The innovation going on right now in clean energy is pretty exciting. It seems like every day someone sends me something about a new technology or groundbreaking discovery in the area of solar power.
One of the things that has always intrigued me and seemed like an obvious solution was solar shingles. Since solar usually covers the roof anyway, it seems natural that we would start making them out of material that would actually BECOME the roof.
Fortunately that dream is quickly becoming a reality. Dow Powerhouse solar shingles are now available in about 5 states and will be rolling out to more soon. These shingles could change everything in solar, here’s why:
They offer an easy way to replace the roof material on your home and generate free power. Since most solar installers would suggest your roof be close to new anyway before you install a solar power system, this offers a dual solution.
They come with a variety of warranties. The roof coverage and weather warranty spans 20 years and the solar output warranty goes as far as 20 years as well.
Installation, which must be done by a professional, is not as invasive as normal solar panels. Regular solar panels require roof bolts and penetration of the waterproof layers. Solar shingles simply sit on top of the roof membrane and interlock with themselves to keep water out. They also have a sticky surface on the backside to prevent wind damage.
The shingles offer good flexibility for budget and size constraints. The system can be sized for various sized and shaped roofs.
They’ve got the backing of one of the largest and strongest companies in the world. So many of the issues of the last decade in the solar industry had to do with solar companies crashing and burning and leaving customers and installers high and dry. But Dow is a large, powerful company that has been around for centuries and probably isn’t going anywhere. Plus their history of innovation gives me confidence that this is a quality product.
Of course there are some downsides too. Not everyone has a good south-facing roof, which is best for any solar power system. Also the solar shingles generally need to be installed with a new asphalt shingle roof. Tile, slate, and existing roofs won’t work with the Powerhouse system. Dow says that they will soon be able to adapt to existing asphalt shingle roofs.
The other thing to consider is that this system is pretty new. Dow has tested the system extensively in hail and poor weather conditions and is confident the system will hold up. But it might be wise to let a few systems get installed and the bugs worked out.
This is great progress though, and should be a terrific option for homeowners now and in the future. Stay tuned, this could be a game changer!