Oregon Trust Enhances Incentives for Efficiency, Solar

Energy Trust of Oregon is boosting cash incentives for businesses investing in energy efficiency upgrades and commercial solar energy installations, according to a Jan. 27 press release.

The enhanced incentives for energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades are available for custom projects in existing buildings that are approved by June 30 and completed by year's end. Commercial solar incentives for commercial and nonprofit organizations have been increased to help project owners make larger solar installations pencil out.

"Controlling energy costs by improving energy efficiency and taking advantage of renewable resources such as solar are a powerful one-two punch for businesses operating in a slowing economy," said Greg Stiles, senior business sector manager, Energy Trust. "These enhanced incentives are designed to provide additional support to businesses seeking to lower their energy consumption and generate their own clean energy. Once your operations are more efficient, renewable resources can meet an even greater percentage of your demand for power."

As of Jan. 1, mechanical energy efficiency incentives, such as heating and cooling systems, will increase from $0.20 to $0.25 per kilowatt hour, up to 50 percent of the incremental cost of the project.

Lighting upgrades, which provide the quickest returns in the form of energy savings, can also receive enhanced incentives. The custom incentives for lighting projects increased from $0.15 to $0.17 per kWh, up to 35 percent of installed cost. This percentage project cap for lighting projects is consistent with the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit guidelines. Standard incentives offered through Energy Trust's Existing Buildings program remain the same.

Also effective Jan. 1, Energy Trust boosted incentives to support commercial solar investments. Standard incentives are now $0.25 per watt higher for Pacific Power and Portland General Electric customers, and the limit for the standard incentives is now 200 kilowatts, up from 100 kilowatts in 2008.

For more information, visit www.energytrust.org.