Chemistry = Solutions

Sustainable Solutions: Dow’s POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles

Fall 2010

​Dow POWERHOUSETM Solar Shingles promise to give new meaning to the term “green roof”.

The shingles – which look and perform much like low-tech asphalt ones – can be nailed right to a rooftop, protecting a building from the elements, while allowing for solar power generation to offset energy use.

Up until now, home and business owners who wanted to harness solar energy had to mount large costly panels of silicon-based solar cells above their building’s roof lines. But Dow has developed a solution to address those aesthetic and price concerns: a cost-effective and durable photovoltaic solution called Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) which can be used to produce thinner, more flexible solar cells that mimic the appearance and function of regular roof tiles. Electrical circuits are integrated into the shingles, which are coated with a Dow-patented polymer, and connected wirelessly.  

From a consumer standpoint, one of the biggest advantages of the Dow POWERHOUSETM Solar Shingles is their ease of installation – a qualified roofing contractor can blend them seamlessly with regular asphalt roofing, without an electrician having to be present.  Plus, the flexibility of Dow’s solar technology means it could one day be incorporated into a range of building products – everything from siding to fascias.

The shingles won the Globe 2010 Award for Environmental Excellence in Emerging Technology in March 2010.

Named one of Time magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of 2009”, Dow POWERHOUSETM Solar Shingles will become widely available in 2011 and are an innovative example of how chemistry is providing solutions for a more sustainable future. For more information, visit