Oregon is proof that solar is viable in the often cloudy Northwest. The progressive residents of the state continue to embrace solar power. In fact, Oregon ranks 19th in the nation with a total of 599 megawatts of installed solar. This is enough energy for 72,189 homes.
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Here are some key numbers about the Beaver State’s solar installation activity to date;*
- Cumulatively, the total investments in the state’s solar industry now stands at $1.14 billion.
- The state now has about 161 solar companies, a notable one being SolarWorld. They are actively employing about 3,654 people.
- Prices for solar are about 47 percent lower over the last 5 years.
There have been some considerable large scale solar panel installations in Oregon over the past few years. The Outback Solar Project, completed in 2011, was the largest at 5 megawatts until the Open Range Solar Center was completed in 2016 coming in at 10 megawatts. 2011 also saw another large installation in the Bellevue Solar Project, coming in at 2 megawatts. Major retailers, including Walgreens, Kohl’s, REI, Safeway, and Intel have also invested in their own solar panel systems.*
Oregon has a favorable net metering program. Residential systems are allowed to be as large as 25 kilowatts, considerably larger than a typical homeowner would need. Excess generation is compensated at the retail rate.**
The state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard is relatively strong. Large utilities are required to meet the target of 25 percent renewables by 2025. Also, by 2025, at least 8 percent of electrical generation must come from small scale (less than 20 megawatts) solar or other clean energy sources.**
More than 80 solar contractors now operate in Oregon. While the majority can be found in the Portland area, there are also installers in Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Medford, Klamath Falls, and Bend, to name a few.
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*Information and figures gathered from seia.org.
**Information and figures gathered from dsireusa.org.