Construction is underway in Midland, MI, U.S. on a plant to produce Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles. The Solar Shingle is a new type of solar solution for homeowners, designed as a roofing product that protects a home while producing clean power from built-in solar cells.
Dow designed the product with the intent of providing a solar energy in a format that did not use large panels added to the roof of the home. The shingles are designed to blend with the existing roof. This Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) product, is engineered to be tough, flexible, and thin enough to serve as a roof shingle. The shingles can be installed by a roofing contractor, with a an integrated electrical connection system in the shingles intended to eliminate complicated on-roof wiring and require fewer holes drilled into the roof of the home.
Dow Chemical Company describes the new plant as a large-scale manufacturing facility, expected to begin production in late 2012, and is the first step in a production ramp-up expected to reach 220 MW of annual solar shingle capacity by 2015. It is also expected to create 1,275 direct jobs by 2015. Until the new facility is operational, initial quantities of Solar Shingles are being manufactured at an existing pilot plant in Midland and will be used to support product commercialization launch, scheduled for 4Q 2011 in targeted U.S. markets.
Earl Shipp, Dow vice president for Michigan Operations, said the new plant will create advanced manufacturing jobs, helping to make Michigan a green tech hub of the new U.S. economy.
Initial job creation associated with the facility will include full time positions in support of manufacturing scale-up, and will involve parts fabrication, assembly and packaging. The first wave of jobs was announced in September 2010, with the majority of these positions having already been filled to support the small-scale production needed for the late 2011 commercialization launch. The project will also create up to 300 full time construction-related jobs in the coming months.
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