Changing Energy Economy

More people are deciding to go solar every year. Going solar will reduce or eliminate your electric bill, earn a good return for your investment, increase your property value, protect against rising energy costs, and protect the environment by cutting your consumption of non-renewable energy.

As the demand for solar and other types of clean energy jobs increases all over the country, blue-collar jobs in the field are booming. Forbes magazine states that over time it will become less expensive to build new renewable energy than run existing coal plants without. The construction and operation of new renewable energy plants that replace coal is the newest progressive transition in the energy economy today. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the two fastest growing in 2026 will be solar installer and wind technician.  The increase in green jobs is happening in both red and blue states. The American Wind  and Energy Association posted a map (https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960×0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fenergyinnovation%2Ffiles%2F2019%2F04%2FCongressional-District-wind-industry-footprint-1200×932.jpg) of congressional districts with online wind projects and wind-related manufacturing facilities.

Coal jobs however are in a general decline from 86,000 in 2009 to 52,000 in 2018 (with small 2,000 increase due to President Trump’s efforts between 2017-2018). This changing market economy has led to dozens of coal plant closures in 2017, with a 4% drop in coal consumption in 2018 and 8.4% drop in consumption in 2019. Many areas int he US see a general decline in cost of renewable energy, though in some areas the cost of it might not yet be below coal. VCE Energy Innovation produced a map (https://blogs-images.forbes.com/energyinnovation/files/2019/04/Coal-MCOE.gif?) forecasting this disparity visually for wind and solar systems. It shows that these systems may be cheaper than coal energy more-so in the eastern half of the country and in south-western states, with some difference in the center of the nation as well. This may be due to more sunlight exposure and wind energy capacity in these areas. In places with still a higher forecasted cost of renewable energy than coal we know coal is a major industry, like near the Mexican Gulf and in the north-west. This map is not necessarily complete and still misses detail, but it could indicate further geographical disparities in production of wind and solar energy by 2025.

According to Brookings Institution research, clean energy jobs are commonly available to people without college degrees, like 45% of all workers in the clean energy production industry doing electrical work, installation, repair, and plant powering. The institute took Occupational Employment Statistics data in 2016 to show that the mean hourly wage in the clean energy jobs market in higher than the national average mean hourly income by about 8%-19%.

We are excited to anticipate more people going solar to reduce their carbon footprint and save money! Request quote or send a referral today to Second Generation Energy and get started on adding solar panels to your home or business. We will help you achieve your specific goals every step of the way and are happy to help.

 

Solar Star

Solar Star farm in Kern County, California.

More people are deciding to go solar every year. Going solar will reduce or eliminate your electric bill, earn a good return for your investment, increase your property value, protect against rising energy costs, and protect the environment by cutting your consumption of non-renewable energy.

Sometimes solar panels can be truly awe-inspiring. In addition to community solar there are many enormous solar fields around the world, including Solar Star, America’s largest solar farm and the world’s largest when it was created in 2015. Solar Star spans over 13 kilometres squared, about four times the size of central park. It produces 579 megawatts of energy, and powers over 250,000 homes, and you can see it from hundreds of miles above the ground!

Located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California, it was built on “disturbed” land, meaning land that was already altered by people and not in its natural state. These panels get cleaned in a way that uses minimal water, and automatically follow the sun’s motion across the sky, which makes them more efficient. According to Solstice, these panels impact the environment as if they took 108,000 cars off the road every year! Additionally, the project was reported to have created 650 jobs over three years, and 40 maintenance jobs through its lifetime. The panels are also a source of pride and leadership for the US renewable sector.

Mega-scale solar farms are becoming more common around the world. Since 2015, solar plants in Mexico, China, and India are all projected to reach a range of 1,000-2,000 megawatts soon. The UAE even plans on building a plant with 5,000 watts by 2030. Back in the US, there are other large fields too, like the Desert Sunlight and Topaz farms producing 550 megawatts each, but they take up more space. Solar energy is becoming more affordable for the average American to place on their properties and commercial buildings every year too. More efficient benefits of distributed energy generation and more resistance to outages for small-scale projects should keep getting better, making more numerous small-scale projects across our communities It brings more affordable energy to people across the country and thus helps us life more cheaply.

Still, we will keep our eyes out for updates on the production of these mega farms in the US and around the world. The solar industry creates many jobs for people for farms of all sizes and contributes to maintaining a clean planet and reduction in carbon emissions. The solar industry is growing exponentially, with an almost 200% increase between 2016 and 2017, and 2,056 megawatts of community solar has been installed in the US through 2019! It brings better energy to people across the country, including in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, which Second Generation Energy serves.

 

Solar Efficiency in Cold Temperatures

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels create energy from the sun’s radiation “sunrays” & not from the sun’s heat. A solar panel is made up of a layer of silicon cells and when light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current.

