Not long after signing a 50% by 2040 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) into law, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed legislation that will establish an incentive program for large-scale solar projects in the state.
At the Pendleton Early Learning Center on Wednesday, the governor formally approved the bill, H.B.4037. According to the bill’s language, the new law directs the Oregon Business Development Department to establish a program to encourage the development of solar projects in Oregon with a nameplate capacity of between 2 MW and 10 MW. The projects will receive a monthly payment of one-half cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated for a period of five years.
The legislation limits the cumulative nameplate capacity of systems in the program owned or operated by a single enrollee and any affiliated business to 35 MW, and the program will close when it reaches a total of 150 MW or on Jan. 2, 2017, whichever comes first.
“We want to make solar energy more affordable and more accessible,” said Brown, according to a local KVEW-TV report. “We have a lot of land in Oregon and at least in some parts of the state, we have a lot of sun in Oregon, and so it’s a great way for us to create a partnership around that.”
Although the state House of Representatives passed the bill in February and the Senate followed suit soon after, H.B.4037 received little fanfare, possibly overshadowed in the public eye by S.B.1547-B. Known as the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan and approved by legislators earlier this month, S.B.1547-B increases the RPS for Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, the state’s two biggest utilities, to 50% by 2040 and requires the companies to eliminate their use of coal.