Oregon Net Metering for Solar Guide

Oregon net metering represents a significant incentive for homeowners and business owners and it is an important policy tool for supporting distributed solar energy generation.
oregon bidirectional electric utility meter on brick wall

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Oregon Net Metering for Solar

Oregon net metering for solar has provided an excellent option for homeowners and business owners whose solar energy system produces more electricity generation than they can use at any given time.

Previous to the implementation of this policy, solar energy system owners could either certify the system as a qualified facility under the Public Utility Regulatory Act of 1978 which allowed them to sell the excess kilowatt-hour at their electric utility company’s avoided-cost rate, or they could install a battery system to store the excess energy for later use on-site.

Net metering represents a significant incentive for homeowners and business owners and it is an important policy tool for supporting distributed energy generation.

How Does Oregon Net Metering Work?

If you take advantage of Oregon net metering, you will have a bidirectional electricity meter installed on your property, which measures how much energy you use from the grid as well as how much of your own solar energy is being supplied to the grid.

At the end of the billing period, your net bill will be calculated – the difference between what you used and what you sent to the grid, plus taxes and the basic monthly service charges.

a diagram of net energy metering in oregon and washington state

Do Credits Accumulate throughout the Year?

If you generate more energy than you use in the month, your bill will not have any kilowatt-hour charges (although basic service charges will still apply as we mentioned) and you will be credited on your utility account for the amount of excess power that you ‘sold’ to the grid.

This is a particularly good incentive in Oregon, as you can stockpile credit on your account during the sunny summer months when you are producing lots of electricity but not using much, and then use those credits against your wintertime electricity bills when solar production is down and the energy consumption is higher.

Eligibility and Availability

Oregon state law requires all utility companies to offer net metering for solar energy systems that are intended primarily to offset some or all of a customer’s electricity requirements. Many other types of renewable energy sources are eligible for net metering, as well as both residential and commercial solar systems.

Net Excess Generation

For PGE and PacifiCorp customers, your credits from excess energy generation will be carried over to your next bill in the form of a kilowatt-hour credit, and will continue to be rolled over for a 12-month period that concludes each March. If you don’t use your credits within 12 months, they will be donated at the company’s avoided-cost rate to customers who are enrolled in low-income assistance programs.

The only additional piece of equipment required for net metering is a bidirectional electricity meter. Your utility company cannot place any additional requirements or rules on your system beyond the electrical safety codes that apply to your entire solar energy system.

Utility companies may charge a fee if the costs of interconnection and the administration of the net metering program are greater than what the distribution system brings in.

bidirectional electric utility meter

Meter Aggregation

PGE and PacifiCorp also allow for the aggregation of meters for the purpose of net metering. Each customer can have as many net metering facilities as they choose, as long as the total capacity of all net metering facilities on the customer’s property doesn’t exceed the capacity limit. 

Additionally, meters that have different rate schedules can be aggregated.

Community Net Metering

2016 law requires that utility companies compensate people who take part in community solar programs for the value of the energy that the system produces – a form of net metering for the community solar system. The PUC will determine how much solar energy is worth and assign it a resource value.

There are many other solar incentives in Oregon that can be applied in conjunction with net metering, such as:

Considering Solar? Get a Free Quote!

At Precision Solar, we are dedicated to making solar energy accessible and affordable to everyone in Oregon. We can help you find and take advantage of every applicable solar energy incentive and benefit and we will guide you through the entire process of designing, permitting, and installing your solar energy system. Ready to go solar?

Contact us today for a free consultation and solar project quote.

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