Dow Chemical’s (DOW) PowerHouse Solar Shingles Debut Next Year.. A $5 Billion Product?

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10:12:52 am on October 12, 2009

Dow Chemical’s (DOW) PowerHouse solar shingles may be coming to a home near you.  The announcement of efficient, affordable, and easily-installed solar rooftop shingles has shaken the building and solar industries quite a bit, as the company itself revels in the expectation of around $5 billion in revenues by 2015 for the single product alone. Dow received a $20 million grant from the United States Department of Energy for development on the project and will deploy its shingles via select builders in 2010, with more widespread availability slated for 2011.

The solar shingles operate at lower efficiency than solar panels, but their ease of installation and greater affordability are likely to allow for a greater popularity among homeowners.  Their use in the construction of new buildings may help energy savings efforts greatly in the years to come. While Dow’s CIGS cells will be less efficient than the leading polysilicon cells, their cost-effectiveness is geared towards a wide market and will likely compete well with traditional solar panels.

One of the greatest perks the shingles are expected to deliver to homeowners is their ability to be installed in about ten hours. As the installation process accounts for a large portion of the cost of traditional BIPV systems –roughly half, in fact–, this significantly low installation period will help make the shingles more affordable for a greater variety of people and types of homes. Rather than requiring an entirely new roofing structure or design, the solar shingles will be able to integrate with the asphalt shingle pieces used on most modern homes. Unlike the process of purchasing parts for solar panels and putting a system together, the use of Dow’s solar shingles will require no special knowledge or training whatsoever, an advantage that may well lead to their use in areas that are traditionally averse to solar energy due to a lack of skilled workers or specialized equipment.

Managing Director of Dow’s Solar Solutions segment Jane Palmieri expressed quite a bit of enthusiasm over the potential for windfall profits when the shingles are made available through builders and to the public at large. As interest in the creation of green buildings grows, and many contractors look for ways to cut costs on environmental initiatives, the shingles may well prove to be one of the company’s most exciting and lucrative products in the environmental and energy initiatives sectors.

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I’ve heard a lot about the Dow Solar Shingles coming out this year 2010, but when I contact Solar pv installers they know nothing of the availability. We’re near the half-year point and yet still no availability information. Has Dow been over optimistic about the product and are having techinical difficulties and failures on their twest roofs?

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