Dow Solar, a division of The Dow Chemical Company, released its POWERHOUSETM Solar Shingle to the market last Thursday in Colorado. This release in Colorado is part of a partnership with D.R. Horton Inc, the largest homebuilder in the U.S., which announced its commitment to offer Dow's solar shingles as a standard feature on fifty new homes in the Spring Mesa Community in Colorado, and to offer each of the remaining homes in the community a three-kilowatt solar shingle roof. Dow is planning to expand to twelve other states over 2012 with homebuilders throughout the nation.
Dow's solar shingles combine the performance and protection of a conventional asphalt roof with a photovoltaic system. Each shingle is combined with a solar cell. Solar shingle roofs are designed to overcome aesthetic obstacles to the installation of solar panels, which, along with cost, is one of major deterrents for solar panel installations.
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The release in Colorado is a factor of the economic incentives for and market receptivity toward solar energy of the state. With incentives, the shingles are estimated to cost between $10,000 and $15,000. They function like an asphalt roof, and are designed to withstand weather and weight. Solar shingles come in a three-part roofing package that includes an array of shingles, an inverter and an energy monitoring system.
Dow is currently manufacturing its shingles in a small-scale facility in Midland, Michigan, but is constructing a new, large-scale facility, also in Midland, which will have the capacity to produce 40,000 to 50,000 shingles per year when finished.
Dow will bring the shingles to the market with two service programs: a service to production homebuilders, utilities and developers for new homes and a service to address reroofing through an authorized dealer network of professional roofing contractors.
Whether these shingles hit the international markets or not will depend on how the American market responds to them, but Dow is very hopeful that this will happen within the next five years.