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Yesterday, Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) unveiled its new line of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle. The Solar Shingle was designed to be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. Dow expects the shingle systems to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and more widely available in 2011. And although the company says the system will provide a low-cost solar option for homeowners, we have not received any specific pricing details at this time (see below).

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The POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle is made with CIGS photovoltaic cells in a proprietary shingle design.  Roofing contractors won’t need any particular knowledge of solar array installations, and installations should be quick because conventional roofing shingles and Solar Shingles can be applied at the same time.

Jane Palmieri, Managing Director of Dow Solar Solutions, described the benefits of the integrated system as follows: “Consumers reap the benefits of our innovation. This is about providing roof protection and electricity generation all from one product, with lower costs, improved aesthetics, easier installation and long-lasting performance.”

In conjunction with the announcement, Reuters reported that the CIGS cells used by Dow “operate at higher than 10 percent efficiency, below the efficiencies for the top polysilicon cells — but would cost 10 to 15 percent less on a per watt basis.”  This, in turn, should make the Solar Shingle about 30-40% cheaper than other BIPV systems.

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Photo credits: Dow Chemical Company.