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Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas

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April 25, 2012

Dow Solar is rolling out its new POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles in northern California and cent...

Dow Solar is rolling out its new POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles in northern California and central Texas

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Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it ... why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas.

“The DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle utilizes CIGS-based (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) thin-film photovoltaic cells, which have the highest efficiency of available thin-film technologies,” a representative for Dow told us. “This technology has enabled Dow’s breakthrough of a lightweight, durable residential solar application that installs like typical roofing materials. CIGS was also selected because it has a unique ability to perform well in non-standard conditions such as dappled shading, cloudy and diffused light.”

Unlike the adobe-inspired curved Solé Power Tiles we’ve covered previously, the POWERHOUSE shingles are completely flat, so they can be worked into existing flat-shingled roofs. This means that as few or as many of the Solar Shingles can be used as desired – the whole roof doesn’t have to be covered with them. Each shingle measures 10 x 22.8 x 0.5 inches (25.4 x 57.9 x 1.27 cm), and can be installed by authorized roofers.

DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles are installed like regular asphalt shingles, by authorized r...

The POWERHOUSE system includes an inverter, the converts the DC current from the shingles into AC that can be utilized in the home. It also incorporates a monitoring system that provides real-time energy production and consumptions figures, via an internet connection. Additionally, Dow can remotely monitor any of the systems itself, to ensure that they’re operating properly. Although exact performance figures aren’t given, the company claims that installations typically offset home electricity bills by 40 to 60%.

Currently the product is being rolled out via two authorized dealers in northern California and three in central Texas – three dealers and a builder in Colorado already carry the shingles. While pricing information isn’t available at this time, Dow claims that the cost of an installation should be recovered within the first half of its intended life. The shingles carry a 20-year warranty.

Source: Dow Solar

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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11 Comments

“The DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle utilizes CIGS-based (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) thin-film photovoltaic cells, which have the highest efficiency of available thin-film technologies,” a representative for Dow told us. “This technology has enabled Dow’s breakthrough of a lightweight, durable residential solar application that installs like typical roofing materials. CIGS was also selected because it has a unique ability to perform well in non-standard conditions such as dappled shading, cloudy and diffused light.” --- One would ask what they have done about the problem of the access heat that occurs as soon as the cells go into optimal production as the sun's blaze will heat up the roof for sure. Do they have a cooling mechanism to keep them nice and cold ? If not why not ? can the access heat not be used to pre-heat the water ? Highest efficiency thin film is what, a typical 12% ? If you want solar go for the regular poly or mono panels and then keep a space on your roof for solar hot water generation...

Dany Ehrenbrink
26th April, 2012 @ 06:12 am PDT

Seems like I've been reading about this for decades.

IggyDalrymple
26th April, 2012 @ 09:16 am PDT

Even if it is DOW, it seems like a good idea ... so is Dany's ... and why not use the hot water as part of a heat sink to circulate through a stone mass or floor to provide radiant heat for the home interior while we're at it ... put a real dent in utility monopoly!

Jansen Estrup
26th April, 2012 @ 09:59 am PDT

Yes, it's not a new idea. I wonder how these things would stand up to the hail storms we in TX get every other spring or so.

Clay Jones
26th April, 2012 @ 10:02 am PDT

@Dany: having done roof work, I know that a typical dark shingle (or roof) gets BLAZING hot already in the full sun. With bare hands, you'd get a first or second degree burn in the mid-afternoon. Roofs are required to have ridge vents or powered exhausts already, which work in conjunction with your eave vents to creat a cooling air draw through the attic space. What I see here does not seem to increase the heat into the attic any more than traditional dark shingle material.

Let me know if you read different...

Cheers,

Doc

Matt Rings
26th April, 2012 @ 10:09 am PDT

It sounds like they use a single inverter instead of microinverters. That would not appeal to me.

morriss003
26th April, 2012 @ 10:29 am PDT

great combo!

Misha Ioffe
26th April, 2012 @ 11:52 am PDT

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER - NASDAQ) has had these for years. They own the patent on NmH battery, among a bazillion other patents. They had a contract with, I think, Johns Manville, to produce just this very product. Where was your news release then? It had to have been 4 or 5 years ago. Still a great product. Too bad the company got leap-frogged on several things. They had (patented) a flexible, moldable flash drive material that could have made the case, or other parts, of any device, a memory drive. Your garage roof could be a solar-powered (massive) storage device. Anyway, it's old news...

jailerjay
26th April, 2012 @ 05:31 pm PDT

@Matt Riggs.

Where I live we have 3 months of harsh summer and temperatures going up to 47 / 48 Ceslius. We basically have multi storey (Bricks and Mortar + RCC ) buildings. People living on the top floor are the worst affected. We use a simple solution to reduce the effect. We use white glazed ceramic tile chips to cover the roof. Prevents water leakage in monsoon and reflects most of the sun light and HEAT.

pmshah
26th April, 2012 @ 10:50 pm PDT

I wonder how much more useful energy could be generated if a layer of thermocouples were to be sandwiched between these and coils for a solar water heater, especially down here in southern Louisiana. I've been up on a dark-colored roof in the summer, and you can't even touch the shingles with bare skin without getting burned.

Forward Thinker
27th April, 2012 @ 11:01 am PDT

Readers' ideas combining water-heating/PVC/heat sink mass and microinverters coupled to a smart grid would get my vote. In any case, it's insanity not to have these or something similar on nearly every roof surface in the U.S. BTW, jailerjay, ENER filed for Chapter 11 in February. Crazy stupid waste. Something rotten there.

Enobie
4th May, 2012 @ 02:00 pm PDT
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