Solar Panels in Oregon: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Solar panels against a blue sky with a picture of the flag State of Oregon

Solar Panels in Oregon: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Key Points

  • Solar panels in Oregon cost around $2.50/W, slightly lower than average.
  • Oregonians might spend around $15,000 before incentives for a typical 6kW system.
  • Residents in Oregon use about 30.5kWh of electricity per day.

In 2022, Oregon produced enough solar energy to power 172,000 homes. Despite notoriously poor sunlight, the Beaver State dedicates incredible resources to clean electricity. As such, homeowners can save thousands on utilities with solar panels in Oregon.

However, you might not know where to start building a budget. With a diverse landscape and a variety of factors, the price for solar isn’t flat across the board. No worries, we have you covered. From equipment rates to potential savings, we break down all you need to know. So let’s get started with solar panels in Oregon.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Oregon

Known for its dedication to the natural environment, the Beaver State has some of the lowest prices for renewable energy. Homeowners can expect solar panels in Oregon to cost around $2.50/W, slightly lower than average. For a typical 6kW system, Oregonians might spend around $15,000 before incentives.

However, even with the lower price for equipment, residents might not have as much reason to make the switch due to the already low electricity rates. Oregonians use an average amount of power, but the affordable cost of energy coming from hydroelectricity means they have some of the lowest monthly utility bills. And when you’re not spending a lot, what’s the incentive to install a solar array?

Well, there’s still money to save by making the switch, starting with the federal solar tax credit. This program offers a 30% return on all solar purchases made toward a residential system, which includes equipment, labor, and sales tax. Those considering the 6kW system from above could watch the overall price drop from $15,000 to $10,500.

How Much Solar Do Oregonians Need?

The first example pits the average cost of solar panels in Oregon against the typical array, but that might not represent your electricity needs. Because the Beaver State has notoriously cloudy weather, homeowners might require more wattage than usual. To find the right size array for your house, you’ll have to divide your daily power usage by the amount of sunlight you receive.

Let’s demonstrate that math using Oregon’s averages. 

Residents in the Beaver State use about 30.5kWh a day (taken from 916kWh a month). When we divide that by Oregon’s average peak sun of 4.03 hours, we discover that a solar array needs to produce around 7.6kW an hour. And if we used the same equipment rate with this size system, we’ll see that it may cost Oregonians $19,000 before incentives, $4,000 more than typical.

Now that you understand how to find the appropriate wattage for your household, you can put together an accurate budget. Because peak sunlight varies depending on location, you should consult this Oregon sun chart to find the right estimate for your nearest city.

Overlooking the landscape in the Columbia River Gorge Hood River Oregon and White Salmon Washington state.
Solar panels in Oregon cost about $2.50/W, but some homeowners may need more wattage than usual.


Oregon Solar Cost Factors

As briefly mentioned above, direct sun can have a dramatic effect on the price of solar panels in Oregon. The Beaver State features a diverse landscape, with mountains and stormy coasts to the West and a high desert to the East. While cities such as Portland may experience as little as 3.9 hours of peak sun, towns further inland, such as Burns, could have as much as 5.9.

To see how sunlight and geography can affect the price of an installation, compare Oregon’s rates to its neighboring states:

Another factor that influences the overall price is the type of equipment used. In general, monocrystalline panels are more efficient, while polycrystalline are more affordable. Therefore, homeowners on the East side of the state could save with poly equipment because they receive more sunlight. However, it’s wise for Western dwellers to opt for mono to take advantage of their efficiency on cloudy days.

Finally, it’s critical to consider carefully the solar installer you go with. While the cost of installation might seem high, companies offering lower rates might cut corners on equipment, labor, and warranties. And because this is a 20 to 25 year investment, you want to make sure your array lasts. Oregon has over 70 installers in the state, meaning you have your prime choice.

Can Solar Energy Save Oregonians Money?

As we’ve shown above, solar panels in Oregon might make more sense to some than others. While the cost of equipment is pretty good, the state features a wide range of peak sun. And with homeowners benefiting from clean and affordable energy from hydropower, is solar even worth it?

Fortunately, even those with little sunlight can save money on electricity by switching to solar. To find the average net return, however, you’ll first have to pay off your system. 

Let’s say we use Oregon’s average electricity bill of $1,282.80 to offset the cost of solar panels. If homeowners purchase the 6kW array from our first example, they could pay it off in 11.7 years. This is longer than usual, but it’s important to remember that the typical array size in Oregon varies greatly.

With the system paid off, you’ll finally get to see money back in your pockets. Considering the average lifespan of solar panels in Oregon of about 20 to 25 years, you could save over $10,647 to $17,061. And when you consider the incredible financial incentives that the Beaver State offers, there are even more opportunities to earn money back.

Solar Panels in Oregon: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives

Even with some of the weakest sunlight in the country, legislation in Oregon has some of the strongest renewable standards. Because of them, homeowners have several chances to cut the cost of an installation and even earn a paycheck for their solar energy.

From the get-go, Oregonians can utilize the federal solar tax credit. With 30% off all purchases made toward an array, homeowners could lower the price of an installation by as much as $4,500. And with policies such as net metering, state credits and rebates, performance programs, and more, you could practically pay for the equipment right there.

To learn about the Beaver State’s wide range of benefits, check out our Oregon solar incentives guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar worth it in Oregon?

In Oregon, homeowners can take advantage of great solar rates and state-level support. Even despite the wide range of sunlight and an already low cost of electricity, Oregonians can save as much as $17,000 or more by making the switch. 

How much does solar cost in Oregon?

Homeowners in Oregon can expect to spend about $2.50 per watt on solar energy. This equals around $15,000 for a 6kW system, about average across the country. Factors that can affect this price include wattage, sunlight, location, equipment type, and installation quality.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay back in Oregon?

With an average annual utility bill of $1,282.80, Oregonians could pay off a 6kW system in about 11.7 years. While this is longer than normal, it’s important to know that some homeowners might not need as much energy, resulting in a shorter payoff.

Can you get a federal tax credit for solar panels in Oregon?

Homeowners in Oregon can utilize the federal tax credit, which offers a 30% return on all solar purchases made toward a residential array. Those that install a 6kW system could watch the price drop by $4,500.

What is net metering in Oregon?

Oregon’s net metering policy allows residential and commercial customers with renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, to receive credit for excess electricity they generate and feed back into the grid, which can be used to offset their future electricity consumption. The credits are typically applied at the retail rate and can be rolled over for up to 12 months.

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