New incentive to help develop small and public/non-profit-led community solar projects

Children playing on a playground set near apartment building.In November 2019, Energy Trust launched a new Community Solar Development Assistance offering that provides incentives to support early development activities for qualifying community shared solar projects that will be participating in the Oregon Community Solar Program.

In order to qualify, projects must deliver power to Portland General Electric or Pacific Power, meet size criteria and have goals to benefit historically underserved customers, such as low- and moderate-income customers, communities of color, tribes, renters, rural customers and/or small businesses or nonprofits.

This offer may be of interest to Solar trade allies working with:

  1. Public/nonprofit organizations that are interested in developing community shared solar projects between 25 kW-AC and 3 MW-AC in aggregate size; or,
  2. Private, for-profit entities that are interested in developing community shared solar projects between 25 kW-AC and 360 kW-AC in aggregate size.

The Oregon Community Solar Program, operated by The State of Oregon, will provide Oregonians with the opportunity to share the costs and benefits associated with the generation of electricity by solar photovoltaic energy systems. This new program will support solar trade allies, public, and nonprofit organizations interested in building community-led projects that will serve, benefit and be sited in underserved communities.

Without having developed renewable energy projects in the past, some of these organizations may need additional support to bring these projects to their communities. To increase the feasibility and success of these community-driven projects, Energy Trust’s Solar program has developed this new incentive offer.

The incentives can be used to help pay for a variety of project development activities, including grant-writing, feasibility studies and consulting, and other technical assistance. Energy Trust has budgeted approximately $250,000 for this offering in 2020. This incentive budget should serve two dozen projects.

The incentive covers a percentage of the cost of eligible development work, up to a maximum of 80%, and caps vary with project size and applicant type. The maximum total incentive a project may receive is $20,000. Actual amounts will vary, and details are described on the incentive application forms.

To apply for funding, the developer or project proponent first completes and submits a Project Enrollment Application (Form 210CS) and, after project enrollment has been approved by Energy Trust, a Request for Funding (Form 230RF). The eligibility criteria, requirements, incentive details and process for applying are described on the application forms.