Oregon Solar News

It's Budget Writing Time in the State Capitol


With less than eight weeks left in Oregon’s legislative session, the legislature passed another significant benchmark on Tuesday: The State Economist presented May’s quarterly economic forecast to state legislators. The forecast provides the final estimate of revenue which legislators may allocate as they craft the next state budget.

What does that have to do with OSEIA’s legislative priorities? Well, OSEIA’s top priority is extending the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC). RETC brings numerous benefits to Oregon households and the solar energy and energy efficiency industries. But it also costs the states roughly $15 million dollars per year. With such a large budget deficit to fill, any state program that costs money is potentially on the chopping block.

Read more

Policy Update- Community Solar


Community solar offers exciting possibilities to help consumers who can’t put solar on their roof still access the benefits of solar by participating in a larger project and getting a portion of the energy from that project credited to their bill.

The Oregon legislature adopted a community solar policy in February 2016. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) was charged with writing rules for the policy. The PUC has held a series of workshops starting in the second half of 2016 and continuing into 2017 as part of an informal process for the community solar rulemaking docket (AR 603). The community solar statute requires that rules for the program be in place by July 1, 2017.


Read more

Policy Update - 4.27.17


Between OSEIA’s priority bills moving and a successful lobby day, it's been a good month for solar in Oregon's capitol but the outcome is still uncertain.

First, all three of OSEIA’s priority bills passed their first legislative hurdle by passing out of the House Energy & Environment Committee. Second, OSEIA hosted a successful and productive Solar Lobby Day last Monday in the capitol. OSEIA is beyond grateful to the 83 members and supporters who attended. We met with 67 legislators or their staff, that’s 75% of the 90-person legislature. Third, OSEIA policy staff and ten board members met with Governor Brown to discuss OSEIA’s solar priorities and solar’s role in our future. Nevertheless, we’ve a lot of work ahead to secure OSEIA’s priorities, and given the budget context, the outcome, particularly on RETC, is far from certain.

Read more

Policy Update- 4.20.17


Solar Makes its Mark on Legislature

OSEIA is beyond grateful to its members and supporters who attended Monday's Solar Lobby Day in Oregon's capitol. The importance of that event is difficult to overstate. With all three of OSEIA’s priority bills out of their first committee last week, this was our first chance to carry the message of RETC’s importance to a broader range of legislators.

By any measure, lobby day was successful. All told we met with 67 legislators or their staff. That’s 75% of the 90-person legislature. At least 83 solar pros and supporters attended...

Read more

Policy Update- 4.13.17


Solar bills pass first hurdle unanimously
It's been a great week for solar in Oregon's capitol! On Monday the House Environment and Energy Committee unanimously passed OSEIA's top priority bill, HB 2681, which would extend the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) for six more years.

And yesterday, following a last minute vote count dash, the same committee passed HB 3227, the bill to create a taxpayer incentive for community solar subscribers. Huge thanks to Clean Energy Collective's Charlie Coggeshall for joining us on short notice to testify.

All three of OSEIA's priority bills are out of their first committee (meaning they've meet the first legislative deadline) with unanimous, bipartisan support. There have been no "no" votes on solar yet this year. (The third bill is HB 2760, the property tax exemption for solar and other net-metered alternative energy devices, got out of its first committee a couple of weeks ago).

That's a great foundation for the next step in the legislative process: winning the money to fund these programs. The legislature is grappling with a $1.6 billion budget deficit for funding state programs, so any program that costs money is potentially on the chopping block.

That's why Monday's Solar Lobby Day is crucial, and the timing is perfect. With all our bills out of committee, now is the time for solar supporters to come to the capitol and help us carry the message of solar's benefit to a broader group of legislators. We have fifty lobby meetings scheduled, including with all members of the next committees our bills will face. This is an opportunity for you to make a big difference.

Please register for Solar Lobby Day today is the registration deadline!

Policy Update- 4.6.17


The 2017 legislative session is well underway and the OSEIA legislative team is hard at work. We are pursuing the policy agenda developed by the membership and approved by the board. Here’s an update on what’s happening with the key bills taking up most of our time.

  • HB 2681 - Six-Year Extension of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC): This bill had its first hearing on March 29.
  • HB 2760 - Property Tax Exemption for On-site Renewables: The bill moved from the House Energy and Environment Committee to the House Revenue Committee on April 4.
  • HB 3227 - Create a Tax Incentive for Community Solar Participants: The legislature created a community solar policy in 2016 that will give people who cannot put solar on their roofs the opportunity to participate in a solar project and see the benefits on their utility bill
  • SB 339 - Clarifying the Small-Scale Renewable Mandate in the Increased Renewable Energy Standard: When the legislature increased the Renewable Energy Standard for Oregon’s two largest private utilities, they included a mandate to include a portion of small-scale renewables (under 20 MW).
  • SB 979 - Renewable Energy Direct Access: Many large utility customers (Wal-mart, Microsoft, Facebook and the like) want to have access to increased renewable resources to be able to say that they are powered by renewable energy.
Key Deadlines Approaching:The session is about to hit key legislative deadlines for bills to get moved out of their originating committees. Most of the bills we are working on should meet those deadlines but it will be good to have the field cleared a bit of other bills that aren’t going anywhere. Sign up for Solar Lobby Day!
Read more

First Hearings Held for RETC and Property Tax Exemption Extension


We’ve been talking about extending the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and the property tax exemption for a long time. But yesterday (Wednesday, March 29) we had the first hearing to start the process.

