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Dow Chemical Rolling Out Solar Shingles Next Year

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the one-more-thing-to-break dept.

Power 168

Several users wrote to tell us that Dow Chemical plans on selling solar shingles as early as next year. The solar version can be integrated with normal asphalt shingling and will be introduced in 2010, with a wider roll-out scheduled for 2011. "The shingle will use thin-film cells of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), a photovoltaic material that typically is more efficient at turning sunlight into electricity than traditional polysilicon cells. Dow is using CIGS cells that operate at higher than 10 percent efficiency, below the efficiencies for the top polysilicon cells -- but would cost 10 to 15 percent less on a per-watt basis."

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Did you know? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651267)

Their refusal to stop adhering to thug culture is the main reason why there is still racism against niggers.

Re:Did you know? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651411)

I don't think so. Places like niggermania.com are mostly high school kids and young adults who want a place to vent politically incorrectly because they encountered one too many bad stereotypes of blacks in real life. Sure, there are one or two hardcore oldheads whose wives actually left them for black men, but most of the niggermania scene aren't genuinely racist.

The real racists are on stormfront.org, where people in pointy white hats dance around burning crosses and write poems and testimonials to their whiteness. Those are the folks who were born racist and they'll die racist. All of the kind, educated, coherent negroes on the planet are not likely to change that.

But what does this have to do with the article? Solar cells are black, and negroes are black. I rest my case.

Re:Did you know? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651457)

But what does this have to do with the article? Solar cells are black, and negroes are black. I rest my case.

So what you mean is... black people are solar powered?

Re:Did you know? (0, Offtopic)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 5 years ago | (#29651981)

People are solar powered.

Re:Did you know? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652087)

Imagine if "fidy cent" ran for president. Think he'd get any votes?

Is it necessarily racist to not vote for him because of his "cultural values"?

I think I just agreed with this troll. Wow.

One more thing to break indeed! (5, Interesting)

PeterAitch (920670) | about 5 years ago | (#29651311)

It seems unlikely that these will weather very well, so we'll have to see how they cope with thermal cycling and storm stresses. Nice to note that things have moved along since I worked on Si photovoltaics - it's taken longer than I expected, though

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

thewils (463314) | about 5 years ago | (#29651315)

Hopefully they'll have the kinks sorted out when I need a new roof in twenty years!

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 5 years ago | (#29651335)

That's a good point, maybe we should cover them with some sort of protective layer. Hmmm, we could make sure the protective layer has good traction too so people can walk on their roofs safely without falling. I know, we can cover them with sandpaper! I'm surprised this hasn't been thought of before. =P

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651523)

Roofing granules do a good job of blocking sunlight. Most premium shingles are made with polymer modified asphalt that has to be protected from UV that would otherwise degrade the polymer. The granules do this.

I don't think they could cover the panels with granules.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 5 years ago | (#29652055)

The point about walking on roofs is a key issue.

Over the life of a house, people have to do this more often than you might imagine. The article is thin on details about just how durable and walkable these things are.

Probably not for snow country, but anything that could absorb some of the air conditioning load would be welcome.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Insightful)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | about 5 years ago | (#29652095)

It says they can be mixed with regular shingles, so I would imagine one would make "walkways" of regular shingles to access things like roof-vents, gutters, swamp coolers, chimneys, etc.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652327)

You can't walk on slate shingles either yet people still find ways to work on slate roofs. I doubt that they don't have a solution.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 5 years ago | (#29653159)

You can't walk on slate shingles either yet people still find ways to work on slate roofs. I doubt that they don't have a solution.

A point that deserves modding up. Include tile roofs and probably other kinds. I think this amounts to scaffolding, temporary platforms, and generally avoiding such walking.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 5 years ago | (#29653323)

The point about walking on roofs is a key issue.

Oh I don't know instead of worrying about the traction of said solar shingles, why not just purchase some special purpose shoes? Certainly steps toward off the grid energy independence far surpasses concerns of roof traction.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 years ago | (#29653559)

Traction?

No no, I was worrying about the shingles and damage to the wiring grid to which they are connected when sattelite tv guy stomps up there to screw his dish down.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 5 years ago | (#29653739)

Sounds similiar to the same problem that putting solar panels in assfault roads.