When the sun is hitting a solar panel, the solar panel will generate electricity — no matter how cold it is. Most people don’t know that solar works more efficiently in colder temperatures. A sunny and cold environment in New England is the best condition for solar panels. Heat actually reduces solar efficiency (tests shown that panels start to lose efficiency above 77ºF).

Best example is the McMurdo Station, the primary hub for U.S. science operations on Antarctica, using solar as it’s critical source of power. Temperatures in outer space, where solar powers the International Space Station, experience the most extreme cold temperatures that are significantly colder than New England winters or even Antarctica’s tempatures!

In fact, the solar industry is thriving in cold-weather states like here in Massachusetts (our main office location), Rhode Island and Connecticut.

This isn’t to say that solar is better or produces more energy during the winter months. Shorter days in winter, snow cover, clouds and a lower angle of the sun can all reduce the amount of sunlight solar panels get.

Do you live in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut and thinking about going Solar? Call our office today to speak to one of our Solar experts to see how much solar can save you!

Benefits of going Solar:

  • Reduce or eliminate your Electric Bill
  • Earn a great return on your investment
  • Increase your property value
  • Protect against rising energy costs
  • Protect the environment

Rhode Island Solar Guide

About the RI Office of Energy Resources Solar Guide

The purpose of this guide is to assist Rhode Island residents who are considering solar energy to generate electricity in their homes. This guide will help determine whether a solar PV system is right for you. It reviews solar PV technology, the installation process as well as available incentives. This guide focuses on solar systems interconnected to the utility distribution system. While this guide is intended primarily for homeowners, many of the issues discussed apply to small scale installations in general and may apply to businesses considering solar.

Why Go Solar?

In 2018, Rhode Island was the 8th most expensive state for electricity in the country.  In that year, natural gas fueled over half of the electric power sector and nearly all in-state electricity generation. Solar can help reduce reliance on natural gas and cheapen the cost of electricity.

Why Work With SGE Solar

 

We have a deep commitment to developing and maintaining healthy, productive relationships and place utmost importance on customer service and satisfaction. We have a Customer Care Manager who ensures that there is clear communication through out the entire process and beyond. We know the value of happy customers, and strive for 100% satisfaction.

We also have a commitment to operating our business in a sustainable, healthy manner. We continually look to our Sustainability Initiative to inform our business decisions on potential impacts on the local, regional and global environment, people and community.

Rhode Island Solar Guide can be downloaded for free from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources website.

Benefits of going Solar:

  • Reduce or eliminate your Electric Bill
  • Earn a great return on your investment
  • Increase your property value
  • Protect against rising energy costs
  • Protect the environment

Smart Solar Incentive

The New SMART program is a new long-term, sustainable solar incentive program meant to promote cost-effective solar development. Through SMART, Massachusetts will procure Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) over as many as eight (8) consecutive “capacity blocks”of approximately 200 MW each.Qualified solar projects enrolled in the program will receive tariff-based payments for 10 or 20 years depending on project size, subject to compensation rate adders and subtractors that reflect project characteristics including project location, whether the project has battery storage capability, or will serve low-income customers. Contact SGE Solar to setup your free consultation and learn how you can benefit from the SMART Solar Program!

SMART Benefits:

  • Long-term revenue certainty for solar producers, reducing financing costs and lowering overall project costs
  • Predictable program costs
  • Incentives that decline with the cost of solar
  • Contract prices that are identical and predictable across utility service territories, regardless of varying retail prices

SGE – SunPower panels

SunPower Corp on Tuesday said some of the solar cells and panels it produces overseas will be excluded from the Trump administration’s 30 percent import tariffs, sending the company’s shares up 15 percent.

SunPower is based in San Jose, California but produces most of its solar products in Mexico and the Philippines. The company has publicly lobbied for its products to be exempt from the tariffs, arguing the funds it was spending on duties were being diverted from investments in American jobs in research and development and domestic manufacturing.

The exemption covers SunPower’s premium, high-efficiency interdigitated back contact (IBC) cells and modules, which the company argued stood apart from the cheap, commoditized imports that dominate the market and were the target of the tariffs.

“With today’s decision that SunPower’s highly differentiated IBC cells and modules are excluded from tariffs, we are able to turn the page,” SunPower Chief Executive Tom Werner said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump in January announced a 30-percent tariff on all imported solar panels, an opening salvo in an escalating global trade dispute he said was aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers and other businesses rebound from years of decline. Much of the U.S. solar industry protested the move, saying it would chill one of America’s fastest-growing sectors.

SunPower, which earlier this year agreed to buy a U.S. solar manufacturing facility in Oregon from SolarWorld Americas to expand production in its home market, said the deal would close before the end of this quarter.

SunPower said the decision by the U.S. Trade Representative to exempt some of its products from tariffs would be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

SunPower shares were up $1.01, or 15 percent, at $7.59 on the Nasdaq. SunPower is majority owned by France’s Total SA .

