Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles - with photovoltaic (PV) solar power cells combined with a flexible roof shingle - continue their slow commercial roll-out in the United States.
To be more precise, three states. The shingles are still only available in California, Colorado, and Texas.
Imagine Homes, a homebuilder specializing in green building technology, will begin offering Dow's solar shingle roof system to all new homebuyers in its six San Antonio, TX area residential communities. The shingles will be a standard feature on all homes in the builder's Willis Ranch community, opening in September 2012.
The solar roof shingle is designed to be installed by a roofer along with standard asphalt roofing materials, then connected to a home inverter system by an electrician.
The solar shingle uses thin-film copper indium gallium deselenide (CIGS) as the PV material. The PV material is supplied by Global Solar Energy of Tucson, AZ. CIGS was chosen for its balance of sunlight conversion efficiency and lower cost, as well as the flexibility of the foil substrate.
The solar shingle was developed by Dow as the result of a 2007 grant of $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the DOE Solar America Initiative to develop "building integrated" solar arrays for residential and commercial markets.
Dow's solar shingle was unveiled in limited production form in October 2009. It received much interest from the media, and was named one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2009 by TIME magazine. The product received UL approval in 2010 and it was launched commercially, still in very limited quantities, in October 2011.
Dow's initial production is in a small-scale manufacturing facility near its headquarters in Midland, MI, but it has a large-scale manufacturing facility under construction. The new large-scale manufacturing plant is expected to create up to 1275 jobs by 2015.
Dow sells the shingles with a 20-year warranty. It has seven performance and safety certifications, including UL listing and International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) certification, and Dow has tested the product to withstand rain, hail, and wind uplift.
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