How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Panels for Portland, OR Residents
Portland is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the U.S. Portland was the first U.S. city to adopt a carbon dioxide reduction strategy in 1993. It has a large community of bicyclists and an expansive network of public transportation options, farm-to-table dining, and 10,000+ acres of public parks. Residents can expect to have warm dry summers with chilly rainy winters – which makes Portland an ideal city for solar energy technology. With approximately 142 sunny to partly sunny days annually, residents can feel secure investing in a solar energy system.
Additionally, the state of Oregon has adopted the Solar Now! Campaign, a terrific resource for Portland residents seeking information about and assistance with solar installations. The campaign works to inform the public of the benefits of solar, employing several marketing messages such as: Portland is sunny enough for solar, solar is good energy for Oregonians, Oregonians need to become energy leaders, and will you be a part of Oregon’s energy future? The website and call center that was created makes switching to solar energy easy by connecting residents with the resources they need.
How Does the Solar Technology Work?
Solar panels are attached to the roof of your home. The panels consist of many photovoltaic (PV) cells linked together. So similar to the cell of a plant, solar panels have PV cells that convert sunlight into electricity, or more appropriately DC power. DC power is then channeled into an inverter in the home which convert it into AC current. AC current is used by home appliances, lights, and anything plugged into your outlets.
The solar panels will generate power whenever sunlight is present. The sunnier, the better your system is going to function. Even in partly sunny conditions your solar system’s productivity is estimated to only diminish by 5 to 10 percent, which is a minimal reduction in performance, compared to the overall savings.
How Can Switching to Solar Energy Save the Environment?
Solar energy, on a global scale, reduces carbon emissions and cuts down on the need to burn fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels (which creates the bulk of the electricity we use today) is one of the leading causes of climate change. An average 4 kW solar system is equivalent to the amount of carbon absorbed by half an acre of trees.
Will Integrating Solar Technology into My Portland Home Provide Significant Savings?
The average Oregonian pays approximately $10.72 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and uses about 957 kHh monthly which makes that a monthly residential electricity bill of $103. By switching to solar energy, you could save 15 percent or more on your home energy bill. Also, consider your payback time, i.e. how long will it take, with all the incentives, tax credits and rebates, to pay off the system installation costs? In the Portland area, you can expect to generate 957+ kWh of electricity for every 1 kW of installed system. An average 4 kW system could generate approximately 4,000 kW a year. This puts your payback time at around 6.5 years. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your system failing before you reap the full benefits as one of the benefits of solar is its longevity. Even after 30 years, a PV panel will provide 80 percent of its maximum output.
What are the Financial Incentives to Adopt Solar Energy-Efficiency Upgrades in Portland?
There are cash incentives and tax credits offered at the federal and state level that can offset the cost of your solar installation by up to 80 percent. Work with your licensed solar installer to maximize all available incentives.
Incentives – Energy Trust Incentives: Energy Trust offers cash incentives which reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar electric system. The incentive amount depends on the size of the system and your electric utility. The incentive applies to solar photovoltaic (PV) systems owned by the homeowner.
Tax Credit – Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit: This state tax credit provides up to $6,000 per residence for installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The credit is applied over four years and up to $1,500 per year. The credit is limited to 50 percent of the cost of the system.
Tax Credit – Federal Energy Tax Credit: This federal tax credit covers 30 percent of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed before December 31, 2016. Subtract the value of an Energy Trust incentive from the cost prior to calculating the 30 percent credit.
Rebate – Net Metering: Net metering is where a customer is billed on the basis of “net energy” over a billing period. Net energy is the difference between the kilowatt-hours (kWhs) a customer consumes and the kWhs produced by the customer’s utility company. With Oregon’s net metering rebate, customer’s own generation is used to offset the customer’s prior or future energy usage, as if the meter runs backwards whenever the customer’s utility company is generating more than the customer is consuming. This incentive is common for many states and eligibility varies among the states. In Oregon, the program applies to photovoltaic residential systems up to 25kW and commercial systems up to 2 megawatts in size.