Dow Chemical Company's POWERHOUSE™ solar shingles being installed. Image credit:Jetson Green blog
Several companies offer building integrated solar-photovoltaic (BIPV) products; but, to be honest, most of them look contrived to me. These new Dow Powerhouse™ solar shingles seem much closer to the design heritage of traditional asphalt based roofing. Adequately matching the preceding aesthetic is key because it ensures the product will not off-put tradition-bound customers or conflict with homeowner association appearance standards.
Also, some of the early BIPV products strayed far from established construction contractor protocols, calling for new installation skills. Adding contractors means added time, greater cost, and increased risk of error. These new shingles by Dow, debuted this week, seem like they would go on with common materials, equipment and skills. (Statement needs corroboration. You can see the embossed nailing instructions on the photo.) Tech specs are discussed below.
From Dow promo materials:-
Dow Chemical Company's POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle delivers true building-integrated aesthetics by integrating PV functionality into an asphalt roof-shingle form factor. It utilizes high-efficiency, CIGS-based, PV cells manufactured on a flexible substrate. These cells are laminated and subsequently over-molded into the final shingle design using conventional materials and polymer processing methods. Dow's groundbreaking technology integrates low-cost thin-film photovoltaic cells into a roofing shingle design, which represents a multi-functional solar module. The innovative product design reduces installation costs because the conventional roofing shingles and solar generating shingles are installed simultaneously.Jetson Green , citing a Reuters news service story, resports that overall efficiency is around 10%, and that the product may be significantly cheaper than existing BIPV's.
We have no data on how these shingles would hold up under the force of tropical storm winds or a tornado. They have got to be at least as secure, if not moreso, than a non-integrated solar panel. Considering the vulnerability of homeowners when a storm or flood takes down the power grid, this design could be the basis for affordable, distributed emergency backup systems. For further discussion of this concept see: Solar Strategies for Hurricane Survival
Other potential pluses.
- Dow is a large USA headquartered company, which implies green jobs going up a US-based supply chain;
- they supply other renewable energy product markets, which increases the likelihood of growing the business, keeping the portfolio full;
- Dow has a commitment to sustainable development and backs it up with management systems which promote safety, health, environment quality and energy efficiency;
- they're located in Michigan, which desperately needs all the forward looking innovation growth its industry can muster.
See Jetson Green for more photos.
More BIPV posts.
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Battleground Earth Sneak Peek: Tommy Lee and Ludacris Go Solar
Tesco Does Biggest Solar Roof & Carbon Labelling
Intel Capital Continues Renewable Energy Expansion