Dow Chemical has developed a roof shingle that contains thin-film solar power cells and can be integrated into asphalt roofs, which are used in 90 percent of American homes.
Dow executives said the solar shingles can be handled like a regular asphalt shingle and can be nailed right onto a roof and walked on by roofers.
The company will begin test-marketing the shingles in mid-2010 and the company will initially target new home construction.
By 2015, Dow estimates that the market for the solar shingles could be $5 billion a year as builders increasingly make the solar roofs standard on new construction.
The thin-film solar cells, made by Global Solar of Tucson, are less efficient than traditional photovoltaic arrays, but a Dow researcher that with the solar shingles covering large portions of a roof they could meet 40 to 80 percent of a homeowner’s electricity demand.
Electricians are not needed to install the solar shingles but do have to connect the completed array to the home’s electrical system.
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.