The CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, and selenide) thin-film solar roofing shingles are the same size as regular asphalt composite shingles and are designed to be used in place of typical asphalt shingles. They come with an inverter for converting the DC current they produce to AC so the energy produced can be used in the home. You also get a home energy monitor that tracks in real time the amount of electricity the Powerhouse roof shingles are producing. Dow claims easy installation and durability, the plug in modular system allows for easy electrical connection, and Dow says that the shingles can be walked on or tossed around with no damage to the photovoltaic portion of the shingle. You can even drop a Powerhouse shingle off of a two story roof without damaging it, according to the company. They come with a 20 year warranty and are made in the USA (at a plant in Midland, Michigan).
Unfortunately, Dow hasn’t yet announced pricing, although Dow Solar Vice President Jane Palmieri earlier said that their Dow Powerhouse solar shingle systems will cost some 15% less than a conventional solar panel system. Palmieri has also said that their system will recoup installation in the “first part of its intended life,” and that their complete solar roof system will have a “lower net cost over its lifetime than a conventional roof and grid-supplied electricity.” Dow is targeting these for both new houses and homeowners who want or need to redo their current roofs.
Starting this month, Dow’s Powerhouse shingles will be available in Colorado. Colorado was picked first because of state available financial incentives. And shortly after the New Year, Dow will roll out the shingles to other states such as California and Texas. While the company isn’t saying specifically which markets are being looked at for expansion, it’s most likely that the northeast and the sunbelt states will see the shingles sometime in 2012.