and larger-scale systems participate in a competitive bidding program. The net metering based program has a lottery-based method of reserving capacity for small and medium-scale systems.  Participating PV systems must be grid-connected, metered and meet all applicable codes and regulations. Systems must be "permanently installed" and must remain in service for the entire useful life.

Systems sized 100 kW or less can participate in the portion of the program based on net metering. Before May 2013, 20 MW of the aggregate cap was reserved for the net metering portion, with 12 MW available for residential and 8 MW available for small commercial systems; capacity for medium-scale systems is divided equally between the net metering portion and competitive bidding portion of the program, with the process alternating between reservation periods. H.B. 2893 removed the requirement that 20 MW must be reserved for small systems, but requires that after March 31, 2014, 2.5 MW will be allocated to systems between 5 and 100 kW.  The PUC must determine how the capacity is allocated for different system sizes and different sectors going forward.

Medium-sized systems are paid for the amount of electricity generated, up to the amount of electricity consumed. In essence, customers are paid for the amount of utility electric load consumption that is offset by on-site solar photovoltaic generation. Unlike typical feed-in tariffs, customers can consume the electricity generated on-site and receive a production incentive - or a volumetric incentive payment - for the amount of electricity generated and consumed. To remove a perverse incentive to increase electricity consumption to receive a greater payment, the system must be appropriately sized to meet average electricity consumption. The rates are determined by the PUC and are based on annual system cost and annual energy output, differentiated by geographic zones. The cost estimates are based on installation data from Energy Trust. The volumetric incentive rates are not the actual rates paid to the customer-generator; the actual rate paid is the volumetric incentive rate minus the retail rate. The volumetric incentive rates will be re-evaluated every six months and may be adjusted if necessary. The rates for the program are as follows:

Current Volumetric Incentive Rates
 
Rate Class Counties Electric Companies Small-Scale Systems (10 kW or less) Medium-Scale Systems (>10 kW and 100 kW or less)
1 Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill Pacific Power and PGE $0.39/kWh** $0.23/kWh**
2 Coos, Douglas and Hood River Pacific Power and PGE $0.311/kWh** $0.181/kWh**
3 Gilliam, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa and Wasco Pacific Power $0.311/kWh** $0.181/kWh**
4 Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur and Harney Pacific Power and Idaho Power $0.285/kWh** $0.181/kWh**

 

Systems sized larger than 100 kW can participate in the competitive bidding portion of this program. Before May 2013, a total of 5 MW of the aggregate cap was reserved for the competitive bidding portion; the PUC must determine how the capacity is allocated for different system sizes and different sectors going forward.  Utilities issue a request for proposals once per year. At that time, systems can put in a bid to participate and winning bids will be selected based solely on price factors. The actual rate paid will be determined by bids received and will be set at the time of enrollment.

Systems receiving the incentive payment may have reduced eligibility for some other state incentives. Systems may either take the incentive payment or the state tax credit and Energy Trust rebate; systems are not eligible for the incentive payment and the tax credit and rebate. Enrollment in the pilot program will be closed when the 27.5 MW cap is reached, or on March 31, 2016, whichever is earlier.

For participating systems, after the 15 year contract ends, systems may continue to be paid for electricity generation, with the rate based on the "resource value." As defined by the legislation, the resource value is determined by the avoided cost of energy and the avoided cost of transmission and distribution.

*While certain legislative bills referenced the development of a "solar feed-in tariff", the rules and rates for this program were to be determined by the PUC. Due to concerns regarding FERC jurisdiction and the ability of the state to set rates for the feed-in tariff, the current pilot program differs from a typical "feed-in tariff".

**The actual rate paid to small-scale systems will be the volumetric incentive rate listed minus the retail rate, as these systems are participating in the net metering option and are being paid for offsetting consumption.

NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.