The state Public Utility Commission will reopen a one-day lottery on Oct. 1 to award subsidies in the pilot feed-in-tariff solar electricity program.

Under the feed-in tariff system, Portland-area participants who install photovoltaic solar cells are granted a guaranteed above-market price for the power they produce from PGE or Pacific Power for 15 years. For the Oct. 1 allocation, Portland-area homeowners will be paid 39 cents per kilowatt hour for the electricity they produce.

A similar system has helped expand the use of solar electric installations in other countries around the world.

Feed-in tariffs are popular among some circles, because they take the burden of subsidizing solar installations off government or utilities. Instead, all ratepayers wind up paying a tiny bit extra to allow the above-market payments by utilities for the new solar power. Utilities can then sell the power to others.

A limited number of slots are awarded by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission in each lottery, which calls the program a volumetric incentive rate.Ordinarily, this would be the final allocation under the program, as it's the end of a four-year trial period. However, earlier this year, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2893, which extended the program by one year, enabling an additional 2.5 megawatts to be purchased.

The original four-year trial period provided subsidies for 25 megawatts worth of solar energy, about enough to power 2,500 homes.

For more information:

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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