Dow Chemical has announced that Midland, Michigan, will be the site for the first full-scale production facility for its Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle, subject to finalizing local, state and federal funding.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is considering up to US$140 million in economic incentives for the plant. Local, state, and federal funding will also go toward accelerating production plans for the solar shingles already being manufactured in a small-scale market development plant at Dow’s Michigan operations in Midland.
The MEDC economic package will add to the US$100 million in investments Dow has already made in the development of solar solutions since the program’s foundation in 2007, when Dow was awarded a US$20 million Solar America Initiative Pathways Program grant by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Dow welcomes the opportunity to work with the City of Midland, the State of Michigan and Governor Granholm to secure support for renewable energy technologies, like the Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle,” said Andrew Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO. “Collaboration between government and business is essential to overcoming the challenges facing our society today, including energy, climate change and the creation of sustainable jobs. As the leader in applied chemistry, Dow is well positioned to address the technical challenges of bringing affordable, renewable energy solutions to the market and to be a leader in ushering America into the new clean-energy future.”
“At Dow, innovation is about our ability to apply materials science to address a challenge like the need for affordable, renewable energy sources,” said Jane Palmieri, general manager of Dow Solar Solutions. “Being able to work with the State of Michigan and other funding sources to accelerate the commercialization of groundbreaking technologies like Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle allows consumers and the marketplace to have quicker access to energy saving technologies, which is a win for everyone.”
If the plant goes ahead as planned, approximately 1200 jobs to support the increased solar shingle production will be available in the manufacturing, commercial, and technical areas, with staffing anticipated to begin in late 2010.
Dow’s Solar Shingles, which features integrated copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide (CIGS) thin-film cells, are expected to be available in limited amounts by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011 as production scale-up begins, putting the power of solar electricity generation directly and conveniently in the hands of homeowners.