Yuk! (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 5 years ago | (#29654031)

assfault roads

I do NOT want to drive around your neighborhood...

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29651385)

It seems unlikely that these will weather very well, so we'll have to see how they cope with thermal cycling and storm stresses.

I'd think that people can be reasonably expected to be somewhat unhappy when their roof doesn't last as long as it should. So I'd think Dow would have put a bit of effort into making sure that these things don't break that easily.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 5 years ago | (#29651425)

It seems unlikely that these will weather very well, so we'll have to see how they cope with thermal cycling and storm stresses.

I'd think that people can be reasonably expected to be somewhat unhappy when their roof doesn't last as long as it should. So I'd think Dow would have put a bit of effort into making sure that these things don't break that easily.

I hope nothing in these make them less fire resistant than proper shingles these days.

(Yes, I live in Southern California. How did you guess?)

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Interesting)

PeterAitch (920670) | about 5 years ago | (#29651553)

If they are caught in a fire, the combustion products will hardly be bio-friendly; in fact "toxic" would be a better description. That said, they are not going to be inherently combustible, unless there are lots of organics left in any binder which might be used to keep them on the substrate (i.e. the shingles). Most likely, the shingles are post-treated to produce a rather thick "thin-film" and then given a top coating (a) for anti-reflection purposes and (b) for mechanical/abrasion resistance. As several other posters have noted it's not clear from the article how the front or back electrical contact(s) are designed, either mechanically or electrically.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 5 years ago | (#29652099)

By the time your roof is on fire, toxicity is the furthest thing from your mind.

Asphalt shingles burn well, once lit. The graduals really only protect it from flying embers. And the smoke is fairly nasty.

Disposal is a larger issue. Even you average wood shingle is will last 100 years in a land fill. Asphalt is anyone's guess.

     

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#29653203)

I'm going to hazard a guess that they are basically the same 30 year asphalt shingles they already sell with the PV film fixed to it somehow and a universal connector system that automatically lines up and connects with regular installation.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Interesting)

moon3 (1530265) | about 5 years ago | (#29651469)

The notoriously pricey roofing costs, with electric shingles the maintenance might skyrocket and one can easily lose all the potential electrical "savings". They wire each shingle ? I would like to see some pilot deployment in action >>

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29651603)

Unlikely, given the speedy installation, it's a pretty good bet that the system is installed as a set of larger shingles pre-attached to each other. These are most likely then wired into whatever electronics handle the power management. There's a trade off between percentage of roof covered per unit and cost of replacing a broken or defective cell.

If you need a new roof, this might be a decent deal, but if you don't, the break even point for these appears to be roughly the same as with tradtional cells. However it's probably longer since you're not really able to control the orientation and you can't set up tracking systems.

Re:One more thing to break indeed! (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 5 years ago | (#29651611)

It seems unlikely that these will weather very well, so we'll have to see how they cope with thermal cycling and storm stresses. Nice to note that things have moved along since I worked on Si photovoltaics - it's taken longer than I expected, though

They'll be sold with a 20 year warranty, and trust me: they wouldn't be willing to offer that warranty without being confident that they wouldn't have to pay up regularly.

Eagle roofing has had durable shingles for a while (4, Informative)

Brigadier (12956) | about 5 years ago | (#29652505)

Not sure why this is being posted as if it's a new product. Eagle Roofing based in California has been carrying a fairly successful product for some time now. Not only do they have a warrantied usable product but it also supports LEED cool roof requirements. see link below to check it out for yourself.

http://www.eagleroofing.com/greenBld_eagleSolarRoof.htm [eagleroofing.com]

Re:Eagle roofing has had durable shingles for a wh (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29653745)

Sorry but I'm a lot more impressed by a 20 year warranty from DOW then even a 50 year warranty from a company that's only existed for 20 years (though I guess that's better than a new startup). The likelyhood of DOW being around to pay up on the warranty is a heck of a lot higher =)

Installation? (5, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | about 5 years ago | (#29651347)

They say these can be installed by standard roofing techniques... I don't know if anyone else has ever nailed down asphalt shingles but it's about as low-tech as it gets. So the question is how do these interconnect electrically?

