Dow Chemical unveiled the Dow Powerhouse solar shingle to a very receptive market. This BIPV technology incorporates solar panel capability in the form of a building material as it looks almost exactly like a roof tile. Dow Solar Solutions (DSS) integrates low-cost, thin-film CIGS PV cells into a proprietary roofing shingle design, which represents a multifunctional solar energy generating roofing product. The product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors.
The fact that DCC's solar shingles are installed at the same time as the non-generating tiles means that the cost of installation is brought down. This BIPV innovation entered a market that had limited aesthetic options, and with new feed-in tariffs focusing on the visual appeal of PV integration, it was more important than ever for Dow to come up with a solution that ticked all the relevant boxes. The solar shingle also provides roof protection alongside electricity generation, with lower costs, improved aesthetics through its shingle design, easier installation and long-lasting performance.
Back in 2007, DSS received US$20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop BIPV solar arrays for the residential and commercial markets. The Powerhouse solar shingle is the latest development to come out of this initiative.
The solar shingle systems are expected to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011.