When I started Things Are Good many years ago I also wrote a short paper on creating a company based on selling shingles for roofs that have solar panels in them. I think DOW read my paper 😉 because next year they’ll be selling solar shingles.
$20 million invested in the company from the American government may equal up to $5 billion in revenue for Dow Chemical (best known for the horrible Bhopal disaster they committed) by 2015.
The new product is the latest advance in “Building Integrated Photovoltaic” (BIPV) systems, in which power-generating systems are built directly into the traditional materials used to construct buildings.
BIPV systems are currently limited mostly to roofing tiles, which operate at lower efficiencies than solar panels and have so far been too expensive to gain wide acceptance.
Dow’s shingle will be about 30 to 40 percent cheaper than current BIPV systems.
The Dow shingles can be installed in about 10 hours, compared with 22 to 30 hours for traditional solar panels, reducing the installation costs that make up more than 50 percent of total system prices.
The product will be rolled out in North America through partnerships with home builders such as Lennar Corp (LEN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Pulte Homes Inc (PHM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) before marketing is expanded, Palmieri said.
Dow received $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to help develop its BIPV products.