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Energy in Oregon

​Solar in Oregon

Solar Panels in FieldTotal Capacity in Oregon (2021): 726 MW 
Facilities in Oregon (2021): Over 20,000 residential/commercial facilities & ​solar projects
Total Generation (2018): 1,077,902 MWh 
In-State Consumption (2018): 615,928 MWh ​
Total Exports (2018): 461,974 MWh​

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun. Solar technologies harness this energy for electricity generation, space and water heating, and other uses. Solar energy is a renewable resource as the energy comes from the sun. Solar photovoltaic (PV) cells are the most common technology for generating electricity from solar energy. Solar PV cells absorb photons from sunlight and convert their energy into electric current. PV cells are connected together into panels for installation on rooftops or ground-mounted systems. The average solar panel has between a 200- and 400-watt capacity. Joining panels together creates solar arrays, which can be virtually any size, from less than one kilowatt to hundreds of megawatts or more. 

In 2018, utility-scale, commercial, and residential solar generated approximately 776,000 MWh or 1.2 percent of all electricity generated in Oregon (18th among all states). Oregonians consumed approximately 680,500 MWh accounting for 1.3 percent of all electricity consumed in Oregon. Oregon solar grew over five-fold between 2015 and 2019, with installed capacity growing from 91 MW to 592 MW, and generation increasing from 116,000 MWh to 776,000 MWh. During this period, residential and commercial solar grew at a consistent rate. However, most growth in solar capacity came from utility-scale solar; in 2018 utility-scale solar accounted for 79 percent of solar generation, with commercial solar accounting for 13 percent and residential solar accounting for 8 percent. 

Oregon has significant solar generation potential, with a 2012 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study estimating annual technical potential for solar in Oregon at 1,775 terawatt hours; Oregon’s total 2018 electricity demand was around 51 terawatt hours. This potential, coupled with improvements in solar technology and falling costs, means Oregon is likely to see increased development of solar resources​.

Learn more about solar in Oregon in our 2020 Biennial ​Energy Report.

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Check it out: ODOE's Oregon Solar Dashboard shows how sun-powered electricity has developed over time across the state.


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Renewable Energy Development Grants
​ ​Contact the Planning & Innovation Team: