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Dow Solar Shingles

Dow Cuts Solar Shingle Line, Notifies Builders

Dow Solar ShinglesDow Chemical will stop making its rooftop solar shingles, called the Powerhouse Solar line, less than five years after it launched the product.

A July 28 letter sent to builders says Dow will accept orders for its Powerhouse Solar System 2.0 through July 28, reports MLive.

Dow spokesperson Jamie Ellis confirmed the decision to MLive in an email: “Dow has announced it will transition its Powerhouse platform to a licensing business model, with a focus on driving growth in the global photovoltaic market,” Ellis wrote. “Dow will retain the technology expertise for the platform, and will leverage Dow Corning’s experience and expertise in solar market applications, cost structure and market outlook to identify valuable global photovoltaic market opportunities for these technologies.”

The letter was sent to builders the same day Dow announced it was cutting 2,500 jobs globally, about 4 percent of its workforce, after assuming full control of Dow Corning. It comes in advance of Dow’s planned $130 merger with fellow chemical giant DuPont.

Dow launched its Powerhouse Solar system in October 2011. Unlike traditional solar photovoltaic modules, which are mounted on top of a roof, Dow’s are the roof shingles themselves.

This makes the product easier to install and more aesthetically pleasing, according to the product’s website: “As for their looks, Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles are designed to complement any design. Sleek and thin, they’re impressive from all angles and are at home in the most exclusive neighborhoods.”

But as Greentech Media points out, solar shingles — or any building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), which incorporate solar modules into construction materials — is much less efficient than conventional rooftop solar PV.

“Once the conventional PV sites are tapped out — if that ever happens — the value of solar-generating windows, walls and roads will increase. Until then, BIPV frequently amounts to paying a premium for less of a return,” writes Julian Spector.

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