Argonne National Laboratory

Dow POWERHOUSE solar shingles reinvent the roof

September 3, 2012

Research at the Advanced Photon Source played a significant role in the development of Dow POWERHOUSE™ roofing shingles, which incorporate a photovoltaic system in the roofing material that provides power for the house. Or as Dow puts it, “Solar power that isn’t on the roof, but IS the roof.” The three-part solar roofing system package includes shingles, an inverter, and an energy monitoring system. The inverter converts DC produced from the shingles into AC, which is then fed to the home’s appliances or back to the power grid. A real-time monitoring system provides readouts to homeowners to assess energy usage, production, and the amount of excess power flowing back to the grid.

Dow estimates that for every $1 invested in the shingles, a homeowner will get $4 in energy savings over the course of 25 years. The shingles are currently being distributed in California, Texas, and Colorado. All current manufacturing will be done in the U.S. at a new manufacturing plant slated for Midland, Michigan, that will employ 1,200 people by 2015.

The Dow researchers studied the process, structure, and property relationships in CuInGaSe, the active material in these “solar shingles,” via in situ x-ray diffraction/differential scanning calorimetry at the Dow-Northwestern-DuPont Collaborative Access Team beamline at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory.