Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski introduced a trio of bills to the 2009 state legislature that, if passed, would give solar energy in the state a significant boost.
The first two, House Bills 2121 and 2181, would make installation of solar energy facilities more affordable to homeowners and developers. Oregon already has some of the strongest tax credit and loan programs in the nation to encourage solar energy, but the average Oregon building owner still can expect to wait 25 years or more to recover the initial capital costs of a solar energy system through savings on electricity bills.
HB 2121 would establish a feed-in tariff pilot program for up to 17 megawatts (MW) of new solar energy. A feed-in tariff requires utilities to purchase solar energy according to a pre-established rate or set of rates. If the price for the solar power exceeds the price at which the building owner purchases electricity back from the utility, solar panels become an income source for the homeowner. The greater the difference between the "buy" and "sell" rates, the greater the incentive for building owners to install solar panels.