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Solar shingles

Jeremy_Dean's picture

As a renovator and and builder who wanting enviromental priorities, I see that solar shingles are becoming easier to market and install.  Do you have any installation stories or advice to share?  Dow Chemical has the exciting new "powerhouse" shingle which can be nailed on by a roofer and wired by the electrician.  Will solar roofs be this easy for the general contractor to incorporate into the next roofing job?  What is the latest news on solar shingles?

What is the latest news (post #194391, reply #1 of 13)

You have presented and it's news to me.  Please continue-never heard of solar shingles.


A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


I've heard of them, but (post #194391, reply #2 of 13)

I've heard of them, but Jeremy sums up about all that I've heard.  Probably if I'd been paying attention I would have followed a thread in one of my IEEE mailings to learn more, but I tend to ignore those most of the time.

One might find something on the web site, though.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Sanyo presented the basic (post #194391, reply #3 of 13)

Sanyo presented the basic configuration of the Dow tile at a 1994 confrence (hmm, specific patent must have just expired??), and others (Oman, et. Al) had proposed similar concepts as early as the mid 1970s.

Dow made a good overall presentation of the concept and reasons for pursuing the product earlier this year, ppt slides here:


Incentives are still very much still needed however, even to built the plant: e.g.

Michigan Economic Development Corp......pledged (Dow) $61.3M in tax incentives over 15 years ....



Sure, the concept's not all (post #194391, reply #4 of 13)

Sure, the concept's not all that new, but technology has not made it practical until recently.  Back in 1994 you would have had to plate the shingle with silicon chips, and the whole assembly would have failed after about a month's exposure to the elements.  Now there are "print on" technologies that are probably 100x cheaper and 100x more reliable/durable in that service.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

This is from 1994: Energy (post #194391, reply #5 of 13)

This is from 1994:

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) and United Solar Systems Corp. (United Solar) are developing lightweight, flexible photovoltaic modules that can replace conventional roofing materials and be economically and aesthetically integrated into residential and commercial buildings. The modules will be fabricated from high-efficiency multi-junction a-Si alloy solar cells developed by ECD and United Solar. These cells are produced on thin, flexible, stainless steel substrates. Two types of products, 1 ft by 10 ft overlapping PV shingles and 1.3 ft by 20 ft PV roof panels are being developed by United Solar and ECD, respectively. United Solar's shingle type design uses a roof mounting procedures similar to those used with conventional asphalt shingles, while ECD's PV panel uses mounting procedures conforming to metal roof systems. Thus, they can be installed on roof sheathings, replacing ordinary shingles or metal roofing panels, on a standard wood roof construction


The authors have developed a shingle roofing module designed to emulate the conventional asphalt shingle in form, structural function and installation. The PV shingle module consists of a series of interconnected, coated stainless steel tabs laminated together in EVA/Tefzel polymers. The PV shingle design allows the mechanical and electrical installation to be performed independently, thereby minimizing coordination between the roofing and electrical tradesman. The installation procedure is so similar to conventional asphalt shingles that an experienced roofing contractor, with minimal training, can install the modules. The authors show results of testing that demonstrate that the PV shingle serves the dual function of electrical generator as well as a roofing material. Finally, they demonstrate the feasibility of the PV shingle by describing a 1.8 kW AC system installed on the Southface Energy Institute's Energy and Environmental Resource Center House in Atlanta, Georgia, USA


Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), which integrates the PV array with the building material, is a new concept. Figure 8 shows an application that integrates the PV arrays onto the roof as solar shingles [16, 17].   (References this site: )

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

A couple of other resources (post #194391, reply #6 of 13)

I can't answer your question, but there are a couple of other resources that you may want to check out.  Green Building Talk has a discussion group on solar energy (as well as others on other "green" topics):

General Solar has a discussion group on solar, although at a glance it appears even more DIY oriented than Green Building Talk:

Home Power Magazine, if you are not already aware of it, may be a fairly good resource.  Many of the articles are DIY or "one-off" oriented, but they do have articles that could be useful to the professional, including manufacturer's directories and tests of solar equipment, wind power, and various alternative energy components:  They have an article on-line on breaking into "the solar biz": (post #194391, reply #7 of 13)

the basics  are out there.. (post #194391, reply #8 of 13)

the basics  are out there.. Certainteed  is  marketing  their  joint -venture  EnerGen laminated PV  roofing

the baiscs are  that  solar shingles and  laminated roofing  are about half as efficient as  pv panels

so figure   1/2 kw / sf  as opposed to say  1 kw / sf



the cost / sf is less  and there are  lots of other considerations, but if you have a limited amount of  roof and are trying to maximize  your KW output, then you stick with the panels

Mike Smith Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore


Cost questions (post #194391, reply #9 of 13)

I like the idea, but in areas that have a lot of sun, the shingles only last 12 to 15 years before needing to be replaced.  Getting over 15 years on a three-tab in South Florida is rare.  I would hope that these solar shingles are inexpensive enough to take into account how often high sun areas need to be re-roofed.  Anyway, the Dow website says they will be available later this year.  Let's hope they are affordable.

  According to the latest (post #194391, reply #10 of 13)


According to the latest news update Circuit of the Americas is seeking incentives from Austin Energy to generate solar power to be used at the racetrack under construction in southeastern Travis County. The circuit is considering an on-site solar array that could produce 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of energy over a decade, Farrera said. That's enough to power 28 average Austin homes for 10 years, according to Austin Energy.

solar shingles (post #194391, reply #11 of 13)

As noted in other reply the solar shingles do not have the same  output of  PV panels.

The technology is changing fast and I would not want to be stuck with less efficient product.

FYI  an "average" american home needs a min of 1000 sqft unobstructed area facing south for independent power

You might want to check with European manufacturers since they are lightyears ahead in use and installation

My Solar Shingles (post #194391, reply #12 of 13)

I am not a roofer, myself. But I did have solar shingles installed on my home a couple months ago, and I love them. I was waiting to make the leap because of how bulky the earlier shingles/panels were. Kept researching and found a great, low-profile option by Apollo. I live in the central PA area, so I had Century Home Improvement do the installation -- they are one of the few companies certified to install Apollo panels in my area, so if you are in PA, I'd make sure to look at the solar energy options they have. 

Amazing! It's almost like you (post #194391, reply #13 of 13)

Amazing! It's almost like you were key-word trolling the internet for solar shingles so you could post some free ads.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.