Solar Panel Laws in Oregon

Oregon Laws Encourage Switching to Solar Power

Concerns about the environment have inspired many businesses and homeowners to move toward renewable energy sources such as solar power.
Oregon boasts the 10th best renewable portfolio standard in the United States, which means it gets a good portion of its energy from renewable sources.

While installation of solar panels may be expensive, they pay dividends in the long-run. Home and business owners who are considering a switch to solar power should be aware of the laws governing solar panels in the state of Oregon.

HB 3516 and Solar Panels

In 2012, the Oregon state legislature passed House Bill 3516. This law affects the installation of solar panels in two positive ways:

1) Permit Approval

HB 3516 makes the permit approval process quicker and easier for those homeowners who wish to install solar panels.

2) Permitted Use

HB 3516 declares solar energy to be an “outright permitted use” within residential zones, which means that Home Owner’s Associations (HOAs) cannot outright ban the installation of solar panels in their neighborhoods.

Tax Law and Solar Panels

Changes to state tax law have helped to make solar panels more affordable to install. There are two primary tax advantages to owning solar panels:

1) Income Tax Credit

Oregon has a rather high state income tax rate, starting at 5% and topping out at 9.9%, but solar panels can help you save come tax time. A credit, unlike a deduction, directly reduces the total amount of tax you owe by an amount equal to the credit.

Your savings cannot exceed the amount of taxes you owe, but Oregon tax law allows home owners and businesses to take up to a $6,000 credit for solar panels. This credit is not awarded all at once, but at a rate of $1,500 a year for a period of four years.

2) Property Tax Exemption

Another tax advantage of solar panels is that they are exempt from property tax. You will not be taxed on the increase in property value that occurs when you add solar panels to your house.

Between House Bill 3516 and state tax law, Oregon has made a concentrated effort to reduce the costs, in both time and money, of switching to solar power.

If you live in Oregon and are thinking about getting solar panels, we offer a free quote from our recommended service provider here.

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