More than two dozen Oregon businesses have signed up for new solar electric systems during the past three months, taking advantage of higher incentive offers from Energy Trust. Incentive levels were increased and eligible system sizes raised in April to help more businesses put the sun to work.
“The steady stream of new applications is showing us that the word is getting out—going solar is a good investment for businesses,” said Lizzie Rubado, commercial solar project manager. “We’d like to see even more activity. We encourage businesses that may have looked at solar in the past to reconsider, as costs have come down over the past several years. Our current incentives are tailored to make solar pencil out for all types of businesses.”
From April through June, Energy Trust saw a 4.5-fold increase in the number of applications submitted compared to those received during the three months prior to the incentive change. Businesses submitting applications are installing systems of all sizes, small to large, totaling 1.3 megawatts of capacity. This is 14 times the total capacity from applications from the first three months of the year.
The incentive level for Portland General Electric business customers is $1.20 per watt of installed capacity for systems up to 35 kilowatts. The incentive for systems 36-200 kW starts at $1.20 per watt and declines to $0.60 per watt as the system increases in size. The maximum incentive for an individual business is $120,000 for systems 1,000 kW or smaller.
Pacific Power business customers can receive $1.10 per watt of installed capacity for systems up to 35 kW. The incentive for systems 36-200 kW starts at $1.10 per watt and declines to $0.50 per watt as the system increases in size. The maximum incentive for an individual business is $100,000 for systems 1,000 kW or smaller.
As of July 19, approximately $630,000 remained available for incentives at these levels for PGE business customers, out of $1.2 million allocated for 2013. Approximately $83,000 remained available for incentives at these levels for Pacific Power business customers, out of $700,000 allocated for 2013.
When the remaining incentive amounts are reserved, Energy Trust will reduce incentives for the remainder of the year.
“Now is the best time to lock in the higher incentives for solar electric on commercial properties,” Rubado confirmed.