More than 18,000 Oregonians have installed solar panels on their roof, and more are making the switch daily. Solar installation in Bend has been happening at an equally impressive rate, with the city’s residents doing their part to preserve the environment while growing their property value. But what benefits can Bend’s legion of solar homeowners claim, and what’s the outlook for those who haven’t made the jump? This guide will explain everything you need to know about Bend’s solar panel industry, the incentives that make solar installation so lucrative, and more.
Why Solar Installation in Bend is Worthwhile
Solar installation has become a far more affordable way to power your home than relying on traditional utility providers — and the gap is set to widen. Oregon’s legislative body has given power companies the green light to raise utility prices again, with power bills expected to increase 17% in 2024. Oregon residents, who are already fighting against a tumultuous economy and rising inflation costs, have been left in the lurch.
One would expect that these rising costs be reinvested into improving the country’s electrical infrastructure, but logistical challenges have made it nearly impossible for utility providers to make improvements. Even in a growing area like Central Oregon, years-long bureaucratic processes are holding back improvements, like the $2 billion “Evolving Grid” grid project, which would provide more power to the region’s rapidly growing population. It’s a much-needed piece of infrastructure but one that’s been stalled due to complications with land management. And yet, Oregonians are still footing higher bills for electricity without improvements.
There’s no reason to pay more for less. Not only will renewable energy sources help you reduce (or even eliminate) your utility bills, but installing solar panels can increase your home value by an average of 4.1%. The cost savings associated with going solar happen immediately and in the long term, especially with the numerous, substantial incentive programs available at the state and federal levels.
Solar Panel Incentive Programs
The United State’s Infrastructure Bill has been a massive part of the rapid adoption of solar across the country, primarily thanks to the 30% tax credit homeowners qualify for once their system is up and running. However, the tax incentive is just one of several programs that make solar panel installation in Bend affordable. Other programs can further drive down the long-term and immediate costs of going solar. Here are a few of them:
Federal Solar Tax Incentive
The Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics, more commonly known as the solar tax credit, allows qualified taxpayers to receive up to 30% off their total installed solar system price via a tax credit. You can roll over unused portions of the credit to subsequent tax years, eliminating a significant portion of your solar panel system’s total cost. However, you have to pay taxes for the credit to kick in, which may impact your decision to go solar.
Net Metering allows you to earn credits on your energy bill every time your solar panels generate excess electricity. Those credits are then applied to your electricity bill, offsetting the cost of the energy you consume when your panels are under-producing, like at night. Net Metering credits are banked throughout the year, so you can rack up credits during the summer and cash them in during the winter.
$0 Down Solar Financing
Solar panels are an excellent way to generate long-term cost savings, but the entry price can be a barrier. However, some solar installers will offer $0 down financing programs for qualified homeowners, making renewable energy a more attainable program for countless people. In conjunction with other incentives, $0 down financing offers can lead to immediate, significant cost savings on your monthly energy bills.
If you’re interested in $0 down solar financing, Purelight Power offers such a program for homeowners. Submit a contact form to learn more.
Finding Solar Installers in Bend
Oregon has a wealth of solar installers to choose from statewide, and Bend is much the same. As a result, finding the best solar installer for your situation can be an arduous task, as its difficult to discern between options. However, there are a few criteria you can use to make the best choice for your situation.
Reviews are the best indicator of a solar installer’s overall quality, as it’s an unfiltered view of how well the company performed during installations according to actual customers. Look for quantity and quality of reviews on every company’s business profile, either through Google, the Better Business Bureau, or platforms like Yelp. Consider the pain points that others have gone through as well as the positives. More often than not, good communication and customer service is the key differentiator between a reputable solar installer and a less-than-stellar one.
Solar energy contractors are relatively evenly divided between local and national companies, with a select few operating somewhere in the middle. There’s nothing wrong with either option per se, but you should make sure that the company you go with has a firm grasp on the local geography and weather patterns of your area. Those factors will dramatically affect the final design of your solar panel system, which in turn affects how much money you save each month. If you’ve seen a specific solar installer running a booth at farmer’s markets, local businesses, or sports games, it’s a good sign they’re knowledgeable about the area (and involved in the local community).
Choosing a Solar Energy Contractor
Once you’ve looked into a company’s reviews and expertise, you can make an informed decision about who you want to work with. Most solar energy contractors offer free designs and quotes during their project proposal stage, and it’s wise to get several quotes and designs before making a decision. Make sure to ask questions about the design proposals you receive. You should ask about your total energy offset, the number of panels going on your roof, and if there are any special considerations for your utility company. For example, Pacific Power offers Net Metering as a service, but other local providers don’t.
If you still have questions about going solar, Purelight Power is here to help. Our expert solar consultants can answer any questions you may have about the process, from the initial consultation to finalizing your install. Contact us today, and we’ll show you how to get started.