The Oregon Solar Electric Guide provides easy-to-understand information about solar electric power for your home or business. It covers both utility connected and independent systems.
Energy from the sun can be directly converted to electricity using solar cells, also known as photovoltaic or PV. Today's solar electric systems have 20 to 25 year warranties, are pollution free and can be used to offset your utility power or serve as stand-alone power for remote applications. The down side to this technology is that it costs three to five times more than utility power.
Oregon utility customers who want to produce their own electricity should inquire about Oregon’s "net metering" law (ORS 757.300). Through net metering, utilities allow customers to exchange their surplus solar electric power for utility power they use when their system is not producing enough power to meet their needs (e.g. at night). Customer meters would simply spin backwards during sunny portions of the day, generally when their systems produce more than they use. At the end of the billing period, net metering customers would only be billed for net energy used.