Energy Trust announces Solar Development Assistance incentive

Energy Trust has created a Solar Development Assistance incentive that is designed to offset the upfront cost of the solar site evaluation, preliminary system design, initial engineering and utility interconnection due diligence required to ensure a solar electric system is financially feasible.

SDA Incentive amount & eligibility

The Solar Development Assistance incentive is equal to 90% of the cost of completing the necessary system development, design and analysis up to a maximum of $1,800. The Solar Development Assistance incentive works in a similar way to the standard solar installation incentive, by reducing the upfront cost to the customer and the incentive is then paid to the solar trade ally after the submitted application materials have been approved.

In order to qualify the project must meet the following requirements:

  1. The project must be for a non-residential customer of Portland General Electric (PGE) or Pacific Power
  2. The project owner must be one of the following customer types, except with prior program approval: public entity, nonprofit entity, and/or non-residential customer intending to pursue a utility grant program
  3. The project cannot have applied for a New Buildings Solar Ready Feasibility Assessment incentive application (FM520SF) or a Solar plus Storage Feasibility Assessment application (FM220SF) previously.
  4. The project is also eligible for the Extended Installation Incentive, with an extended reservation period of 2-years at the business incentive rates available at the time of application. Please note that for-profit entities seeking to apply for a utility grant are not eligible to apply for the installation incentive at same time, although they may be eligible to apply for an installation incentive at a later time if their grant award application is unsuccessful.

How to get started

In order to take part in this program and reserve the incentive the following steps must be taken before beginning work:

  1. Complete a Project Enrollment Form (FM210A) and a Solar Development Assistance Incentive application (FM220SDA)
  2. Submit the completed forms along with a copy of the contract for services outlining the cost for the work to

Solar Development Assistance incentive application packet requirements

Once you have reserved the Solar Development Assistance incentive, work can begin to create the qualifying feasibility study. The requirements for the feasibility study combine the application requirements for the installation incentive—basic site and system design details—with the information that can be found in a typical proposal—project overview, financial analysis and any potential problems that would affect timeline or cost.

We have provided an itemized list here. For the complete packet information refer to the Solar Development Assistance Incentive form (FM220SDA):

  • Complete Project Enrollment form
  • Complete Solar Development Assistance Incentive Application form
  • System Design Documents that include, at a minimum:
    • Solar Resource Assessment
    • Electrical schematic diagram
    • Physical layout diagram
  • System Proposal Document(s) that include, at a minimum:
    • Executive summary – key findings and next steps
    • Financial summary – financial analysis over the life of the system showing estimated cost, including any estimated tax credits, accelerated depreciation, grants, and Energy Trust incentives,
    • A brief outline of any design, permitting, zoning, structural, electrical, or interconnection considerations that may affect a potential system design, project timeline or installation cost.
  • Additional documentation—Provide copies of any associated documentation including structural engineering report, roof life assessment, permit application, utility interconnection application, etc. including unlocked versions of any underlying models, spreadsheets or other analysis created or prepared as part of or in support of the study
  • Payment documentation— Provide invoice(s) itemizing the solar development assistance work detailing the total installation cost, subtracting the anticipated Solar Development Assistance incentive, and the remaining net, or out of pocket, cost to the customer.

You can access the Project Enrollment form (FM210A) and the Solar Development Assistance form (FM220SDA) online.

If you have questions about the process, contact Matt Getchell.