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Excellent motivation to jump on your energy-saving to do list before the end of the year

Almost forty years ago Oregon was a leader in the energy efficiency movement when the state created the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) program. The Oregon Department of Energy has overseen this program with the intention of encouraging Oregon residents to adopt more energy efficient devices from appliances to heating systems to solar panels.

The RETC covers 25 different products but there are a few in particular that we have our eye on because of their potential to save large amounts of energy and their excellent return on investment. Here’s a rundown of a few products that will be affected and how you can get a project started before the tax credits expire.

Solar photovoltaic (PV or solar electric) systems

  • Solar electric systems produce electricity that you can use in your home. The expiration of the RETC has the largest impact on solar systems.
  • In total, the tax credit covers up to $6,000 of the cost of your solar installation. You claim a maximum of $1,500 per year over four years. You will still be able to claim your $1,500 incremental payments even after the tax credit expires so if you get in this year, you will still get your full tax credit amount. This can cover up to 35% of the cost of your system.
  • The federal investment tax credit covers another 30% of the system cost and there are additional cash incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon for Pacific Power customers.
  • Get more information about solar, all available incentives, and sign up for a free assessment.

Ductless Heat Pumps

Heat Pump Water Heaters

  • Heat pump water heaters (HPWH) are one of the most efficient ways you can heat your water. A home that is currently using an electric water heater can expect to see savings of up to 60%.
  • The RETC covers up to $600 or 50% of the cost of a HPWH for professional or self-install.
  • Utility incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon for Pacific Power customers and Central Electric Cooperative cover an additional $300 – 500.
  • If you would like to purchase a HPWH to install yourself, we’ve set up a group-purchase. You can get a HPWH for as low as $699. You can also contact one of our contractor partners to have one installed. Learn more here.
  • Get more information about heat pump water heaters, all available incentives, and purchase your HPWH today.

Eligibility for the RETC

You may be eligible for the RETC program if you purchase qualifying equipment for your Oregon-based primary residence, secondary (vacation) home, or residential rental property. Only items eligible at the time of purchase will qualify, and you must be the owner of the new equipment. You must an Oregon resident and must have a state of Oregon tax liability.

Important dates and timeline

RETC expires at the end of 2017, however this deadline is for signing a contract to get a project started or purchasing the product. Here is the timeline for when you need to complete projects to take advantage of the RETC on your 2017 state taxes.

  • December 31st, 2017 – Project contract signed or device purchased. For solar installations, your contractor will need to submit your initial application by this date.
  • April 1st, 2017 – Project installation completed and device is operational.
  • June 1st, 2017 – Tax credit application must be received by Oregon Department of Energy. For solar, DHP, and HPWH projects, your contractor will complete the paperwork for you. If you do a self-install for a HPWH you will need to complete the paperwork yourself.

For more information

Visit Oregon Department of Energy’s webpage for RETC or contact them directly at [email protected] or 1-800-221-8035. Questions about the Residential Energy Tax Credit can also be sent to [email protected] For questions about your taxes, please consult your tax advisor, accountant, or the Oregon Department of Revenue at www.oregon.gov/dor.