Midland, MI - January 19, 2010
Solar energy takes a major step toward mainstream adoption with a breakthrough from Dow Solar Solutions on display at the International Builders' Show (IBS) January 19 – 22 in Las Vegas.
Expected to be widely available in 2011, the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle installs and performs like a standard asphalt shingle while harnessing the power of the sun to offset a portion of a home's energy usage. It was named one of the "50 Best Inventions of 2009" by Time magazine.
"This is one-of-a-kind technology that helps remove the obstacles to widespread adoption of solar roofing," says Jane Palmieri, managing director, Dow Solar Solutions. The system intentionally mimics asphalt shingles in appearance, form and function, making it compatible with the vast majority of new and existing residential rooftops.
"The DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Single can be handled and nailed just like asphalt shingles. There's no on-roof wiring, minimal through-roof penetrations and no need for an electrician to be present during the installation of the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle. A qualified builder or roofing contractor can do the install, and the electrical connections can be made later."
From a consumer standpoint, Palmieri says one of the biggest benefits of the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle system is its integrated aesthetics. DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are installed flat against the roof deck – unlike traditional frame-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels which are installed above the deck.
"They are the first-ever mass-market building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) shingles that seamlessly blend with residential asphalt rooftops while also providing the roof protection of the asphalt shingles that they replace."
Other residential BIPV products currently exist, but they are not compatible with asphalt shingles and can only be utilized on homes that have upgraded to more expensive roofing tiles or slates. DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are cost competitive with frame-mounted panels on asphalt rooftops, and offer significant system savings over integrated PV panels used on tile or slate roofs.
How do they work?
While the majority of solar technology today is built around silicon-based solar cells, Dow's technology uses a much more cost-effective and durable PV material called CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide). It's a new technology that is making rapid gains in energy efficiency while enabling solar power generation from thinner, more flexible materials.
For the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle, CIGS-based PV cells are incorporated into the product by over-molding them with a proprietary Dow polymer formulation, resulting in a unique product design that has similar reveal, weight, and installation practices as an asphalt shingle and also generates electricity. Electrical circuitry is integrated into each shingle and the shingles are connected by wireless plug-style connectors.
"The beauty of the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle system is that it can be installed in about half the time it takes to install traditional solar panels," remarked David Parrillo, senior R&D director for Dow Solar Solutions. "The fact that no electrical tradesmen are needed during the roof installation is another significant advantage to contractors."
"The design of the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle system lowers both fabrication and installation costs because one shingle serves two functions. In addition to generating energy, DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles do what asphalt shingles do best: provide excellent protection from snow, rain and other weather elements," says Parrillo.
Bringing down the cost of solar power is a priority of the Solar America Initiative (SAI). Dow Solar Solutions is a key SAI team member and has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the initiative.
The DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle is the latest in a series of investments Dow has made to build upon its leadership position within the building and construction industry. Dow supplies a wide range of systems and solutions designed to help improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of buildings. This innovative technology also expands the ability for solar energy to be incorporated beyond roofing systems into applications such as exterior sidings, fascias and more.
In 2007, Dow received $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop “building integrated” solar arrays for the residential and commercial markets. Dow Solar Solutions (DSS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company is focused on developing the next generation of solar energy and expanding Dow’s commitment to use chemistry to solve the world’s energy challenges. DSS recently unveiled its POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle, revolutionary thin film CIGS photovoltaic solar shingles that can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. The innovative CIGS solar cells and proprietary product design provides an unprecedented integrated aesthetic at lower installed cost because the conventional roofing shingles and the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors. BIPV products from Dow Solar Solutions are evidence that Dow is accelerating the development of energy alternatives by investing in the development of materials, technologies and business strategies that enable new breakthrough solutions. More information about Dow Solar Solutions can be found at http://www.dowsolarsolutions.com/.
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Gibbs & Soell Public Relations