“Sunny, again?” may not be a phrase that ever comes out of the mouths of people in Portland, but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t a great place to generate solar energy, and solar energy can really improve your home energy score in Portland!
In fact, it’s worth noting that Portland receives more annual sunshine than Germany, a global solar energy leader!
Unfortunately, solar panels have a reputation as a zero-hitter for home value. Homeowners usually find that updating the kitchen or making curb-appeal improvements provide a better return on investment when it comes time to sell the home.
That dynamic may be on the verge of changing, however. Portland’s Home Energy Score program provides those shopping for real estate with an easier method of valuing solar panels and including them in their home buying decision. Solar panels allow a Portland home to be more energy independent, and there’s no carbon footprint involved in generating solar energy! Now that solar technology comes with the third benefit in Portland of increasing the Home Energy Score of a residence, they just might tip the scales for buyers choosing between similar homes.
Still, solar panels take years to pay themselves off in energy savings, so they’re not a smart investment for a home seller hoping to list their home in the next 2-4 years. Especially if your home lacks the energy-efficiency basics like attic insulation and duct sealing, the dream of getting energy from the sun is financially sound only if you aren’t looking for an immediate return on investment.
That said, if selling your Portland home is more of a long-term plan, there are some financial incentives available for installing solar panels. Photovoltaic systems have come down in price since first coming on the market, and Portland solar installers make it easy to have your system up and running within weeks.
Solar panel incentives offered to Portland home owners include:
- Cash incentives. Customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power qualify for a cash incentive if they install a solar photovoltaic system. This cash is given back based on the power generation capacity of the system, and is capped out at $4,000. See the Energy Trust of Oregon website for more information.
- Wintertime energy credits. Oregon law requires all utilities to participate in “net metering”. That means that when solar panels generate more power than a home can use (usually in summer, when days are longer), the extra power goes back into the grid to power other homes and businesses. In the winter, when days are shorter and power demand is higher, homeowners can tap into those credits earned in summer and still pay little or nothing on their electric bill. Learn more at Energy Trust.
- Federal tax credit for installation. The Solar Investment Tax Credit gives up to 30% off the cost of a solar installation back in the form of a federal tax credit. All homeowners in the United States are eligible — and yes, it’s still good for 2018.
Ready to go solar? Free calculators online can help you ballpark the cost of the panels, but a contractor will give you a more accurate estimate.
Follow this link and be sure the contractor you choose is an Energy Trust Trade Ally for the best Home Energy Score results on your solar installation.