Dow Chemical unveils new BIPV solution

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In the move toward the widespread uptake of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), Dow Chemical has unveiled the Dow Powerhouse solar shingle. The BIPV technology incorporates solar panel capability in the form of a building material.

Dow Solar Solutions (DSS) integrates low-cost, thin-film CIGS PV cells into a proprietary roofing shingle design, which represents a multifunctional solar energy generating roofing product. The product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors.

“This is just one example of how Dow’s US$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/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.”

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said, “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 DSS, 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.

Back in 2007, DSS received US$20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop BIPV solar arrays for the residential and commercial markets. The Powerhouse solar shingle is the latest development to come out of this initiative.

The solar shingle systems are expected to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011.

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