The Oregon Public Utilities Commission has submitted its final solar PV incentives report to the state legislature. The report recommends that if the legislature wants to capture the full social and economic development benefits of solar, it should adopt taxpayer-funded incentive programs. The report makes no recommendation on the form of taxpayer-funded incentives that should be offered, but it does recommend that the legislature examine extending the state’s property tax exemption and create taxpayer-supported programs that spur residential and small commercial solar PV developments.
In addition, the report recommends utilizing the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Solar Electricity Program to support applications that yield high-value benefits to the utility system or to help bring down the “soft costs” of solar projects. High-value applications could include the selective placement of solar to improve system reliability, the provision of system services such as voltage regulation, and the ability to defer or eliminate the need for system upgrades.
The PUC Staff report also describes Oregon’s current energy policy landscape and solar programs, and how that landscape factored into the report’s evaluations and recommendations.