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Solar Capacity Standard

​In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed a law that created two significant solar programs: the solar volumetric incentive rate pilot program and the solar photovoltaic capacity standard.

The Volumetric Incentive Rate is a pilot program for small solar energy systems (ORS 757.365, OAR 860-084-0100).  The program is administered by investor-owned electric utilities, with oversight from the Oregon PUC.  It limits total enrollment to no more than 25 MW through a production-based incentive for solar facilities no greater than 500 kW in AC nameplate capacity.  The program’s enrollment closes on March 31, 2015.

A separate provision of statute established the solar photovoltaic capacity standard (ORS 757.370). Under this standard, qualifying solar systems are solar facilities of 500 kW to 5 MW in capacity.

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission adopted rules (OAR 860-084-0020) that require Oregon’s three investor-owned utilities in Oregon to have met the following capacity standard by 2020 with qualifying solar systems:

  • Portland General Electric: 10.9 megawatts
  • Pacific Power: 8.7 megawatts 
  • Idaho Power Company: 0.5 megawatts

Qualifying systems that are online before January 2016 and located in Oregon will earn double credit toward the RPS.  Specifically, when a utility retires a REC from these systems toward a compliance obligation, it counts as though two RECs were retired.

Compliance reports are not due until 2020.  By rule, utilities must provide progress reports in their RPS implementation plans.  They did not do so in 2012, but the following systems are known:

Portland General Electric

ProLogis PDX Park 4 (518 kW)
Yamhill Solar (1.04 MW)
Bellevue Solar (1.56 MW)
Baldock Solar (1.75 MW)
Outback Solar (4.95 MW)

Pacific Power

Black Cap (2 MW)