Dow Solar CIGS Shingles Receive UL Certification
The firm says its DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle is the first to obtain the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark.
The Dow Chemical Company’s POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle is the first residential solar roofing shingle with an integrated connection system to receive UL safety certification, says the firm.
The Solar Shingle is a ground-breaking CIGS photovoltaic solar panel in the form of a solar roofing shingle that can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. It reduces installation time and complexity using a revolutionary system design that eliminates on-roof wiring, minimizes through-roof penetrations, and allows the product to be installed in the same manner as a standard roofing shingle.
“The receipt of UL safety certification represents the successful completion of a rigorous and comprehensive multi-test process for the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles," said Dow Solar VP President, Jane Palmieri.
“This is another important milestone towards the planned 2011 commercialization of Dow’s solar shingles, and represents a crucial third-party validation of the safety of this product. We are dedicated to making solar easy for homeowners, builders, and roofing contractors who already trust the performance and safety of building products bearing the Dow brand."
Given the new and unique nature of the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle, Dow Solar worked closely with UL - a trusted global resource for product safety certification and compliance solutions - to indentify a series of rigorous tests to assess the safety of the unique design and of all the elements of the combined solar and roofing product.
The final listing awarded to the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles represents compliance to a diverse sequence of UL’s safety and building standards, specifically, UL 746, 1703, 1897, 790, 486 and 514. Over 50 individual tests were conducted to assess the safety of the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles against building code standards, including wind and fire resistance, and electrical code requirements, such as proper wiring and photovoltaic (PV) connections.
“UL has been leading the development of PV equipment testing methodologies and standards since the 1980s, and has contributed to the safe operation of PV equipment by providing safety testing and certification services for PV equipment manufacturers worldwide," said Jeff Smidt, VP and General Manager for UL’s Global Energy business. “In the case of Dow’s solar shingles, we had to take a unique approach in order to test the product as both a roofing shingle and a PV system. We are proud to provide the UL mark to this first-of-its-kind solar shingle from Dow."
In addition to the vitally important design and material safety tests performed by UL, Dow will continue with its own reliability and durability testing in support of commercialization. Dow is currently performing tests on installed systems of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles in addition to individual shingles in order to assess the durability of the product, utilizing Design for Reliability and Physics of Failure methodologies to measure performance against weather, extreme temperatures and more.
Dow has chosen thin-film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium deSelenide) as the PV material in the DOW POWERHOUSE solar shingle, and Global Solar Energy (Tucson, AZ) was selected as the preferred supplier in support of the product launch.
CIGS technology is claimed to offer the best balance of low cost and highest sunlight conversion efficiency of the commercialized thin film technologies available today, and the flexible foil substrate of the Global Solar Energy CIGS cells provides the necessary level of flexural durability to allow the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle to perform reliably in a demanding application environment.
Breaking the traditional barriers to residential solar adoption – complexity, affordability and aesthetics – this technology offers the missing link needed by the energy industry to drive solar adoption across the U.S., and will bring the possibility of safe and reliable solar power to American households. The DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle is expected to be commercially available in select U.S. markets by mid 2011.
In 2007, Dow received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Solar America Initiative to develop “building integrated" solar arrays for the residential and commercial markets.
In October 2009, Dow Solar unveiled the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle as the first in a portfolio of building related solar energy generating products. Since its introduction, the Solar Shingle has been hailed as revolutionary, including being named one of the "50 Best Inventions of 2009" by TIME magazine.
The innovative product design provides an unprecedented integrated roof appearance and simplified installation. It combines a roofing shingle with a solar cell, enabling the DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle to be installed by a roofer along with standard asphalt roofing materials.
Dow's diverse portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture.
UL is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for more than a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems from more than 66,000 manufacturers each year. In total, there are more than 20 billion UL Marks appearing on products worldwide. UL's global family of companies and network of service providers includes 68 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 102 countries.