Covert Solar Power? Dow's Solar Shingles for Rooftops are Burglar-Proof

solar roof shingles

Chances are, you know if your neighbor has solar panels on their roof—the shiny black photovoltaic panels are a dead giveaway. But Dow Chemical is making rooftop solar power covert with its solar shingles, expected to be released next year.

The solar shingles, which can be integrated into regular asphalt rooftop shingles, ditch traditional polysilicon solar cells for thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) cells. Dow's CIGS solar cells are over 10% efficient, meaning they capture 10+% of the light that hits them. That's less efficient than some polysilicon cells, but also 10 to 15% cheaper per watt. The Dow shingles are easy to install, too, taking an average of 10 hours for placement. In comparison, regular solar panels take 22 to 30 hours to install.

There's another hidden benefit to Dow's shingles—they are less likely to be visible to thieves than traditional panels. California has seen a slew of rooftop panel burglaries in the past few years. Thieves make off with the solar panels and sell them on the black market. But shingles nestled into a roof can't just be removed by snipping off a few wires.

According to Dow, a rooftop solar shingle array costs approximately $27,000, and offsets 60% of total home energy consumption. It's an expensive upfront cost, but the company still believes the shingles could generate $5 billion in revenue by 2015 and $10 billion by 2020.

[Via Reuters]

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4 Comments

  • kayci

    We pay even less than 2k per year here in Tennessee; also for a medium sized house.

  • barbara tiemeier

    A new composite roof is already about $20K here so the solar roof isn't that much more. And the comment about $2K being the commenter's annual electricity bill... WOW! Where is that? We live in a medium size house in Texas and we pay many many times that much per year!

  • James Gentes

    Hmm.. so if I spend $2,000/yr on electricity for my home, I could spend $27k and save $1,200/yr. That would take over 20yrs to pay for itself. Considering the speed of innovation in this space, there will be a solution that provides twice the efficiency at half the cost within 5 years.. I'm not sure we've reached the right value equation for this to go mainstream quite yet.