Solar Volumetric Incentive and Payments Program (Oregon)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Financial Incentive Program

Place Oregon

Name Solar Volumetric Incentive and Payments Program
Incentive Type Performance-Based Incentive
Applicable Sector Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Eligible Technologies Photovoltaics
Active Incentive Yes
Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs
Amount Varies, depending on system size and geographic zone

Eligible System Size Systems must be 500 kW or less

Start Date 2010-07-01
Expiration Date 3/31/2016, or when program cap is reached

Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits RECs transfer to utility and are associated with the energy provided by the contracted systems.

Terms Incentive rate will be set at time of enrollment and payment will be made for kilowatt-hours generated over 15 years
Program Administrator Utility-administered, rules and rates set by Oregon Public Utility Commission

References DSIREDatabase of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency[1]


NOTE: HB 2893, enacted in May 2013, increased the capacity of the Solar Incentive Rate Pilot Program and extended the program through March, 2016, or until program capacity is filled. The most recent enrollment window (April 1, 2014), has closed. Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power are not currently accepting applications for the volumetric incentive program. There are currently no plans for an enrollment window in the fall of 2014, but a window will open May 1, 2015 to fill any remaining program capacity.

In June 2009, Oregon established a pilot solar volumetric incentive rate and payment program.* Under this incentive program, systems of up to 500 kilowatts (kW) are paid for the kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated over a 15 year period, at a rate set at the time a system is initially enrolled in the program. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) established rates and rules in May 2010. This program must be offered by the three investor-owned utilities in Oregon and will be administered by the utilities, though the PUC will periodically re-evaluate rates. The program costs are recoverable in utility rates and utility-owned systems are not allowed to receive the incentive.

In May 2013, the program cap was increased from 25 megawatts (MW) to 27.5 MW, and the deadline for the program was extended to March 31, 2016. The original 25 MW aggregate program cap was divided by utility based on 2008 retail sales revenue, with specific sub-allocations for small, medium, and large scale systems. Portland General Electric (PGE) had a total allocation of 14.9 MW, Pacific Power had 9.8 MW, and Idaho Power had 0.4 MW (limited to residential systems under 10 kW). The additional 2.5 MW capacity added in 2013 has been allocated as follows:

  • PGE: 1,433 kW (860 small/573 medium)
  • Pacific Power: 1,012 kW (607 small/405 medium)
  • Idaho Power: 55 kW (all small)

Rates differ by system size and geographic zone, and are re-evaluated for every enrollment window. Small- and medium-scale systems participate in a program that is modeled after net metering, where customers are paid for the amount of utility electric load consumption that is offset by on-site solar photovoltaic generation. The incentive paid to the customer is the volumetric incentive rate minus the retail rate. Participating PV systems must be sized no larger than 90 percent of historical energy usage for a home or business, must be grid-connected, metered, and meet all applicable codes and regulations. Systems must be "permanently installed" and must remain in service for the entire useful life. After the 15 year contract ends, systems may continue to be paid for electricity generation, with the rate based on the "resource value." As defined by the legislation, the resource value is determined by the avoided cost of energy and the avoided cost of transmission and distribution.

Systems receiving the incentive payment may have reduced eligibility for some other state incentives. Systems may either take the incentive payment or the state tax credit and Energy Trust rebate; systems are not eligible for the incentive payment and the tax credit and rebate. Enrollment in the pilot program will be closed when the 27.5 MW cap is reached, or on March 31, 2016, whichever is earlier.

Small Systems

The original program did not specify a minimum size for eligible systems, but HB 2893 specifically refers to systems with a nameplate capacity between five and 100 kW; therefore, all projects receiving incentives in 2014 and later must be greater than 5 kW. While initially program capacity for small and medium system was allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, it is now done by lottery for small systems.

Current Volumetric Incentive Rates for Small Systems (5-10 kw) are as follows:

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Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: ORS § 757.365
Date Effective 2009

Authority 2: Or. Admin. R. 860-084-0100 et. seq.
Date Effective 2010-06-01

Authority 3: OR PUC Order No. 10-198
Date Effective 2010-05-28
Date Enacted 5/28/2010, subsequently amended

Authority 4: OR PUC Order No. 10-200
Date Effective 2010-05-28
Date Enacted 2010-05-28

Authority 5: OR PUC Order No. 11-339
Date Enacted 2011-09-01

Authority 6: OR PUC Order No. 12-325
Date Effective 2012-08-14
Date Enacted 2012-08-14

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency" Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "DSIRE" defined multiple times with different content