Solar

Energy Trust solar incentives can now be combined with utility grant programs


Beginning in 2018, new projects can apply for both Energy Trust cash incentives and utility grants. In order for a project to be eligible to receive both Energy Trust cash incentives and utility grant funds from either Portland General Electric’s Renewable Development Fund program or Pacific Power’s Blue SkySM Community Grant program, the following requirements must be met:

  • Project must be applying for a new utility grant during the 2018 grant cycle or later
  • Project must apply prior to construction beginning
  • Project must be submitted by a solar trade ally contractor
  • Project must meet all Energy Trust Solar Program and Solar Electric Installation Requirements
  • Projects must submit an application and participate in the Solar Development Assistance incentive program

Projects that meet these requirements will be eligible to receive:

  • Solar Development Assistance Incentive equal to 90 percent of the cost up to a max of $1,800 for a qualifying feasibility study made up of the solar site evaluation, preliminary system design, initial engineering, permitting, electrical  and utility interconnection due diligence required to ensure a solar electric system is technically and financially feasible
  • Extended Installation Incentive equal to 75 percent of the business incentive available at the time of application with a reservation period of 2-years.

All utility grant applicants are eligible to receive the Solar Development Assistance incentive. However projects are only able to receive the Extended Installation Incentive if they are NOT able to take advantage of tax credits and accelerated depreciation – such as, projects owned by public entities or nonprofits. Third party owned or for profit solar projects applying for utility grants are still eligible to receive the Solar Development Assistance incentive and apply for a utility grant.

The standard solar incentive offer (current incentive rates + 1-year reservation period) remains available for all projects and customer types, but it cannot be combined with a Solar Development Assistance incentive or utility grants.

For projects that meet all of the above requirements and are planning to apply for either Portland General Electric’s Renewable Development Fund program or Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Community Grant program, the following steps must be taken to be eligible for an Energy Trust incentive:

  1. Solar trade ally will complete and submit an application for the Solar Development Assistance incentive* on behalf of the customer prior to beginning design work in order to reserve the incentive

NOTE: The Solar Development Assistance incentive will cover 90% of the cost of the design work up to $1,800

  1. Solar trade ally will complete the work required and submit a complete incentive application packet with all necessary documentation to Energy Trust solar program for review
  2. Project passes technical design review and the Solar Development Assistance incentive is approved for payment to the trade ally contractor.
  3. Solar trade ally receives an Solar Development Assistance approval letter and cover sheet to include as part of their utility grant application
  4. Projects that are unable to take advantage of tax credits and accelerated depreciation – such as, projects owned by public entities or nonprofits – will then be eligible to reserve an Extended Installation Incentive that is good for a period of 2-years.

NOTE: Projects applying for utility grants are eligible to receive an Extended Installation Incentive equal to 75% of the standard commercial solar incentive available at the time the Solar Development Assistance application is submitted with a 2-year reservation period.

This process was developed by Energy Trust in coordination with the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC), Portland General Electric, and Pacific Power to meet the requirements outlined in Docket UM 1020.

Trade allies who have already submitted a standard incentive reservation for projects that are pursuing a utility grant in 2018 should contact program staff immediately in order to bring the project into compliance with the process outlined here.

For more information or questions on this process please contact Matt Getchell.

For more information on projects that applied for grants before 2018 refer to our article on the Public Utility Commission decision.

*Projects that have already submitted a complete New Buildings Solar Ready Feasibility Assessment incentive application (FM520SF) or Solar plus Storage Feasibility Assessment application (FM220SF) may qualify to participate if the feasibility study submitted meets all requirements outlined in the Solar Development Assistance incentive application (FM220SDA). Projects cannot apply for the Solar Development Assistance incentive in addition to a Solar Ready or Solar plus Storage Feasibility Assessment incentive.