I could imagine a couple ways - perhaps there are contacts that need to be aligned prior to nailing. Either that, or they intend for an electrician to come in after the roofers and attach a bus bar or something. Anyone got the full story?

The future for residential solar is not in the highest-tech, highest efficiency panels. Rather, it will be the system which gives the lowest $/W after ALL costs, including installation, depreciation, and in this case, savings because it also serves as your actual roof. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Re:Installation? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 5 years ago | (#29651591)

The article states "can be integrated with" rather than "built into". They also quote a generic install time as compared to existing solar panels, not a time per square or some similar thing.

I don't know what temperature solar cells can handle but the shingle lines I've seen run coat with asphalt at around 200C. They also run around 1200 feet per minute, so you'd have to be laying those cells down pretty damn fast.

Re:Installation? (1)

hoggoth (414195) | about 5 years ago | (#29652821)

Perhaps English isn't your native language, but I cannot parse what you are trying to say:

> the shingle lines I've seen run coat with asphalt at around 200C
What does that mean? When they get hot does asphalt condense out of thin air to coat them?

> They also run around 1200 feet per minute, so you'd have to be laying those cells down pretty damn fast.
This one has me really perplexed. Do the shingles get up and chase after you?

Re:Installation? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | about 5 years ago | (#29652887)

the shingle lines I've seen run coat with asphalt at around 200C

What does that mean? When they get hot does asphalt condense out of thin air to coat them?

I had to recompile a couple times, but it does actually parse:

shingle = adjective
lines = means "assembly lines" (subject)
seen run = means "seen running"
coat is the active, transitive verb, referring to the process of coating the shingles with asphalt

Or something like that. In other words, he's talking about how they're manufactured.

Re:Installation? (2, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 5 years ago | (#29653053)

English is not my native language but I've been speaking it quite a long time. But I did fuck up that post.

Shingles are typically made by passing a thin fiberglass reinforcement under what is essentially a pipe out of which asphalt is pouring. The asphalt is about 200 celsius. The fiberglass reinforcement is moving at a speed of about 1200 feet per minute.

The possibility exists that the solar panels are added to the shingle in a separate process, glued on or the like, after they've been produced on a traditional shingle manufacturing line.

Re:Installation? (4, Interesting)

microcars (708223) | about 5 years ago | (#29652241)

There is a home that my son-in-law built just north of Chicago that has "Solar Slate" installed in portions of the roof that match the asphalt shingles. It was installed by a local roofing company around 2003, you can see a photos of the install HERE [revelle.net] .
Did not RTFA and while these are slightly different than what is mentioned these things have apparently held up very well so far for the people that live there.

Sort of an aerial view of one part of the house with the slates installed here [revelle.net] .

If you can't see the photos you probably crashed the guy's server, I think it is hosted on his home computer...

Re:Installation? (1)

siriuskase (679431) | about 5 years ago | (#29652871)

I'm not sure if it was Dow, but I read the install instructions for one brand of solar shingles. The shingles are installed like regular shingles except that first you drill a couple of holes in the roof and drop a couple of wires into those holes. Then, when the shingles are all nailed down, someone goes into the attic and connects up all those wires.

Re:Installation? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 5 years ago | (#29653635)

I can see where the shingles are pre-drilled, one could possibly used a 2" screw. I live close to the beach, so if I can get 1/3 life out of the electronic product, that's break even. My main roof parasites are Moss, and Sea Gulls. So how much would a 10'x20' roof cost?

Re:Installation? (1)

gjyoung (320540) | about 5 years ago | (#29653883)

Also consider the full manufacturing impact on environment (chemical, energy, etc..), disposal cost (physical and environmental), maintenance, and other things almost always left out of these "gee whiz bang" energy solutions. I have yet to see a complete cradle to grave analysis on many of these, and some of the solutions being toted out there are self defeating to their own claims and purpose when looked at on the whole.

Recycle? (3, Interesting)

NaCh0 (6124) | about 5 years ago | (#29651357)

What happens when the CIGS cells wear out?

Are they toxic? Can they be recycled?

Re:Recycle? (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 5 years ago | (#29651547)

There could be a niche market in solar shingle recycling. Assuming some still work after 30 years, you could create a makeshift powerstation from them if you had land.

30 years? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 years ago | (#29653307)

I think that in 30 years if far better solar technology isn't as cheap and readily available as cardboard, you'll have bigger things to worry about than how to recycle your roof shingles.

I beg to differ. (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29651375)

Dow Solar Solutions said it expects "an enthusiastic response" from roofing contractors for the new shingles, since they require no specialized skills or knowledge of solar systems to install.

What?!? Roofers just lay out the shingles and nail them up there with pneumatic nail guns. They may not have the skills to wire them, place the wires correctly under the regular shingles to not only preserve the solar shingles but to make sure none of the shingles leak, and I'm sure you can't treat these things like regular shingles: drop them off the truck on to the ground, crane them up to the peak of the roof and let them fold over it and sit there for a couple of days until the installers get there, walk on them, and every other abuse can commit against asphalt shingles because they can take it, after all.

There will have to be some sort of training or there's going to be some really unhappy home owners when their new solar roof doesn't produce as much electricity, if any, as they thought because of screwed up shingles.

Re:I beg to differ. (2, Interesting)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29651447)

TFA says "thin film" cells, so I'd imagine they're fairly flexible.There's also a known pattern to how they'll be installed (overlapping horizontal rows that are each offset by about half the length of one shingle), which could probably be used to print wires on the upper part of the top side and the lower part of the back side such that they'll make fairly good contact.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

serbanp (139486) | about 5 years ago | (#29651505)

The CIGS PV cell is called "thin film" because the photoelectric sandwich is deposited as thin layers on top of a GLASS plate. Oh, and they apparently are (very) moisture-sensitive, so having them last 20-25 years will be difficult.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29651619)

The CIGS PV cell is called "thin film" because the photoelectric sandwich is deposited as thin layers on top of a GLASS plate.

When I saw "roofers" I immediately thought of the guys that put in the asphalt. Now, the guys who put in the slate or terracotta roofs might be better able to deal since those roofing systems are a bit more complicated and the materials have similar handling characteristics of glass.

Still, more training will be needed.

Oh, and they apparently are (very) moisture-sensitive, so having them last 20-25 years will be difficult.

I guess that will be another revenue stream for the roofers and additional cost associated with these things: routine inspection and maintenance.

Re:I beg to differ. (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 5 years ago | (#29652917)

Why would you need routine inspection? Very few damage profiles will fail to affect the output of the PVs, so you ought to be able to do the inspection every day by simply polling each cell.

Re:I beg to differ. (2, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 5 years ago | (#29651641)

The CIGS PV cell is called "thin film" because the photoelectric sandwich is deposited as thin layers on top of a GLASS plate. Oh, and they apparently are (very) moisture-sensitive, so having them last 20-25 years will be difficult.

The substrate isn't necessarily glass. Flexible metal substrates have been used already by other companies. They do bend, and they're encased in a flexible moisture barrier and offered with a warranty that lasts as long as the lifetime claims. I don't think that the companies selling these would be willing to offer the warranty without a reasonably good expectation that the cells would actually last that long.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | about 5 years ago | (#29652295)

The CIGS PV cell is called "thin film" because the photoelectric sandwich is deposited as thin layers on top of a GLASS plate. Oh, and they apparently are (very) moisture-sensitive, so having them last 20-25 years will be difficult.

The substrate isn't necessarily glass. Flexible metal substrates have been used already by other companies. They do bend, and they're encased in a flexible moisture barrier and offered with a warranty that lasts as long as the lifetime claims. I don't think that the companies selling these would be willing to offer the warranty without a reasonably good expectation that the cells would actually last that long.

The Dow site [dowsolar.com] says they are manufactured on a flexible substrate. Since it's Dow Chemical that's making these I bet there is no glass involved anywhere.

Re:I beg to differ. (3, Interesting)

apoc.famine (621563) | about 5 years ago | (#29651631)

Agreed.
 
I highly doubt that two guys with a case of beer, a couple of utility knives, and a nail gun can lay these down and have them work as they are supposed to. Shingling a roof really doesn't require any skills, other than doing the peaks and valleys. If you can put down a shingle, and nail it to the roof, you're golden. If you can hack the excess off that hangs over the side with a knife, you can shingle 95% of a house.
 
Ignoring any interconnections between the shingles that must be lined up, (because, that's beyond a roofer's knowledge base) you still have to tie it into the house electricity. And you have to be able to slap the roof down in the beating sun, while standing on it, and driving nails through it. How exactly does that work if the roof is generating electricity as you do so?

Re:I beg to differ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651707)

Not to mention safety for the installers. I once heard a PV installer tell a story about someone he knew who was working on a PV array at night, without taking the proper safety precautions (such as being harnessed). There was a lightning strike miles away, and the flash caused the array to produce enough voltage to knock him off the roof. Also, I think the safest way to install a solar array is to leave the series connections between panels until the very last step...not sure how that works with shingles

Re:I beg to differ. (3, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | about 5 years ago | (#29652637)

Everything is relative. Perhaps these solar shingles take a few extra steps beyond regular shingles, but have you seen what a pain in the ass the nuclear reactor shingles are to install? You need a friggin' nuclear engineering degree! Sure, the effeciency is through the roof, but at what cost? As unlikely as China Syndrome is, it's an insurance nightmare. And personally, I don't want my great great grandchildren toiling to replace a spent uranium ceiling. Solar it is!

Article short on installation notes. (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 5 years ago | (#29653561)

Well, that's not what the article really states. It says "solar shingles can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingles" and doesn't give much more of a hint. As a guess I'd say that they might easily lay in place of a row of regular shingles or something like that, but the article says nothing leading one to believe that they can be nailed or easily wired.

It's also seemingly not very exciting news as companies such as Uni-Solar [uni-solar.com] have been doing similar stuff for several years now, although I do not have the specs so I can't say much about the efficiency.

Repeat Ten Times Fast (5, Funny)

audubon (577473) | about 5 years ago | (#29651379)

Sally sells solar shingles by the seashore...

Re:Repeat Ten Times Fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651847)

Sally sells solar shingle cells by the seashore...

There, fixed that for you...

Environmental impact? (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29651387)

The traditional mono- and polysilicon panel makers catch hell for using things like lead (leading to RoHS solder being used and etc)... what's the plan for recycling these puppies?

(don't get me wrong, I'm loving the idea, but you know someone's gonna bitch about it...)

Also, since there are places that see annual windstorms which tend to rip the occasional shingle off of the roof, err, how much would it cost to repair/replace?

It'll be hammered out eventually (err, s'cuse the pun), but it's something I hope that someone is thinking about all this today, instead of the being blinded by the whole 'gee-whiz' factor that may come around to bite the whole renewables movement in the butt later on.

(disclosure - I work IT in this industry - take it as you will).

Re:Environmental impact? (1)

winwar (114053) | about 5 years ago | (#29652543)

"...what's the plan for recycling these puppies?"

Well we don't recycle asphalt shingles that contain nasty chemicals at the present time. I doubt that these are any worse. Therefore we don't.

As you noted, people will whine. But you don't see them whining about regular shingles. Therefore we ignore them.

Have you ever *seen* the guys who put on rooves? (2, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 5 years ago | (#29651399)

We're talking contractors here. Assuming they *don't* steal your money outright, you're lucky that the shingles stay on at all, much less have well connected, insulated wiring.

Re:Have you ever *seen* the guys who put on rooves (1)

PeterAitch (920670) | about 5 years ago | (#29651435)

Roving roovers?

Re:Have you ever *seen* the guys who put on rooves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651647)

rooves?

My brother (4, Informative)

poptones (653660) | about 5 years ago | (#29652015)

Yeah, he puts on "rooves."

Now, let me ask YOU this: can YOUR whiny ass carry a pack of shingles up a ladder in 100 degree sun? Have you ever even been ON a roof?

Contractors are responsible for the contracts, not the roofers. It's not the greasy, sunburnt guys working their asses off who steal your money - it's the well dressed fellow sitting in the truck watching them work who takes your money.

That said, I don't think any of you have read TFA. These are thin film shingles. There are demo videos on youtube - you can see them press holes in the shingles, even drive nails through them and they still work just fine. These are not silicon and glass, they are thin film on some sort of flexible substrate. And it's about time.

Re:My brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652203)

Yeah, he puts on "rooves."

Now, let me ask YOU this: can YOUR whiny ass carry a pack of shingles up a ladder in 100 degree sun? Have you ever even been ON a roof?

Try 40 rolls of 90 pound rolled roofing up a straight ladder in 108 degree Tucson heat installed in one day, asshole. By myself.

Just STFU already. Not all of us geeks are pussies like you're insinuating.

Re:My brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652237)

If you were a professional roofer you would have done it drunk as a skunk. At starting time.

Re:My brother (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29653827)

Yes, I've stripped a double layer roof, replaced half the under-sheeting and put on a new roof including rubber matting to combat ice-dams in a long weekend. It's not really that hard. I did have my father as foreman who ran a midsized roofing company 25 years ago but most of the labor was just me and my brother. It's really quite simple if you have airguns =)

Oh, and a funny story about corrupt roofers, my coworkers wife caught the crew doing the neighbors roof putting shingles on bare wood. Turns out the foreman was off drinking at the local strip joint instead of supervising the crew so they decided to slack off. The crew denied it up and down until my coworker provided video. The company ended up having to pay to strip and redo the whole thing even though it was only suspected that the back half was done wrong because who would trust them to have do anything right?

Re:My brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29654023)

Nanosolar [nanosolar.com] gets my vote for cool material and manufacturing process.

Thin film is physically pretty forgiving. But electricity is electricity. It's a lot less forgiving. Doesn't matter what material you're using for your PV.

How you wire these things together (series and parallel), as well as shading effects has a huge effect. You don't do it correctly, you can have *no* power. Worse, you can have shorting, arcs, and fires. And you still need an inverter and power controller somewhere in there.

It's cool in that you can mesh the things with a more traditional (although anachronistic) architectural style. But that was never even in the top 5 issues with home based PV.

Re:Have you ever *seen* the guys who put on rooves (0, Troll)

yourassOA (1546173) | about 5 years ago | (#29653805)

Contractors are thieves? How about software programmers? Windows works great, right? Or maybe researchers. Billions of dollars and we have a cure for cancer, right? Geologists, hmm well all they do is bullshit about thing that may have happened billions of years ago but they can't actually prove anything just theorize and speculate. Scientists are the new religion trying to disprove other religions. Hell soon they will have as much money as the Catholics. And I could go on and on. At least at the end of the day a contractor has something to physically show for. The goof of higher learning have a worthless stack of papers and all they accomplished was fuck all and got paid an assload of money.

They're rolling our solar shingles?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651403)

that's awesome, I didn't even know that they were thinking of me

Direct Link to DOW (3, Informative)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 5 years ago | (#29651417)

Dow Solar [dowsolar.com]

FTA

"This is just one example of how Dow's $1.5 billion annual R&D investment is allowing us to deliver practical solutions for some of the world's most critical challenges," said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew N. Liveris.

They might have hit this one out of the park if the projected $20 billion by 2020 is remotely close.

Re:Direct Link to DOW (2, Funny)

Shark (78448) | about 5 years ago | (#29652435)

Nah, they just factored in inflation.

Not enough indium in the world (2, Interesting)

Prune (557140) | about 5 years ago | (#29651471)

Re:Not enough indium in the world (1)

syphax (189065) | about 5 years ago | (#29651613)

The article you linked to links to another relevant article [newscientist.com] :

Re:Not enough indium in the world (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29651645)

Unfortunately same goes for other things like lithium and Neodymium. Not that they're really that closely related to this, but one of the things that nobody likes to talk about is that a lot these really important elements are just not common enough for the amount of use we need. We'll need more high efficiency technologies and to use less at some point in the equation.

Re:Not enough indium in the world (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 5 years ago | (#29651947)

Which is an estimate based on current reserves and production levels. Indium is rare, but it's not THAT rare:

Indium ranks 61st in abundance in the Earth's crust at approximately 0.25 ppm,[13] which means it is more than three times as abundant as silver, which occurs at 0.075 ppm.[14]

The quoted article says Indium was up to $1000 per kilo. Silver is around $500 per kilo, and is 3 times less abundant.

You also have to understand that before LCD screens, there wasn't a big demand for Indium. Basing any conclusions about having enough Indium based on production and reserves today is just wrong. Nobody does exploration and mining for something with little value, or low demand. Indium until recently didn't have a large demand for it.

Re:Not enough indium in the world (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29653385)

your understanding of resources is horribly flawed.... it doesn't matter if indium was 100 times more abundant if the processing of it isn't fesible. because indium isn't in concerntrated deposits like silver, it's horribly hard to mine. you need something else there as a sweetner to make it economical. if you bother to read the very next line in wikiperdia it states "Fewer than 10 indium minerals are known, none occurring in significant deposits"

sure you could just strip mine bulk tonnes to get at it to make up for how low the grade is, but the environmental impact of that would cancel out the positive impact of the solar cells.

they do mention increasingly effect recovery rates, but it can't be too effective given the indium price has risen from $94/kg to $700/kg in the last 7 years. this tells me supply isn't keeping up with demand at all. given the spot price has gone up 800%, if indium deposits really are out there you'd see a lot of announcments about projects to mine it - there aren't.

Maybe they're rolling YOUR shingles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651497)

But they're not rolling OURS!

Saving energy? (3, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#29651565)

Wouldn't it be easier to just paint the roof white so that the building reflects more heat and needs less cooling in the summer? (In the winter, insulation will keep the heat inside.)

And wouldn't it also help to use lighter pavement to reduce the urban heat island effect?

It just seems like photovoltaic shingles are pretty low on the net-payback list.

Re:Saving energy? (1)

syphax (189065) | about 5 years ago | (#29651633)

Why either / or? I suspect we'll need both.

In southern CA, you'll see plenty of warehouses with white roofs and PV mounted on top. With an air gap, the PV provides further shading.

PV is relatively low on the net-payback list, but the experience curve marches on- the more we install now, the closer we get to grid-parity economics.

Re:Saving energy? (2, Informative)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29651709)

Wouldn't it be easier to just paint the roof white so that the building reflects more heat and needs less cooling in the summer? (In the winter, insulation will keep the heat inside.)

No. First of all, no house is energy efficient enough to do that. Much of the heat comes in and out through the windows. The materials used in construction are not good insulators and there are many ways the heat comes in and escapes out through the house: cracks and gaps, vent pipes, chimneys, air leaks around receptacles , opening and closing of doors, kitchen vents, etc....

The best you can hope for in a home is to make it as energy efficient as you can.

Re:Saving energy? (1)

pavon (30274) | about 5 years ago | (#29652045)

I don't know how it would compare to solar, but according to a report I read about here [arstechnica.com] , painting roofs white was one of the least cost-effective forms of geoengineering options that they studies (see second page).

Re:Saving energy? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29653903)

Their cost/benefit analysis completely ignored the reduced cooling load needed. They also attribute 100% of the cost of the painting operation to reflectivity efforts but since most roofs need some maintenance anyways the marginal cost might be minimal. I know my company's HQ building that we just finished uses white rubber roofing material to both reduce cooling loads and offer a good long-life water barrier thus reducing maintenance costs vs a traditional tar roof.

Well that's silly (3, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | about 5 years ago | (#29651615)

Why would I want solar-powered shingles? My shingles never needed to be powered in the first place.

Re:Well that's silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651815)

You're the only one that's said "solar-powered". So, who are you talking to?

Re:Well that's silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29652433)

Well, if they come with lights, they can make a good deal at around Christmas!

Re:Well that's silly (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 5 years ago | (#29652623)

fucking genius

Whose Shingles? (1)

SammyIAm (1348279) | about 5 years ago | (#29651689)

Why are they rolling my solar shingles? And who is this "our" that I'm apparently sharing my solar shingles with? Won't they be more effective if they're flat? Maybe I need to go read the article to learn more...

Wrong approach (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 5 years ago | (#29651737)

These are nice, but I still think photovoltaic SIPs [sips.org] is a better way to go... so why isn't anybody making them?

DoW Chemicals? (4, Insightful)

ijakings (982830) | about 5 years ago | (#29651843)

Paint them red, they will charge faster.

Im Retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29651891)

Does anyone else not see the contradiction in this statement?

"(CIGS), a photovoltaic material that typically is more efficient at turning sunlight into electricity than traditional polysilicon cells. Dow is using CIGS cells that operate at higher than 10 percent efficiency, below the efficiencies for the top polysilicon cells"

Maybe I'm missing something but CIGS are not more efficient than Polysilicon. And YES CIGS are very toxic, but they can be recycled as the toxic chemicals inside are actually quite valuable.

Isn't the basic patent for this held by NASA? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#29652049)

I remember when I gave it to them back during the Moon shots.

That said, the work since then involves a number of later patents, some of which are held by the UW.

Rolling our shingles? (0, Offtopic)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 5 years ago | (#29652085)

Rolling our shingles?

Is that related to RickRolling?

P.S. a present-day time traveler going back to 1988 might be surprised to read this New York Times article [nytimes.com] that extols:

The hottest young English pop star of the moment is Rick Astley, a 21-year-old singer from a suburb of Manchester, whose debut single, ''Never Gonna Give You Up'' (RCA), has sold a million copies in Britain and reached No. 1 ranking in almost every other European country. The song is now rapidly climbing the United States pop charts and is the country's best-selling 12-inch single.

The record's most striking quality is Mr. Astley's voice - a rich, throbbing baritone that suggests Tom Jones crossed with Luther Vandross. It is definitely not the kind of voice one expects to hear on a contemporary dance record. Since ''Never Gonna Give You Up,'' Mr. Astley has gone on to score two more major English hits, ''Whenever You Need Somebody'' (the title song of his debut album) and a revival of ''When I Fall in Love,'' which re-creates note for note the classic Gordon Jenkins arrangement for Nat (King) Cole's 1957 recording.

Mr. Astley is the latest discovery of the successful producing and songwriting team of Stock-Aitken-Waterman, which also produces the group Bananarama. The team has popularized a streamlined homogenized pop-disco sound with an unruffled high-gloss surface that stands in marked contrast to the more angular, rhythmically inventive dance-funk of Prince and his disciples.

''I'm influenced by a lot of black American artists,'' Mr. Astley said in a recent telephone interview. ''Luther Vandross is one of my favorites, and I like James Ingram and Jeffrey Osborne.''

At least for now, Mr. Astley is content to have his voice packaged by Stock-Aiken-Waterman.

''I like dance music,'' he said. ''I'm happy doing what I'm doing and want to get more deeply into it.'' Glass and Ginsberg

Astley's videos were a big thing at the time, coming just two years into MTV's decline that was precipitated by Viacom's purchase of it and MTV still had some of its original appeal of showing a) videos that were b) popular.

How will they work in northern climates? (1)

barzok (26681) | about 5 years ago | (#29652157)

5 months out of the year, there's a foot of snow on my roof. How will these hold up against ice dams? Has anyone factored in to the equation that they won't be generating a single watt of electricity for almost half the year?

Re:How will they work in northern climates? (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | about 5 years ago | (#29652439)

Not everything works in all markets. Your local Home Depot probably won't carry this product. Hardware stores in Arizona probably don't stock snow blowers.

God almighty (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 5 years ago | (#29653277)

Because YOU have snow, NOBODY can use solar panels.

The world does NOT revolve around you, it revolves around ME!

Northern Climate Dwellers are Suckers Anyway. (1)

hwyengr (839340) | about 5 years ago | (#29653511)

They won't generate a single watt of electricity FOR YOU. Now, I live in Los Angeles. I cannot wait for these to hit the market.

Sorry to hear about the weather.

Rolling WHOSE solar shingles? (1)

fishexe (168879) | about 5 years ago | (#29652603)

Dow Chemical Rolling Our Solar Shingles Next Year

I hope I'm included in "our"...I want my solar shingles rolled!

solar thermal, simple and efficient (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 5 years ago | (#29653191)

solar themal energy [wikipedia.org] is simple, low tech, and recovers much more energy. of course, it's heat, not electricity, that it generates. then again, the sun is mostly heat, already. students make them [aprendendofisica.pro.br] for science projects...

world indium stocks (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29653255)

buy shares in indium exploration companys then, because they don't have enough known resources to produce all these solar shingled roofs. sure you could use othe heavy metals, but they are rather nasty.

what I wonder... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 5 years ago | (#29653541)

Will home insurance be more expensive with these things installed, considering roof replacement is one of the most common claims?

The throbbing and burning! (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 years ago | (#29653769)

First Dow makes breast implants that leak toxic chemicals, then they make solar panels that give you painful shingles. Somebody should stop these guys; they are medical mayhem!

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