Product Briefing Outline: Dow Chemical has unveiled the Dow Powerhouse solar shingle. This 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.
Problem: Many PV manufacturers have to overcome the issue of installation cost and acceptance when developing a new innovative product, for it to be a success; these issues need to be removed. Another issue that has recently arisen with BIPV is the aesthetics, as some countries in Europe, such as France and Italy are increasing tariffs to encourage aesthetically pleasing BIPV.
Solution: The product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously by roofing contractors. It provides roof protection and electricity generation, with lower costs, improved aesthetics through its shingle design, easier installation and long-lasting performance.
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.
Applications: Rooftop BIPV
Availability: The solar shingle systems are expected to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely available in 2011.