DOW chemicals has recently announced their latest product. Solar shingles. Called the POWERHOUSE, this will lead the way in changing how solar energy has been harnessed. A major part of the cost of implementing a solar power plant, lay in the production of solar panels and their installation. With this new invention there will be huge cost cuts in both these factors, leading to easy accessibility and adoption by the general public.
The shingles (roof tiles) are made of low cost, thin film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) technology which is proven to be cost effective for building integrated photovoltaics. The installation is easier, and is installed along with roof shingles using the same methods for ordinary roof shingles. The arrays are not complicated and would be easily connectible.
Dow invests $1.5 billion annually in R&D and has been the recipient of US government funding up to the tune of $20 million. That is one grant that has paid off.
Up until now, the biggest barrier to installation and adoption had been the cost of implementing a solar generation power plan, but with these cheaper shingles that is all set to change. The new panels are slated to be available by mid 2010. But from then on, it would be green technology in the hands of the common man. If governments are serious about reducing green house gas emissions, then they should subsidize roofing or energy bills for those who adopt the new shingle.