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Critter Guard

You made a great decision in going solar and your solar panels are an excellent investment.  In order to protect your investment, you will want to pay close attention to what may be going on under and around your solar panels.

As we enter into the summer months, we typically see an increase in bird and critter activity, especially if your home is near trees or overhead wires. Rooftop solar panels create an ideal environment for pigeons and other birds to nest and roost.  The panels provide shade from the hot sun and a sense of security from predators.  Also, squirrels can be notorious for nesting under rooftop panels and can possibly chew through exposed or hanging wires. They may use their teeth to cut power lines to and from solar panels and, if they chew the right wire, this could lead to expensive and unwanted repairs.

If you notice an increase in bird and squirrel activity around your home, it’s critical to check and make sure they’re not nesting underneath your panels.

In most cases, you won’t need Critter Guard, but if you do see squirrels or birds in or around your system and want a high strength screen around the panels then call us today at 508-377-4037 or email us at info@sgegroup.com  for a Critter Guard quote.

How Home Solar Batteries Work

Solar energy system generates electricity whenever the sun is shining, often making more than a home needs during peak seasons. That excess energy is sent to the grid, and the homeowner usually receives a credit from their utility that can offset the electricity used at night.

While the grid still plays a supporting role, more homeowners are requesting solar-plus-storage so they can have more control over their electricity use.

Solar storage batteries work by taking that excess electricity and storing it. The stored solar energy can be used to complement power from the grid at night or to power essential appliances1 during a power outage. (Check out this battery storage infographic from Sun Power Below.)

Lithium ion home storage batteries usually come in a rectangular white box that’s about 4- to 5-feet high, 6 inches to a foot deep and about 2 feet wide.  They are mounted in an out-of-the-way spot, such as a utility room or in the garage. The bigger the battery, the more power that can be stored. Any excess left over after the battery is charged flows back to the utility. See our Sonnen Battery Page for information or contact SGE to get a free no-obligation quote today!

New Homes Requiring Solar :)

There’s no question that solar power is entering the mainstream, but California is about to give it a giant boost. The state’s Energy Commission is expected to approve new energy standards that would require solar panels on the roofs of nearly all new homes, condos and apartment buildings from 2020 onward. There will be exemptions for homes that either can’t fit solar panels or would be blocked by taller buildings or trees, but you’ll otherwise have to go green if your property is brand new.

The plan doesn’t require that a home reach net-zero status (where the solar power completely offsets the energy consumed in a year). However, it does provide “compliance credits” for homebuilders who install storage batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall, letting them build smaller panel arrays knowing that excess energy will be available to use off-hours.

The new standards are poised to hike construction costs by $25,000 to $30,000 (about half of which is directly due to solar), but the self-produced energy is estimated to save owners $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology’s expected 25-year lifespan.

Short of a surprise rejection at the Energy Commission’s May 9th vote, this will make California the first state to have a solar panel requirement. It’s relatively easy to do this in the region given California’s abundance of warm, sunny days and high real estate prices — it’s hard to see this happening in the American Midwest, where winter and lower home prices could make solar decidedly less practical. Critics have complained that this could make California’s housing shortage worse by pricing people out of those homes that areavailable, and note that most people in the state only really draw on non-renewable energy when they come home from work and strain the electrical grid.

Even so, this could change the landscape for both California’s energy and the market as a whole. Right now, no more than 20 percent of new single-family homes in California include solar power. Boost that by five times and that’s a lot more business for panel makers and installers. That, in turn, could reduce the costs of panels and make solar more affordable in many places, not just in California or even the US.

Orange County Register

  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.

RI Solar Incentives

Currently, there are great Federal, State, and Utility solar incentives to help offset the cost of your system in Rhode Island. With Rhode Island being right in our backyard, we’re able to work with you closely to develop a system that matches your needs.

SGE Solar being a SunPower dealer means you’ll get the latest technology and the best warranty in the business. Don’t hesitate to get in this program before it fills up! Feel free to reach out to us anytime for questions or to schedule a free no-obligation consultation to see how much solar can save you!

RHODE ISLAND RENEWABLE ENERGY GROWTH PROGRAM

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Renewable Energy Growth Program makes it easy to be paid by National Grid for your solar generation.
  • Payments are available for 15 or 20-years for residential customers, or 20 years for non-residential customers.
  • Depending on the term, project size, and other factors, National Grid will pay from 28.55¢ to 32.25¢ per kilowatt-hour for solar generation in a Performance- Based Incentive (PBI). PBIs are set by the RI Distributed Generation Board, approved by the RI Public
    Utilities Commission and applicable from 4/1/2018 thru 3/31/2019.
  • Residential customers: The host customer will receive a bill credit for energy and the system owner will be paid the remaining PBI; the owner may be the host customer or a third-party.
  • Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and approved on a first-come, first-served basis subject to the available capacity of 6.55 MW for 2018. National Grid will accept applications until the 6.55 MW capacity is met.