Coming soon to a residential roof near you is the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle system. Dow Chemical Company plans to have these shingles on the market in 2011.
According to Consumers Reports, installing 200-400 shingles could cut a homeowner's energy costs by 40-60%. That amount of shingles comes with a price tag of $25,000. Federal, state, and local tax incentives may reduce the cost.
The solar shingles are similar in size to a regular asphalt shingle. Roofers can snap the solar shingles together and then nail them in place just like an asphalt shingle. There are no complicated connectors. The solar shingles collect and use solar power to create DC current that is carried to an inverter box that converts the DC to AC current used to power the electrical devices in the home. Installation can be completed by a roofer and an electrician.
Dow began hiring in mid-September to "support the development of its revolutionary DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles at its facility in Midland, Michigan." Things are on track for a roll-out next year.
If you would like an advance look at these unique and promising energy savers, check out the Net Zero Home website. This home was constructed as a joint project between Cobblestone Homes, Dow Chemical Company and other providers. There is a virtual tour at the website. You "move" through each room and click on the "i" to learn details about insulation, adhesives, faucets, cabinets, solar water heater, geothermal water furnace, air ventilation system, dual-flush toilet, carpeting, and a "GreenSwitch" that reduces the phantom electrical load.
Although the upfront cost of the solar shingles is steep, you can expect the cost to decrease over time. If you need to replace a roof, or if you are planning new construction, it is a good idea to ask about the solar shingles for your home.
The Dow Chemical Company headquarters is located at 2030 Dow Center in Midland. Dow operates in several business sectors including building construction and maintenance, electronics and entertainment, food, furniture and furnishings, health and medical, home care and improvement, household and personal care, paper and publishing, transportation, and water.
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