Pilot project pays Oregonians for solar power

A first-in-the-nation pilot program that will pay homeowners for generating solar power began accepting applications in Oregon today.

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Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power began accepting applications at 8 AM today for a pilot solar energy program.

Homeowners and businesses will receive above-market rates for the energy they generate and then consume, but they will not be compensated for any extra power they send to the grid.

In fact, federal constraints resulted in a perverse incentive: a homeowner who begins using less electricity — as kids move out, for example — would do well financially by turning on every appliance in the house to keep checks coming at gross rates as high as 65 cents per kilowatt hour. That oddity, and other political and legal compromises, leave advocates only partially satisfied.

“When participants read the contracts, we’ll see how many actually go forward with the program,” said Judith Barnes, a co-founder of Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy, an advocacy organization. “But we’ve got something, and that’s more than most states have.”

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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