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Get Started with Solar

Helpful tips and information


Investing in solar systems not only save you money over time, but demonstrate your commitment to addressing climate change. With a solar electric and solar water heating system, you can:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Reduce your operating costs
  • Add value to your property
  • Help you qualify for LEED certification

Incentives, tax credits and financing help you see payback sooner than you might think, and you’ll produce clean renewable energy for decades to come.

What to think about

Location, location, location

Talk to solar contractors for details, but in short, solar requires southern exposure for maximum output, although east or west orientation may work.

For best performance, there should be little or no shading year-round. Even partial shade on one portion of a panel can seriously degrade its output. Consider not only current shade, but also what future shade might be caused by trees growing taller or nearby construction of tall buildings.

Asking the right questions

Use our list of considerations to ensure you get all the information you’ll need to make your project successful.

Learn more about solar for business on the Solar Oregon website.

Connecting with PGE

PGE makes it easy to go solar with three options:

  • Net Metering: This option allows you to offset the cost of the electricity you use from PGE with the energy you generate. If you participate in Net Metering, you are also eligible for incentives and state and federal tax credits.
  • Solar Payment Option: PGE pays you for the power your system generates up to the amount of electricity you use. This is an alternative to Net Metering and you are not eligible for Energy Trust incentives and Oregon tax credits. You may still receive federal tax credits.
  • Sell power to PGE: Unlike the first two options where you use the power you produce, with this third option you generate power to sell to PGE. You are still eligible for incentives and state and federal tax credits.

Whichever path you choose, PGE must install special meters so you’ll get credited for power you produce. These meters are different than a standard PGE smart meter.

Choosing a solar contractor

We recommend hiring a qualified contractor to design and build your system and assist with the Net Metering application process.

See Energy Trust of Oregon’s list of licensed solar contractors and the Oregon Department of Energy’s list of tax credit-certified solar technicians. Be sure to get multiple bids.