At one time it appeared that advances in solar roofing technology would be the next big thing for homeowners seeking to go “green” with renewable solar energy. Dow Chemical (Midland, MI) jumped on that bandwagon in 2011 with what appeared to be the answer to ugly rooftop solar panels with its Powerhouse solar shingles.
Even as late as mid-2014, Dow continued to expand the availability of its injection molded shingles integrated with photovoltaic cells made of CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide). These shingles, which builders could apply just like regular roofing shingles, seemed to be the answer to a really cool way to get solar power to homes. But it just never caught on.
In July of this year, Dow announced that it was getting out of the solar shingle business and would sell its last systems on July 28 and ship them out to builders by Aug. 10. It just goes to prove that no matter how good an idea something seems, if there are no buyers, it’s dead in the water.
Hilco Industrial, a unit of Hilco Global, just announced the successful sale of the assets for Dow Solar through an online auction, which closed on Nov. 8, in partnership with Aaron Equipment and Perry Videx LLC. “This sale was highlighted by many pristine pieces of solar shingle manufacturing equipment including injection molding machines, solar cell welding systems, glass washers, laminators and more,” said Hilco’s press release.
Some problems with the integrated solar shingles were that they proved less efficient than conventional rooftop panels. Granted, these shingles looked better, but that wasn’t enough.
According to an article in Greentech Media, “The problem is that solar shingles generate electricity on a roof much less efficiently than solar modules.”
No information or commentary was available from Dow on the sale of the Powerhouse solar shingle assets, or what the company plans to do with the patents on Powerhouse.