Solar Battery Storage

Why install a solar battery? Batteries allow you to store solar energy and reduce your dependence on the grid. In turn, you use more solar power and fewer fossil fuels! How do solar batteries work? Most solar panel systems are connected to the grid and still rely on grid energy when they are producing below […]

All About Inverters

Definitions Before we dive into all the inverter details, here is a little refresher on how solar panels work. To generate electricity, sunlight shines on a panel and this panel converts the solar energy into DC current. This current flows to the inverter where the it converts DC current to AC current. Your home uses […]

The Future of Solar Power is Bright

Adapting Oil and Gas Companies

Many recent studies and reports have pointed to the continued rise in popularity in the future of solar power. A report called Energy Goes Green interviewed 100 CFOs of oil and gas companies and found that 38% of these CFOs believe that solar power will be the leading alternative energy source by 2023. The report demonstrated that these CFOs recognize solar energy as an important opportunity for their business. Solar is not only cheaper than traditional oil or gas, but it is also easier to generate solar energy once the infrastructure is built. Additionally, because of increased demand and better technology, the cost of installing solar power systems has decreased. For these reasons, many of these energy companies plan on implementing solar power as a part of their business.

However, these companies aren’t planning to switch to 100% renewables anytime soon. They face many roadblocks. For example building new infrastructure is expensive. Also, there are currently high tariffs on imported materials used to build solar panels. But, these CFOs do recognize that consumer demand and new technology will continue to lower the cost of solar energy, and they are willing to adapt to renewable energy sources as long as they stay in demand and the prices stay low. This is a big step, considering that these companies are currently 100% focused on fossil fuels.

Energy Consumption Mix

More evidence of the future of energy prices is outlined by a study reported in the Joule Journal. This study found that increasing the US energy bundle to 90% renewables by 2050 would be cheaper than keeping energy consumption as it is. Currently, the average cost of electricity in the US is 13 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate is even higher in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (21 cents and 18.6 cents respectively). The new energy bundle that is 90% renewable would cost about 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Current Energy Demand

Currently, the demand for renewable energy is continuing to grow as fossil fuel consumption falls in the United States. According to the latest EIA report, this April renewable energy provided 25.7% of the total electricity produced in the US. As of this April, fossil fuels contributed a smaller percentage of total electricity than renewable energy, contributing only 22% compared to 25.7% from renewables.

So, the future is bright for solar! Evidence shows that renewable energy consumption is rising, and prices are falling as compared to fossil-fueled powered energy. Even large oil and gas companies recognize this trend as a business opportunity. So, now is a great time to make the investment in solar panels to continue the energy transition!


Rhode Island Renews Funding for Solar Farms on Brownfields

Good News For Rhode Island Solar! 

This week has brought some good news for Rhode Island solar: The Rhode Island Commerce’s Renewable Energy Fund has renewed its funding incentives for solar projects on brownfields. Brownfields are contaminated or polluted sites. They are often old industrial parks or commercial areas. This incentive funds solar developers and encourages them to build solar farms on brownfields. The state allocated another $1 million to the initiative because it saw so much success in 2019 and 2020.

It can take a lot of time and resources to decontaminate a brownfield and make it safe enough to be redeveloped. So, turning brownfields into solar farms is a safe and effective use of this contaminated land. Additionally, since Rhode Island is such a small state, using brownfields are a perfect way to install more solar power without cutting down trees or damaging any other environments. This initiative will help Rhode Island reach its goal of reaching net zero by 2050!


How Does Warm Weather Affect Solar Panels?

As the weather heats up, here are some things to keep in mind about your solar panels.

Many customers worry about their panels losing efficiency in the heat. While it is true that heat affects solar panels, they don’t tend to lose efficiency until it gets above 77 °F. Solar panels have a temperature coefficient, which tells you how much efficiency decreases due to a one degree increase in temperature from the optimum temperature (77 °F). These coefficients tend to be small. For example, the coefficient of SunPower solar panels, which we often use at SGE, is -0.29%. This means that at 80 degrees, the efficiency of the solar panel only decreases by a little under 1%.

Additionally, solar panels actually keep roofs cooler. They absorb heat from the air and can make a roof up to 5 degrees cooler. The maximum temperature that many solar panels can withstand is 185°F, so there is no need to worry about them even on an extremely hot day.

At SGE, when we install solar panels, we leave some space between the panels and the roof. This allows for some airflow and keeps the panels cooler to decrease inefficiency. 

So, as long as you don’t touch solar panels on a hot day (they are very hot to the touch), there is no need to worry about your panels as summer approaches. In fact, you might even find your house and roof to be a bit cooler because of them!

Why you should make the investment in solar today

Massachusetts and Rhode Island currently hosts a variety of solar incentives for homeowners to reduce the cost of buying and installing your own solar panels. These include:

  • Net metering: which gives energy credits back to homeowners when their solar systems are producing more energy than they use in a given day. For example, solar panels often produce the most electricity in the afternoon when energy consumption is low, so net metering allows utility companies to use this energy while it is being produced, then give customers an energy credit back at the going rate that they can use while their panels are not producing. It’s essentially using the grid as a battery. 
  • SMART Solar Incentive (Massachusetts): The SMART program pays customers back a fixed rate per kilowatt hour.
  • Growth Solar Incentive (Rhode Island): The Growth (REG) Program pays customers a fixed rate at 29.6 per kWh for 15 years!
  • 26% Tax Credit: The ITC Federal tax credit was extended (two-years). The ITC for solar customers was originally scheduled to drop from 26% in 2020 to 22% in 2021 and then phase out all together after 2022. But with the recent extension, you can get a full 26% rebate back on the total cost of the system! Make sure to start the process before time runs out and schedule gets full.

Here’s other reasons to go solar for your home:

  • Drastically reduce or even eliminate your electric bills
  • Earn a great return on your investment
  • Protect against rising energy costs
  • Increase your property value
  • Boost U.S. energy independence
  • Create jobs and help your local economy
  • Protect the environment

Federal Tax Credit for 2020 and 2021

Did you know the Federal Investment Tax Credit is Phasing out! This is the most significant financial benefit for going solar. As a turn-key installer, Second Generation Energy will manage the process of getting your solar system installed so you can take full advantage of the 26% Federal Tax Credit WHILE YOU CAN.

Schedule your no cost consultation to see how much you can save by emailing or calling 508-377-4037.

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on it’s value.

Here’s other reasons to go solar for your home:

  • Drastically reduce or even eliminate your electric bills
  • Earn a great return on your investment
  • Protect against rising energy costs
  • Increase your property value
  • Boost U.S. energy independence
  • Create jobs and help your local economy
  • Protect the environment

Snow and Your Solar Panels

We are looking forward to some good old fashioned snow BUT…we wanted to post a quick reminder about snow and your solar system.

  • Snow can pile up and then slide forcefully off of your modules
  • Refrain from parking under panels that are likely to dump snow
  • Don’t play under panels that have snow which can slide

We advise against getting up on your roof to remove snow off your panels. The panels gather enough sun to eventually melt the snow, which will slide off the glass surface. Using a rake or shovel up on the roof could harm the panels. Please remember the panel warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by the homeowner. Plus, getting on a snowy roof would risk you getting hurt, which nobody wants!

Snow Guards

SnowGuards snow management systems are important for any low-friction, sloped roof. Snow and ice can avalanche off a low-friction, sloped roof and pose a hazard to people and property below.

Our SnowGuards products hold the snow and ice in position on the roof, allowing it to melt and shed gradually, instead of all at once.

Contact us today for a quote!

Solar Panel History Part 2

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.

The second section of Solar Panel History brings us from about 75 years ago to today! Jumping to the 1950s, Silicon solar cells began to be produced commercially for the first time after the Bell Laboratories discovered that semiconducting materials like silicon were more efficient at conducting electricity from solar energy than selenium, which had  been used since the 1870s. D.M. Chapin, C.S. Fuller, and G.L Pearson were behind this. Solar efficiency jumped to 6 percent, a huge leap for that age, though still in practice for most people to purchase due to their high manufacturing cost. The first building the integrated solar panels into the rooftop to generate energy for its use was “Solar One” in 1973.

Figure 1″Solar Converting Apparatus”, February 5, 1957 (

Around this time the energy crisis in the US began to emerge, and the US government began funding more heavily into renewable energy. Congress passed the Solar Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1974 to “to make solar viable and affordable and market it to the public.” After people saw Solar One, they became inspired to get solar energy onto their rooftops too and produce it for their home. Though there was a short drop in solar sales due to a declining energy market in the 1980s, overall during the next decades, the federal government became more involved with solar energy research and development. It began creating grants and tax incentives for to help Americans afford to go solar. In 2006, the Solar Investment Tax Credit helped solar become even more affordable, making installation costs falling 70 percent in the last decade. Solar growth had been increasing at a rate of 50 percent in the last decade, the largest increase ever.

Figure 2″Photovoltaic Roof Tile” patented June 26, 2018, by SolarCity Corporation (

Over time solar energy is becoming more common on the energy marketplace and more affordable. Another major change that we see today in panel design has to do with aesthetics and smaller improvements in efficiency and cost. To increase purchases of solar panels for more Americans, panel aesthetics have been improving, making them less noticeable from afar and more “sleek”. For example, through the construction of building-applied photovoltaic, a type of discrete solar cell integrated into existing roof tiles or ceramic and glass sides of buildings. Influential companies like Guardian Industries Corporation, United Solar Systems, and Tesla have been integrating solar panels into their equipment that are both efficient and aesthetically pleasing. More Americans are getting solar today, which is why we are here to help you with the entire installation process from beginning to end, and be there to help post-installation. It is true that solar energy has come a long way in the past 181 years.



Solar Panel History Part 1

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.

It is fun to find snippets of history that changed the course of solar panel development. The first part of solar panel history takes us from 181 to about 100 years ago. The first discovery of the photovoltaic effect was made in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel in France. August Mouchet, an inspired mathematician, began registering patents for solar-powered engines in the 1860s. This is during the industrial revolution, when many other useful inventions were being created around the world.

Figure 1 First solar panels invented by Charles Fitts on a New York City rooftop in 1884 (

In 1883 a New York inventor Charles Fritts created the first solar cell that had an efficiency rate of 1 to 2 percent, less than a tenth of the efficiency of solar panels today. However, this was a start. US patents for solar began being registered as early as 1888 in the by Edward Weston.  Weston noticed that the heat given off from the sun’s energy (we know the sun is hot when we sweat in the sunshine) could be used to release elections from a thermopile, or bars of dissimilar metals. These electrons, being released, created a flow, which is electricity. This is the reverse process of the way that light bulbs work, which generate light from heat that is first created by electricity. More discoveries about how the photovoltaic effect works were made around the world during the late 19th century. Mounting them in a way so that the panels could follow the sun was a product of the American inventor Melvin Severy in 1889. This reduced the need for human to move panels throughout the day to follow the sun.

Figure 2 A drawing from Melvin L. Severry’s: “Apparatus for Mounting and Operating Thermopiles”,  October 9, 1894 (

In the 1890s, Harry Reagan, another American inventor, created the first patent for thermal batteries, which store and release thermal energy from solar panels that was not being used immediately. These batteries however stored heat, not electricity. In 1913, William Coblentz from Washington D.C., introduced the “thermal generator”, which converted electrical energy into mechanical energy.  His invention was cheaper and stronger than those proceeding his, making them more accessible for others to purchase and improve upon. You can find more detail on this topic at the Smithsonian Magazine (, and other historical references articles.