Oregon Passes Weak Solar PV “Tariff”

By Paul Gipe


To the great disappointment of feed-in tariff advocates in Oregon, the state legislature passed a weak bill for a “pilot” program for solar PV on June 22, 2009.

Among the weakest of several feed-in tariff bills passed in North America during the 2009 legislative session, Oregon’s HB 3039 stands out.

Oregon 3039 doesn’t use the term “feed-in tariffs”, instead it refers to the term “volumetric incentive rates”.

Update July 24, 2009: Despite a strenuous effort by feed-in tariff advocates to have the Governor veto HB 3039, he signed the bill into law July 23, 2009. Advocates argued that making a bad bill law was worse than no feed-in tariff at all.

HB 3039 is limited to only solar PV and is limited to only 25 MW, even less than that in the Maine bill. Three-quarters of the capacity is reserved for residential systems, the remainder for commercial installations.

The growing popularity of the feed-in tariff concept and envy of European success with feed-in tariffs is leading a number of North American politicians to take the name, if not the idea, and slap it onto policies that Europe moved away from more than a decade ago. Oregon’s HB 3039 is one example. Oregon renewable energy advocates are privately calling the HB 3039 a FITINO, a Feed-in Tariff in Name Only.

The solar PV tariff will be determined by the Public Utility Commission.


  • Contract term: 15 years
  • Project Cap: 500 kW
  • Program Cap: 25 MW

Costs of the pilot tariff will be passed on to consumers.

Governor Ted Kulongoski has yet to sign the bill.

HB 3039

Oregon 3690 2010–Oregon Passes Revised “Feed-in Tariff” Bill–As in the Oregon’s previous bill, Oregon 3690 calls for only a small pilot program for solar PV of 25 MW. . .