Oregon state law requires all utilities to offer net metering pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes 757.300.* Some requirements differ between the state's primary investor-owned utilities (PGE and PacifiCorp) and its municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and people's utility districts.
Net-metered systems must be intended primarily to offset part or all of a customer’s requirements for electricity. Systems that generate electricity using solar power, wind power, hydropower, fuel cells, landfill or digester gas, biomass resources, geothermal energy, or marine energy are eligible.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted new rules for net metering for PGE and PacifiCorp customers in July 2007, raising the individual system limit from 25 kilowatts (kW) to two megawatts (MW) for non-residential applications. The limit on individual residential systems is 25 kW. The system size limit for municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and people's utility districts is 25 kW.
Net Excess Generation
For PGE and PacifiCorp customers, net excess generation (NEG) is carried over to the customer's next bill as a kilowatt-hour credit for a 12-month period. Unless the utility and a customer otherwise agree, the annual billing cycle will conclude at the end of the March billing cycle of each year. Any NEG remaining at the end of a 12-month period will be credited at the utility's avoided-cost rate to customers enrolled in Oregon's low-income assistance programs.
For customers of municipal utilities, cooperatives, and people's utility districts, NEG is either purchased at the utility's avoided-cost rate or credited to the customer's next monthly bill as a kilowatt-hour credit. At the end of an annual period, any unused NEG credit is granted to the electric utility. This credit, in turn, is then either granted to customers enrolled in the utility's low-income assistance programs, credited to the generating customer, or dedicated to "other use."
Aggregate Capacity Limit
Utilities may not limit the total cumulative capacity of net metered systems beyond a cumulative capacity of 0.5% of the utility's historic peak load. After the cap is reached, the PUC, or the governing body if a municipal utility, electric cooperative, or people's utility district, has the discretion to limit net metering IF deemed necessary. The PUC thus far has not implemented the 0.5% cap for the state's two IOUs.
Equipment and Interconnection
Net metering is achieved using a standard bi-directional meter. Utilities may not place any additional standards or requirements on customers beyond those requirements established by the National Electric Code (NEC), National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). However, utilities may be authorized to assess a fee or charge if the utility's direct costs of interconnection and administration of net metering outweigh the distribution system, environmental and public-policy benefits of allocating costs among its customers.
For customers of PGE and PacifiCorp, the aggregation of meters for net metering is allowed. There is no limit on the number of net-metering facilities per customer, as long as the capacity of all net-metering facilities on a customer's contiguous property does not exceed the applicable capacity limit. Meters that are on different rate schedules are able to be aggregated.
Community Net Metering
SB 1547 of 2016 established a community solar program for Oregon. The law requires that utilities compensate subscribers to a community solar program for the electricity the system produces according to the resource value of solar. The PUC is delegated authority to determine the resource value of solar and establish specific rules and requirements for community solar programs.
Third Party Ownership
In July of 2008, the PUC issued a ruling to clarify that third-party investors may participate in net metering, and that a third-party investor’s sale of electricity to a utility customer does not subject the investor to regulation by the commission.
Renewable Energy Credits
Customers retain ownership of all renewable-energy credits (RECs) associated with the generation of electricity.
*Oregon's net metering rules do not apply to customers of Idaho Power, which provides net metering to Oregon customers pursuant to rules adopted by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.