Dow Solar announced its move into the central Texas market with its new solar shingles last week. The company contracted with Beldon Roofing Company, Quality Roofing and Ja-Mar Roofing to install its patented solar shingles on homes in Austin and San Antonio. The contracts allow Dow to enter its third market. The company launched its solar roofing product in late 2011 in Colorado.
“It’s going really well there,” said Dan Pezolt, Dow Solar marketing director. “We’re seeing a lot of excitement about our product there.” The solar shingles offer something different, Pezolt said. It’s a roofing shingle that’s fully certified and high-performing as a roofing material, but it has solar incorporated into it. “This is something new and different in the roofing industry,” he said. “Historically, solar has been obvious. This is something you can walk past and not even know it’s there.” But it can generate enough power to cover 40 to 70 percent of energy consumption in the average house, Pezolt said. The cells are not as efficient as standard crystalline solar, but they blend in and create a more cohesive and attractive look.
Dow uses thin-film technology to keep the solar cells flexible and durable, which is important since installers will be walking on them. They’re designed so roofers can install them almost like any other roofing shingle. “We’ve eliminated the need for on-roof wiring,” Pezolt said. Installers simply clip the shingles together and at the very end of the process, an electrician meets up with the roofers to connect the solar installation to an inverter and bring the power it generates into the house.
While the shingles could work for commercial application, Pezolt said Dow is primarily targeting the residential market. The roofing material is versatile and integrates with standard roofing materials seamlessly. The shingles blend with other materials so homeowners can choose to install them on only a portion of the roof, finishing the rest with less expensive standard roofing material. It’s typical that homeowners will only want to install the solar shingles on the south-facing slope of their roofs, Pezolt said. That way they will get optimum sun exposure and generate more power.