Upcoming Solar Bills in Salem Alert!
This spring, legislators will be evaluating a number of bills that would significantly strengthen Oregon’s commitment to solar. The state, to date, has been a leader in certain progressive solar policies but gaps in accessibility remain. The proposed bills would ensure that all Oregonians have equal access to fair compensation for solar production. Solar Oregon is raising funds and mobilizing volunteers to get solar access to everyone in Oregon.
An opportunity for community solar
Community solar could finally be allowed in Oregon if Senate Bill 562 passes. This is particularly of value to individuals who want to make their own solar power but are limited by factors such as not owning property, or having inadequate solar resource, 75% of the Oregon population right now does not have a net metering option, this bill will give access to solar power to everyone. For example, community solar would enable members of a congregation to collectively purchase a solar system for their church and be individually credited, through virtual net metering, for the electricity generated. Many states across the country now support this collective ownership model. With the passing of Bill 562, Oregonians could also participate in this innovative strategy to expand solar opportunities to all residents without costing ratepayers or taxpayers anything. Solar Oregon will be leading the charge to move community net metering forward.
Expansion of fair net metering policies to all solar producers across the state
Did you know that 20% of Oregonians don’t have access to annual net metering (i.e. their excess from the summer can cover their winter load)? This severely limits the size of PV systems these Oregonians can invest in. While solar producers in PGE and Pacific Power territories are able to get a 1-to-1 credit for their solar energy production through annual net metering, solar producers in citizen owned utility (COU) territories currently cannot, therefore limiting the size of systems to immediate use needs or deterring investment all together. Many of these territories have some of the best solar resource in the state and yet the solar producers don’t receive the same compensation for generated electricity that producers in PGE and Pacific Power territories do. House Bill 2968 would provide an opportunity for COU members, who would like to be solar producers, to be fairly credited for their solar energy.
The VIR our ‘Feed-In-Tariff’ is going away unless something is done.
The pilot feed-in-tariff has helped spur investment in small and large scale solar installations. Solar Oregon is working to extend the VIR and develop a solar resource value which will help us to plan a long term solar strategy for the state. House Bill 2893 is under debate now and has the opportunity to transition the VIR to a stable policy but also has potential hurt solar power if the voice of potential and existing solar consumers is not heard.
While these important bills have broad support from agriculture, labor, the environmental community, and economic development interests, all of these groups have a primary focus elsewhere. If we are going to level the playing field for solar then Solar Oregon needs to take the lead. Our aim is to
• Organize non solar political interests in Salem (farm, labor, consumer, etc)
• Prepare and deliver credible testimony
• Mobilize Oregon’s solar community to deliver their message in Salem.
And we can’t do it without you. In order to counter the major dollars and professional lobbyists of those against expanding solar in Oregon we need a little money and a little effort from a lot of people. We intend to:
• Raise $10,000 to staff our effort
• Build a 100 person volunteer list to help get out the message
• Get 2000 people to contact their legislators and 50 to come and testify in Salem
What can you do right now?
For more than 33 years Solar Oregon has advocated for the rights of solar energy producers and supporters. During those years we have witnessed Oregon become a leader in renewable energy policy, but we can't continue to press for the advancement of solar energy without you.
Learn more about these bills, click here
Let us know that you are willing to volunteer or testify, click here
Contribute to Solar Oregon’s political action fund