Dow has been rolling out the Solar Shingles to new markets slowly, starting in Colorado last year. The product is a Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic device that’s flexible and designed to look like standard roof tiles. It’s an approach to building-integrated photovoltaics that makes them more attractive to potentially wary homebuyers. Since the photovoltaics are designed as roof shingles, they’re also designed to handle the stresses of a roofing installation, including being hit by a hammer or nail.
Imagine Homes is developing 50 homes at the Willis Ranch site and is anticipating completion of the community in September, according to a spokesperson for Dow. Each will come with a standard-sized PV array installed, although the homebuyers can choose to add a larger system if they’re inclined. However what the standard size will be remains to be determined.
Right now Imagine Homes is building six communities in the San Antonio area. In each of them the Solar Shingles will be offered as a standard option. Beyond the Solar Shingles the homes are extremely energy efficient, exceeding the Department of Energy's Builders Challenge target. Under the challenge homes must be 30 percent more energy-efficient than the U.S. standard code for homes based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index,” according to Dow Solar. The company also certifies it’s products through the Build San Antonio Green and Energy Star programs.
The Solar Shingles are only available from companies in Texas in Austin and San Antonio, according to the spokesperson. “There’s the expectation that we’ll have extended availability with more channel partners,” they said.
However, the company is slowly rolling availability of the product since the product is still being manufactured as Dow’s small-scale manufacturing facility in Midland Michigan. The company is building out a new, large-scale facility at its Midland, Michigan. It anticipates that the project will be completed and fully operational by 2015, the company said.