Solar: 2014 year in review, 2015 preview

Thank you all for your hard work to power more Oregon homes and businesses with renewable energy in 2014. Here is a quick look back at some of our collective accomplishments and a preview of the budget, incentives and new initiatives for 2015.

2014 year in review
It’s too early to publish final 2014 results, but here are some quick highlights from the year:

  • Trade allies submitted 1,600 solar incentive applications, reserving funds for 16 megawatts of solar to be installed on homes and businesses—more applications and capacity reserved than ever before.
  • Energy Trust paid $4.2 million in incentives for residential solar installations generating 6 MW—more capacity installed on Oregon homes than in any previous year.
  • The solar program brought the award-winning Mapdwell online resource mapping tool to Washington County. In 2015, we’ll test its effectiveness and consider expanding coverage to more areas of Oregon.
  • The program helped organize and fund Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association’s 2014 Oregon Solar Energy Conference. Look for more professional training at the 2015 Oregon Solar Energy Conference in May.
  • Energy Trust improved its solar web pages to further drive customers to action. The new site features a solar proposal request form that generated more than a hundred customer leads passed onto trade allies in Q4. Contact Jennifer Hall to sign up to receive leads.

2015 budget and incentives
The Solar program has a strong budget in 2015, with $6.4 million in new incentive funding for systems installed in Portland General Electric territory and $3.3 million in incentives for systems installed in Pacific Power territory. We will start the year with new step allocations at the current incentive rates. If demand stays strong, expect measured, predictable incentive reductions to support more installations. We redesigned our Incentive Status Report to give you more information about program activity and upcoming incentive changes. Bookmark the link and check back weekly for updates.

In 2015, we have extended commercial incentives for larger projects. Effective January 6, 2015, PGE non-residential customers may apply for a flat rate of $0.72/W up to a cap of $499,000 for projects larger than 250 kilowatts. Pacific Power non-residential customers may apply for a flat rate of $0.40/W up to a cap of $200,000 for projects larger than 200 kW. Read more details in the incentive announcement.

Beginning this year both the Energy Trust incentive application and the Oregon Department of Energy’s Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) application will be in PowerClerk. In 2015 we will be adding electronic signature capability to our solar incentive application. This will provide Oregon solar projects a start-to-finish paperless incentive process.

Also in 2015, Energy Trust plans to launch a marketing toolkit and Oregon soft cost roadmap. Based on solar soft cost data collected from trade ally surveys, we will provide access to more marketing, sales and business development resources and services. We will also publish the results and analysis of our trade ally soft cost survey and develop a roadmap to guide our efforts to make solar more affordable and profitable in Oregon.

For more information, contact Jennifer Hall or Dave McClelland. We wish you all success this year.