- The Oregon Senate last week passed House Bill 4037, which creates a $0.005/kWh incentive for utility-scale solar installations of between 2 MW and 10 MW. It is intended to stimulate new solar development in support of the state’s just-passed 50% renewables by 2040 mandate.
- The incentive is available for projects that apply to and are qualified by the Oregon Business Development Department before January 2, 2017, or until the Department has qualified 150 MW. The bill instructs the Department to set standards for applicants.
- Developers must put approved projects into service within one year of the date they are accepted into the program. If they fail to do so, the five-year term of the incentive is reduced. If the project is not generating electricity within two years, it will be dropped.
Passed last Thursday, the utility-scale solar incentive bill is designed to support r Oregon’s just-approved Senate Bill 1547, which sets a 50% renewables mandate by 2040 and requires investor-owned utilities Pacific Power and Portland General Electric to eliminate their use of coal-generated electricity by 2035.
Under the solar incentive bill, a 2 MW array would receive approximately $11,400 per year, or $57,000 for the five years the incentive is available, according to a Portland Business Journal estimate.
A driving force behind passage of the bill was David Brown, sr. principal and co-founder of Obsidian Renewables, according to Environment Oregon Director Rikki Seguin. His important contribution was convincing legislators the development of utility-scale solar would bring important economic benefits to rural eastern Oregon, including jobs and property taxes.
The incentive will go to developers in the form of a monthly check issued out of the Business Development Department's Solar Incentivization Fund, which is comprised of monies from the General Fund as well as grants, donations, and gifts, Seguin said.
The solar incentive bill, HB 4037, was passed in the Oregon House in late February and by the Senate on March 2. Both it and the 50% RPS proposal await expected signatures from Gov. Kate Brown (D).