Dow Chemical Company introduced its line of Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle, these new photovoltaic solar panels look like shingles and can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. The shingle will use thin-film cells of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), and according to Reuters the cells will operate at an efficiency higher than 10 percent. The solar shingles are expected to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011. The pricing is unknown, but according to Dow the solar shingles will be 30-40 percent cheaper than current Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems, in which the solar cells are built directly into the traditional materials used to construct buildings.
Groundbreaking technology from Dow Solar Solutions (DSS) integrates low-cost, thin-film CIGS photovoltaic cells into a proprietary roofing shingle design, which represents a multi-functional solar energy generating roofing product. The innovative product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors. DSS expects an enthusiastic response from roofing contractors since no specialized skills or knowledge of solar array installations are required.
"This is just one example of how Dow's $1.5 billion annual R&D investment is allowing us to deliver practical solutions for some of the world's most critical challenges," said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew N. Liveris. "These types of innovative products not only showcase our deep scientific and technical expertise but also demonstrate how our commitment to R&D is fueling Dow's future growth agenda around the world."
DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle arrays are being showcased today at an event at Dow's Michigan Operations in the Company's headquarters city of Midland, Michigan.
"Making Michigan a leader in manufacturing green energy products continues to be a key part of our economic plan to grow the economy and create jobs," said Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. "Dow's solar shingles are another example of local research and development helping grow our green economy, and I applaud Dow's ongoing commitment to developing green energy solutions right here in Michigan."
Jane Palmieri, Managing Director of Dow Solar Solutions, noted that Dow's technology addresses two of the biggest challenges associated with solar power – cost and acceptance. "Consumers reap the benefits of our innovation. This is about providing roof protection and electricity generation all from one product, with lower costs, improved aesthetics, easier installation and long-lasting performance," she said.