For an hour and a half, solar installers, energy efficiency advocates, labor representatives and economic development workers told the members of the Oregon House Energy and Environment Committee about the benefits of the RETC and the property tax exemption (but mostly RETC) – for consumers, for businesses and for Oregon.

Read more

Policy Update- 2.28.17


We're nearly four weeks into Oregon's legislative session and, while it's still too early to read the tea leaves, prospects look hopeful for OSEIA's major policy priorities this session. The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee tentatively scheduled a mid-March hearing for two OSEIA priorities—extending the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and extending the property tax exemption for solar. To prepare, OSEIA's executive director, Jeff Bissonnette, spent part of last week in Salem. He heard good feedback in a round of lobby meetings with legislative leadership and with every member of the environment committee.

Read more

OSEIA's Policy Work Picking Up Speed


It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-October. While it seems like a good idea to just sit around sipping all the pumpkin spice beverages that seem to have invaded the market, things are just too busy for solar advocates to take it easy. Here are a couple of key things that are keeping things hopping: Oregon PUC Draft Solar Report, Community Solar Rulemaking (AR603), Oregon Solar Business Plan, Policy (we need you to rate proposals!), and more.

Read more

Policy Update: A Little Bit of a Lot


Well, it’s official. Summer’s over, fall’s here, kids have been back to school for a few weeks and the campaign season is moving headlong toward Election Day. That means there’s a lot going on. Usually, these policy updates focus on one or two key items but this one will touch on several important points that are all happening at once- developing a 2017 Legislative Agenda, organizing the Oregon SolarPAC, developing the Oregon Solar Business Plan, keeping up with PUC activities, and more.

Read more

Policy Update: The Busy is About to Get Busier

There was a time when the “dog days of summer” really did mean ”a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” But the summer of 2016 was marked by anything but inactivity on the policy front. And it’s about to get busier.

Summary:

Read more

Policy Update 6/24/16


Maybe it’s the July 4th/Independence Day holiday coming up but the saying from the American Revolution has been on my mind for the past few days. With apologies to Thomas Jefferson (who said “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom”), we’ve learned recently that we need to be ready for anything as we build a stronger solar industry in Oregon.

On June 24, Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Committee on Oversight of the Oregon Department of Energy that acknowledged the continuing shadow of the now-defunct Business Energy Tax Credit and called for allowing the Residential Energy Tax Credit and some other incentive programs to expire as they are scheduled to at the end of 2017... Read more

Policy Update

6.10.16 - Earlier this year, the legislative arena was the main focus of activity on the policy front. Since the legislature adjourned in February, the policy activity has moved to the Public Utility Commission. Rulemaking is getting underway around the expanded Renewable Energy Standard, community solar, and small-scale renewables.

Read more

Policy Update 4/19/16


From the desk of Jeff Bissonnette, Executive Director - As we’ve now moved well out of the legislative session, the pace of policy work has slowed to the more deliberate pace of rulemaking but the load is just as heavy. Before we dive into the issues themselves, activity around the membership of the Oregon Public Utility Commission needs to be mentioned.

Read more

Policy Update 3/18/16


This policy update will provide a wrap-up of the legislative session, how those legislative issues will be addressed and will also touch on a solar task force process underway at the Bonneville Power Administration.

Read more

Policy Update, 03-01-2016


The legislature has entered into the final week of the 2016 short session. Solar and renewable energy bills are still making headway. As this newsletter goes to press (can you say that about an online publication?), the Oregon House just passed SB 1547, which has become the vehicle for the Clean Electricity/Coal Transition Plan (formerly HB 4036). The bill will now go back to the Senate for concurrence and hopefully final passage so that it can go to the Governor for her signature.

Read more

Oregon Solar Policy Update - 2/22/16


The legislature is beginning to enter its final phase. You can tell because the pace, which has been frantic from the start, gets even more frantic. There are also official signals - for example, a memo from the Speaker of the House saying that hearings on bills can be scheduled with one hour's notice, a sure sign that the legislative leadership is trying to herd the process toward a conclusion.

Read more

Oregon Solar Policy Update: 2/15/16


The legislative session continues to race along. We’re now approaching the half-way point. Last week was a whirlwind and next week promises to be more of the same.

Before we get to those, did you see the action alert this week? It asked folks to contact their state representative and urge a YES vote on HB 4036, which will be up for a vote today. Didn’t get a chance to do that? You still can….just do it before 10am on Monday morning. Calls or e-mails are both great.

Read more

Oregon Solar Policy Update: 2/8/16


Here is a look at HB 4036, HB 4037 and SB1572.

Read more

Less Coal! More Renewable Energy!


by Jeff Bissonnette

Oregonians can agree on a lot of stuff whether it’s good beer and wine or getting outside to enjoy a mountain or a beach. Two other things: we hate coal and we love renewable energy.

A group called Renew Oregon was formed recently to harness that enthusiasm to help Oregon chart a course to a comprehensive policy to address climate change. As part of that agenda, groups involved in the effort identified a key step that needed to be taken before comprehensive climate policy could be adopted. We needed to significantly reduce coal in our energy mix and make sure it was replaced largely with clean energy, like efficiency and renewable resources.

Read more

Show more posts

Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?
Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?

Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!

OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>

© 2016 OREGON SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION