After encouraging trials with roofing contractors in Texas, California and Colarado, Dow Chemical’s building integrated solar PV is hitting the market.
Dow’s Powerhouse Shingle integrates thin-film CIGS photovoltaic cells right into standard asphalt shingles. Roofing contractors install the shingles with no specialized skills or knowledge of solar installation required.
The product design is said to reduce installation costs because conventional roofing shingles and solar-generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors.
“We’re expanding availability in strategically chosen markets where there is strong interest, where electricity costs are high, and where the market is already supporting solar through legislation and incentives,” says Mauro Gregorio, president, Dow Energy Solutions. “These markets have motivated homeowners who are interested in finding ways to bring down their energy costs. In this case, we’re providing a novel solution using an untapped part of the home – a roof – for energy innovation.”
The product is now available in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Louisiana and Michigan.
Homeowners can’t buy the shingles on their own. Professional roofing contractors are authorized by Dow to sell and install the shingles. The only add-on required is a DC-to-AC inverter which feeds power into the home or back to the electric grid.
In 2007, Dow received $20 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to fund innovations in building integrated solar PV (BIPV) for residential and commercial markets.
The market for BIPV is forecast to grow dramatically over the next five years, to 4.6 gigawatts in new capacity. Much of that growth will be in Europe, and DOE’s SunShot Initiative has invested $145 million in the technology.
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