The DOW Chemical company has expanded its production and availability of its solar shingles. The Powerhouse shingles are now available for purchase by roofing contractors and consumers in Florida, North Carolina and New Jersey. The company has also began to expand the brand in Canada in partnership with Canadian Energy.

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DOW introduced the new solar shingles in 2009 in limited quantities, the shingles came from research funded by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2007 to create innovative solar energy solutions. In 2009 these shingles were credited as one of the top 50 inventions by TIME Magazine. They were rolled out for commercial use in limited quantities in 2011.

The shingles function much like a standard asphalt shingle, the solar shingles have a similar weight and thickness of the standard asphalt shingle, making it fairly simple to install. The shingle itself is covered in photovoltaic cells, which are compromised of CIGS, or copper indium gallium diselenide. These convert solar energy into electricity which is then distributed into a central energy collection system. The new shingles utilize a wireless plug like connector. Because of this type of installation electricians are no longer required to be on the job site.

Unlike more traditional methods of harvesting solar energy the solar shingles by DOW are much more aesthetically pleasing. They are roughly the size of a standard asphalt shingle and blend into the roof unlike large solar panels which many homeowners consider ugly and obtrusive. Certain housing authorities will not allow solar panels on homeowner’s roofs because of their obtrusiveness.

The solar shingles can be implemented into the roof’s architecture or simply added on. Some of the homes already using the Powerhouse shingles are able to gather around half of the energy to power their home from the shingles alone.

The shingles themselves come with a 20 year warranty. They have been certified by several different third party materials testing companies including the International Code Council Evaluation Services and Underwriters Laboratories. The materials have been comparable to traditional asphalt shingles in standing up to rain, snow, hail and wind.