Solar Ready Program for New Construction

Another new policy in Oregon designed to promote renewable energy is the Solar Ready Program. If you’re building a residential or commercial structure, chances are that the Energy Trust of Oregon may have some incentives to contribute towards your project.  For instance, the commercial incentive can be up to $15,000

The only downside to these programs is that they can be a little dense and hard to understand. Below is a breakdown of the programs to help you maximize you take full advantage of these outstanding incentives:

What is the Solar Ready Program?

The Solar Ready Program dictates that any new buildings are designed to be “solar ready.” This means that the buildings must be designed to accommodate a solar energy system, even if that system isn’t actually installed at the time when the building is constructed. Oregon’s Solar Ready Program is similar to that of California, in that it’s designed to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and help all buildings take advantage of the benefits of solar. 

The most common considerations for this program are that the new buildings must have available roof space for solar, and that the building’s electrical system is designed to make it easier to interconnect, and the building is structurally sound to support the additional weight of the solar system. 

Advantages

The advantage to a mandated Solar Ready Program is that it does not add any cost to the construction or design of a building. The only stipulations are that the roof orientation, electrical system and plumbing systems are ready to accept a solar system should the building owner choose to incorporate one. 

The SRP applies for both photovoltaic solar systems (that produce electricity), and solar thermal systems (that produce hot water). 

If you’re curious about what makes a “solar ready” building, you can take a look at this guide produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

Does this apply to residential or commercial building?

Both! Oregon’s residential SRP program goes into effect on October 1st, 2020. The commercial program begins on the same date in 2022. Click these links for more info on the residential and commercial programs. 

What if I have not started new construction yet?

Even if you haven’t started construction, you can benefit from including a Solar Design Ally in your design process. When you consult with a Solar Design Ally on your project, the ETO will provide an incentive up to $15,000. Even if you’re not ready to install solar panels by the time the building is constructed, you can take advantage of this rebate by developing your building with Energy Trust solar-ready home and business standards.

Between incentive programs and state and federal tax credits, these rebates can offset up to 80% of the cost of a solar system. To put this in technical economic terms: That is totally bonkers. A solar system is an investment that already pays for itself by replacing higher cost electricity from the utility company. Tack on the fact that these rebates cover such a large cost of the system, and adding a solar system becomes a no–brainer. 

What is the Energy Trust of Oregon?

Energy Trust Oregon is an organization that works to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in Oregon by providing cash incentives for solar installations. To learn more about the ETO and the services they offer, check out their website.

How are these rebates delivered?

The ETO incentive will be delivered in the form of a check after the system has been installed and verified. The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent reduction on the income tax you’re charged the year you buy the system. The tax credits are available for both commercial and residential installations, but nonprofits and public entities may not be able to take advantage since those organizations often don’t pay taxes. Please consult with a tax expert to check how you or your business can benefit from the FTC. 

Want to learn more?

Reach out to us at Avila Solar to learn more about how we can help you take maximum advantage of the ETO incentives program. This is an exciting time for Oregon, and we’re looking forward to helping builders across the state create a design that satisfies the Solar Ready requirements. 

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